Posture and Respiration

Materials Needed:

Ping Pong Balls, Straws


Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the importance of breath support and good posture in singing by completing a short quiz.



Instruct students to gather six students around each of the tables in the classroom. Instruct that we are going to be having a competition. Explain that you will be placing ping pong balls on each of the tables and their objective is to keep the ping pong ball from falling off their section of the table. But they are required to kneel and they can’t use their hands, instead they are only allowed to blow on the ball to keep it from going off their side of the table while trying to blow it off the other sides of the table in order to eliminate opponents. The trick is the first time they play everyone has to blow through a straw.


Step 1: Transition/Practice-

First ask in general for the students to describe their experience, how difficult was it to keep the ball on the table? What were some of the strategies you used to keep the ball on the table? What would make it easier? This time allow them to play the game without the straws and make it a competition where each table has a winner and then they all compete against one another. Have a discussion once again to allow students to share their experience and then ask how does this activity apply to singing? Write on the board and explain that there are two points you want to focus on today, 1.) Posture, 2.) Breathing


Step 2: Instruction/Practice:

Explain that the key to singing comes from proper posture. Ask students to describe what they think proper posture is for singing? Talk with students about how your feet should be grounded with the floor, you should feel a connection between your feet and the ground. Hit a D on the piano and ask students to hold out that note while first just standing. Then ask them to do it again while standing on their tip toes. Ask students to take a moment to close their eyes and breath and really feel the ground beneath their feet and try to sing the note again. Then have them try to move around while focusing on feeling that connection with the ground. Ask for students to share their experiences.
Next explain that the spine needs to be lengthened and the chin is slightly raised. We are going to practice singing again but this time they will try holding a D, first with their chin tucked, then when it raised all the way to the ceiling, and then ask them to find a comfortable place looking forward and to try to sing the note. Explain that everyone is going to find their strength from their posture in slightly different places and that is okay.
Then explain that the shoulders and neck need to be relaxed while standing grounded. Have them hold out a D again first with their shoulders really tense and then trying to relax. Ask students to share their experience and why they think these techniques help singing.
Lastly tell them we are going to sing the notes that I play five times while having good posture and trying to keep the neck relaxed by turning the head side to side while singing. Explain that often students will stop moving their neck or move it at a strange pacing in order to sing, but they need to try to move seamlessly back and forth. Have them get with a partner and try singing the same note five times and provide each other with feedback about your posture. Ask that when everyone is done they look back at you so you can move on. Ask students to share any changes they may have felt or experienced.


Step 3: Instruction/Practice:

Instruct students that we are now going to work on breathing. Ask students to explain how we should breath properly to get the right air support? Explain that there are three different types of breathing Clavicular – where the breath comes from the shoulders and chest moving up and down. Diaphragmatic- breathing from the diaphragm and Costal – breathing from the ribs. Demonstrate each type of breath and have the students practice and explain that generally you want a balance between Diaphragmatic and Costal. Explain that the diaphragm is connected to the bottom of the ribs and as a result your organs will move down lower causing your stomach to move when you breathe.
Practice two breathing exercises
1.) Have students Inhale for a 3 count, hiss for 8 or 10, and emphasize that they still need to remain relaxed and able to move their head
2.) Inhale for 5, suspend for 5, exhale for 5 – explain it is important to be able to stay relaxed while holding the air in your lungs (not forcing air to stay in, just a comfortable hold)


Step 4: Assessment-

Instruct students to take out a piece of paper and write 1.) and 2.) for a short quiz. Explain that for question one they need to provide one example of good posture and why it is important and number two is fill in the blank “We are trying to achieve what type of breathing ___________. The quiz is worth 10 points.
Before students leave class explain that they need to bring two different songs that are duets from musical theater. They need to be appropriate and they need to have one duet that is between the same gender as themselves and another that is between a male and female. They need to bring both the sheet music and a way to listen to the song.