Matt Edwards

Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute

Mix it up Monday: The posture harness

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Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 9.07.05 AMI am a big fan of using props in the voice studio. Props allow me to teach concepts to my students without placing my hands on them. Anytime I can teach the student a concept in a private lesson without using physical touch, it is better for all involved. Posture is one of those issues that is hard to correct without physical touch. If the student’s shoulders are rolled forward and/or they are slouching, it is rather hard to show them how to make a correction without placing your hands on their shoulders to help them find a better position. Yes, you can have them stand against a wall or lie on the floor, but when they return to a standing position, they will often revert to their old habits.

I was flipping through Instagram a few months ago when I came across an advertisement for a posture harness. Of course, once I clicked to learn more, I began being bombarded with ads for the same product on other sites as well. At first, I was skeptical, but the more I thought about it, I decided it was worth a try. Instead of buying the expensive version, I picked up this one from Amazon for $10.88.

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The version I purchased is definitely constructed on a budget, but it does the job. The student puts their arms through the harness and then pulls the Velcro strips under each arm to set the right amount of correction for their body. Once in place, the harness does a remarkable job of helping the student improve their posture. Best of all, my students love it. The harness allows them to quit focusing on getting into the right position so they can instead focus on how the corrected position feels and how it impacts their singing. Of course, it should only be used as a temporary tool, but when verbal cues are not enough to produce the desired result, this is a great option.

Have you used a similar device in your studio? Have you seen good results? Do you have other ideas for helping students address posture without touching their shoulders? You can contribute to the conversation by leaving a comment below. If you are not already on the mailing list, you can submit your name and email address below to receive a message each time there is a new post. If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media. As always, thank you for reading and have a wonderful week of teaching.

Matt

Matt Edwards is an Associate Professor of Voice/Director of Musical Theatre at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA, and Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute. He is the author of “So You Want to Sing Rock ‘N Roll” and dozens of articles and book chapters on functional voice training for non-classical styles. For more information visit EdwardsVoice.com

6 comments on “Mix it up Monday: The posture harness

  1. Diane Thornton
    October 22, 2018

    Matt, I think that this is an excellent thing to try. What I have found is that, despite using the 4″ foam roll and exercise balls, laying on the floor, giving them a number of physical therapy exercises to try, that my students often come back to the next lesson with the same issues because of what goes on in between lessons that affects posture. The LeraMed is something they can have on while leaning over computers and carrying heavy bookbags, etc. Plus, it is not “bulky” looking and could even fit on under clothes, right? Hmmm…..

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  2. May Leporacci
    October 22, 2018

    Matt, I used this in my studio often! It works wonders! It helps the shoulders to maintain the relaxed and back position but allows the rib cage to be flexible.

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  3. Cate Frazier-Neely
    October 22, 2018

    Hi Matt, I adore everything you write except this endorsement. I am glad you have found success with your students, but all this does is put them in a ‘held place’, and they still are missing the point of developing a fluid and dynamic alignment on which everything else rests. So in addition to the use of yoga straps, yoga blocks, a balance disc and large balance ball (and other toys) we make a more practical application to working at the computer and scrolling through a cell phone. We make ergo dynamic changes to desks and work stations and awareness of using tablets and other devices. So I nix this and a lot of credible body workers do, too. Its just substituting one poor habit for a bunch of poor habits. My two cents.

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    • Diane Thornton
      October 22, 2018

      Cate, I understand what you have stated. However, my own husband, despite all of the different things he had been doing to correct his posture after years of bending over his computer/desk as an IT expert, started wearing a device similar to the one Matt showed when he went to the gym; and it definitely helped his body recognize what it needed to feel like while working out. He then took what he learned from that experience and was able to recognize much more clearly when his posture was in bad shape and how to correct that without the device and when he was not at the gym.

      I certainly don’t think that one should wear such a thing 24/7 and use that as a substitute for any kind of needed physical therapy. Instead, I think it could be helpful for a particular period of time while changing muscle “processes” in the body. If it doesn’t help, the price is such that there is not a lot of wasted money for the product.

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    • Matt Edwards
      October 29, 2018

      Cate: You bring up some great points, I completely agree that bodywork must extend beyond this device. I am in a fortunate position where my students are taking dance, movement, yoga, etc. as part of their degree program. So in my mind, this is more about a reminder than a permanent solution. But I am open minded and will continue to explore. Thanks for chiming in!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Philippe Castagner
    November 16, 2018

    I agree! I also use something called a chestnut as an aid to try a sequence before being physically able to do it without effort.

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2018 by in Misc. Thoughts.

Ranked the #1 New Release in "Vocal and Singing" on Amazon.com (October 2014), "So You Want To Sing Rock 'N' Roll?" covers voice science, vocal health, technique, style, and how to find your artistic voice in a way that is beneficial to both singers and teachers. Order your copy today!

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