01 May 2014

Singing Lessons: Turn Your Singing Upside-Down & Get Surprising Results!

Change Your Singing By Changing Your Perspective


In my voice studio, I often use words like play, experiment, feel, and imagine.


I incorporate untraditional movements into the lesson time; the goal being to override vocal muscle-memory and allow a space for the student to see their potential in a new light.


This opening allows a brighter and wider view of their horizon, evidence that the “rules” can bend and boundaries may expand.



It is the new perspective that shifts everything.






So, how about this shift? What if you sing upside-down?


My undergraduate voice instructor, Patricia Gee, introduced this concept to me through a book called “A Soprano on Her Head” by Eloise Ristad. In the opening pages, Eloise shares an experience where she and another singer discover a new way of finding a relaxed and easily placed sound.


And while I will share this valuable exercise with you today, I would like to first emphasis Eloise’s bigger awareness, The important thing we did was to establish an open, flexible, experimental state of mind – a state of curiosity and excitement.”


[Tweet “A singer’s curiosity & willingness to experiment allows for a creative breakthrough.”]



Weaving this philosophy through your artistic process will yield unforeseen awareness and success.



Last week in the Speak Singing exercise, we talked about allowing for a lifted soft palate, relaxed larynx, and a loose jaw and tongue. If you would like to experiment with this a bit further, let’s play with singing upside-down.


Singing Upside-Down Does 8 Things:


1. Relaxes the Tongue

2.  Releases the Jaw Hinge

3. Activates a Low Breath

4. Frees the Neck

5. Opens the Passage Between the Throat and the Sinus

6. Supports the Sensation of Mask Resonance

7. Lifts the Soft Palate

8. Takes Pressure off the Larynx


Your Rejoice In Your Voice™ Assignment


Watch the video demonstration and read the step-by-step instructions below.


1. Lean over at the hip joints

2. Let the torso dangle

3. Head drop and relax

4. Take in an easy breath

5. Feel the breath expansion in your lower abdominals

6. On the exhale, sing a phrase of music or 4 or 5-note pattern

7. Give special attention to allowing for a loose and relaxed neck


NOTE: Some singers may find that when they inhale or exhale their neck may want to “grab” – breathe and allow the neck to dangle and relax once more. This “neck grabbing” reaction is a valuable clue that there may be habitual neck tension when the singer is singing upright.

 Soprano On Her Head



8. Sing through the phrase or note pattern again, but this time…

9. Slowly come up to a standing position in the middle of the singing phrase

10. Continue to sing, using the same space you did when you were upside-down


The Results


What do you notice? How does it feel?


Everyone is different, but I have found that for my students and me, this exercise creates an open, flexible, and easily balanced head voice. Singing feels easier. Sound is more clear and rich.


Try singing upside-down for yourself.

Play, experiment, and celebrate your discoveries, whatever they may be, and always Rejoice In Your Voice™.


Let me know how the exercise goes in the comment section below and share this post with a singer friend!

Happy singing!




P.S. Would you like to take voice lessons?

Email me today for your free 30-minute singing lesson and voice assessment in-studio or via skype – my email: triciapine@rejoiceinyourvoice.com

I look forward to hearing from you! 





  1. A compelling idea, I’ll have to try that. Not sure where I can find a flowing ribbon hanging from the ceiling that will hold me though! Thanks for the tip.

    1. Steve, you are so welcome! Thanks for reading. No need to be an aerial dancer for this voice exercise 🙂 Have fun experimenting!

  2. Interest tip. Many could learn to speak in public or during interviews in a more relaxed manner for being ‘curiosity & willingness to experiment’ Thanks for sharing this insight.

    1. Cindy, I am so glad you resonated with that golden nugget 🙂 It does shift things, doesn’t it? I find in public speaking, interviews (I worked in media for several years), and singing that the more connected I am with the true feeling of what I saying the more aligned my voice is with my body…connected to the core, not just physically, but emotionally. When I am able to by-pass the immediate fear of judgement and rather use the joy of the topic, love for the people I am sharing the idea with, and connectedness to a greater good, these core feelings ground my voice in a way my intellect never could. For me, it does take being present to those feelings in the moment and being curious and willing to go there… where ever they may take us. Scary, yes. Rewarding, absolutely 🙂 And then to see this curiosity and willingness transfer over in to all parts of our lives… very cool! Thanks for so much for your comment, Cindy!

  3. What a novel point of view! I had never thought of these things.

    1. Thanks, Dorothy, for reading and for sharing your comment 🙂 So glad you are here!

  4. This is a great exercise. Yes, the voice sounds richer and fuller, and it’s easier to keep the soft palate lifted as you gradually rise. Is your head meant to go all the way upside down, or adjust it to slightly tilt up, as the nasal cavity tends to get blocked and stuffy? Thanks.

    1. So glad this worked for you! Ahhh, yes, the stuffy nose. It depends on the day, but I sometimes feel this as well… and the pressure can at times be uncomfortable. I prefer the head to be all the way over, as the neck being allowed to fully relax is an important factor. Many of us hold incredible amounts of tension in the neck when we are singing. As long as it doesn’t hurt, go all the way upside down… but for you, perhaps get the feel of the placement and maybe don’t stay down as long. Use it as more of a check-in exercise, rather than doing full phrases. Hope that helps!!

  5. Great concept to open the singers range and possibilities. And, I venture suggesting to use this concept in other areas of our life… 😉

    1. I agree with you, Emma, that changing persecutive in life would be game-changer!Thanks for reading and for you comment! Love hearing from you!


Write a Reply or Comment