The shoulder girdle movements and singing share an important relationship. Shoulders are complex entities that move in multiple different ways. Yet many of us habitually move our shoulders in only two or three ways, and that can lead to imbalances in muscular development and may cause vocal problems.
Here’s an image of some of the muscles in the shoulder girdle.
Try this experiment: Pick up a piece of music like you always do. Now ask yourself the following questions.Use a mirror if you need help.
- Which hand do I habitually use to hold music?
- Which direction is my head looking?
- Is my head tilted to one side or another? (check your chin)
- Where is my right shoulder?
- Where is my left shoulder?
- Are right and left shoulders doing the same things?
- Is my spine straight or did I shift it to one side or another to see my music?
- What happens if I switch my music to my other hand? Then repeat the questions.
Work towards evenness in the shoulder girdle. Your spine should be erect and your head centered and straight over your body. Why?
Because what happens in the large extrinsic muscles is reflected in the small intrinsic ones. In other words, unevenness in the shoulder girdle may cause unevenness in the vocal folds, resulting in an uneven vocal sound.
Balance and align your body to find your best voice!
For an interesting read about anatomy trains that addresses the shoulder girdle, check out Thomas Myers’s article The Arm Lines.