One of the first things you will learn when taking voice lessons is that how you stand when you sing is very important. Poor posture can restrict efficient breathing, and breathing deeply and effortlessly is the beginning of good tone production. Poor posture can also lead to muscle tension, and muscle tension can interfere with comfortable and effortless singing. An easy way to check your posture for singing is to stand against a wall. Put your heals, your rear, your back and your head against the wall. Now your body is aligned. Most people will notice that your head is much farther back than is normal for you. Another way to think about it is to line up the following body parts: Heals, hips, shoulder, and ears. Or if you are sitting while you sing line up your hips, your shoulders, and your ears. After you are aligned properly you’ll want to elevate your ribcage. Elevating the ribcage lets you get the most out of your air capacity, and helps you produce an energized singing sound. But while you raise the ribcage you want to be sure to keep your shoulders low and relaxed. Low relaxed shoulders help you avoid neck tension. Here is an exercise to help you raise the ribcage while keeping low, relaxed shoulders. Raise your arms high over your head. Feel the stretch of your ribs pulling away from your hips. Notice that your sternum (or breast bone) is elevated. Imagine that you are a marionette suspended by a string that is tied to your sternum on one end and the ceiling on the other. Bring your shoulders and arms back down to resting position. Relax your shoulders and arms, all the way down to your fingertips, but remember that your sternum is still suspended from the ceiling. Now you’re ready to take a breath!