I, and a pupil had something of a Eureka moment today. I often ask my students to stand sideways on to me so I can see posture and how straight the stance is. A natural stance of course, we are not talking passing out at Sandhurst attention here !
I like the shoulder to be in line with the hip and elbow so all the connections are joined and the sound does not have to travel 'backwards' before it is ultimately projected from the mouth. The lady whom I was teaching has always had a small problem with tipping the chin up so the head is rather pushed back.
Today we tried a few of the tested ways of allowing the chin to drop - ie finding something in the room which is the best eyeline etc. yet nothing was wholly satisfactory ! Suddenly, and with a slightly manic twinkle in her eye she turned and suggested to me that the fact she was wearing varifocal glasses meant that to see certain close or medium distance items one lifts up one's head as the correct part of the lense is in the lower area !
Well what a revelation ! Spectacles removed, and in a nano second she was looking directly at her music, no tipped chin, no tense neck and throat, no pinched tone........No problem ! The timbre of her sound almost instantly mellowed and relaxed, it strengthened considerably and both she and I mentally leapt for joy!
Such a majesic difference for such a miniscule change. Of course it was majestic, and yet I found myself almost feeling a failure for not noticing this through the last years of teaching her! I wear a different pair of glasses for daily life, piano playing and adjudicating, and ne'er a pair of bi or vari lenses among them. So I do not think I ever considered that the different positions of 'reading' would impact so heavily upon singing technique !
I am on such a learning curve since my clientele widened, from under 30's fiery young aspirants, to folk of all the seven ages of man!