Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

How To Achieve Optimal Posture

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 15, 2012

Comments (7)

Young man standing behind a pop filter and microphoneIs your recording studio environment set up to get the best possible performance out of your instrument?

Are you maximizing your voice while performing comfortably?

Voices.com's Jessica Campbell shares her perspective on how you get the most out of each take, whether sitting or standing, in today's VOX Daily.

Sitting (or Standing!) Pretty: Achieving Optimal Posture

By Jessica Campbell

For many who work behind a desk - or a mic! - all day, achieving and maintaining optimal posture isn't necessarily a top priority. But as voice actors, your posture can actually be pivotal to your performance! Today, we're going to explore some simple tricks that will allow you to improve your posture and potentially even improve your next read.

As Human Resources manager at Voices.com, I have run a couple of training sessions for our staff on how to achieve proper posture. Our bodies are not physically designed to sit all day, and it is with this pretense that I came to the staff with ideas on how to ensure they are optimizing their posture possibilities each day! Having also worked in radio before coming to Voices.com, I know the difference proper posture can make to hitting your mark when recording - especially if you're having trouble hitting that mark in the first place.

Now, I'm not a doctor, but I do suffer from low back pain and have experienced the difference proper posture can make. So here are some tips for you to consider the next time you sit down behind (or step up to!) the mic.

If you prefer to sit while recording, make sure you have a comfortable, supportive chair - a metal folding chair or Barka lounger doesn't cut it. A supportive chair is one that allows for the proper stacking of bones and joints and proper positioning of organs. This, in turn, helps you to properly support your diaphragm, making it easier to breathe, pronounce and enunciate while recording.

When you sit down, shift your hips as far back in the chair as they will go. Try this right now and take note of the immediate difference in your posture. You should feel that you're sitting up straighter with a feeling of openness throughout your chest, neck and back.

Adjust your chair to suit your height. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when I did this session with my staff, almost everyone ended up adjusting what they thought to be a perfectly adjusted desk chair! How do you know if your chair is adjusted properly? Ensure your feet are flat on the floor and that your knees are equal to or slightly lower that your hips when you sit down. Then, adjust the back of your chair so that its at an angle slightly larger than 90 degrees. Finally, adjust the arm rests so that your shoulders are supported but relaxed - not squeezing up around your ears. If you have a chair with arm rests and find that they're in the way, simply adjust them to the lowest possible setting and don't use them (or take them off the chair entirely). After all, recording sessions can sometimes get pretty animated and we all know what its like to smash our elbows off our chair - well, at least I do!

If you prefer to stand while recording, that's great! Standing allows for much for freedom of movement and natural placement of organs and bones. Since your lungs are less compacted while standing, you can take deeper breaths, too. If you've never tried recording while standing, I encourage you to give it a try and compare what you sound like to when you're sitting.

With all of this in mind, how do you normally record - sitting or standing? Does it depend on the job? What kind of chair do you have? Comment and let me know how your posture affects your voice over work.

Happy recording, everyone!

Jessica

©iStockphoto.com/Hal Bergman

Related Topics: how to, pop filter, radio


Comments


    ...great practical advice! Thanks, Jessica...

    Posted by:
    • Herb Merriweather
    • February 16, 2012 8:41 AM

      Hi Jessica -

      Very good advice for voice actors and office workers in general.
      For any gig under half an hour, I try to stand for all the anatomical/breathing reasons you cited.

      If however, I am doing a 2 or 3 hour audio book session, I prefer to sit as the legs/ hips start to get achey.

      Cheers!

      David

      Posted by:

        Thank you Jessica! Great advice as I am currently recording in a challenging environment. Your information will make the job so much better!
        Thanks again!
        Linda Parenti

        Posted by:

          Great post Jessica!

          I generally like to stand to record. But, longer sessions can get tiring if you don't sit, and it's easy to fall into poor habits that can affect the work. Thanks for the reminder about how to do it correctly.

          Crystel Jean

          Posted by:

            Thanks Jessica,

            I'm sure everyone has a preference. I'm comfortable standing or sitting, though I think there's a tendency when standing to announce. Sitting helps me achieve intimacy with the listener. And, posture seems to translate into body english. I'd never slouch if I were playing a drill sergeant but I might if I was reading a bedtime story to a child for instance.

            Posted by:

              Hello Jessica: Regret that I don't have much different to offer compared to the previous posts; 30 mins or less = stand; 30 mins + = seated. Good info & please continue hints/tips whenever you can. Thx BN

              Posted by:
              • Bill Nevitt
              • February 16, 2012 7:30 PM

                Great tips Jessica. I also do some singing at church and I find that for me when I'm doing voice work I stand like when I'm singing because I feel like I'm using my vocal instrument better when , even if I'm doing an audio book (with breaks of course). Plus you can move around more and get your whole body involved in the process.

                I do sit sometimes depending on the script when I want to achieve a lazier or more laid back tone or quality.

                Posted by:

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