Appoggio Breathing (Breathing Technique for Singers)


Are you wondering how to breathe efficiently
when singing? If you are ready to bring your breathing technique
in singing to a higher level, then keep on watching because in this video, I am going
to show you how an old Italian approach to breathing, so called appoggio breathing, can
help you sing better. You will learn what appoggio technique involves
and how to use it even if you are not an opera or classical singer. And if you stay until the end, I’ll tell
you where you can get more breathing exercises for singers to improve your breath management
skills so that you never run out of breath again. Hi and welcome back. If we haven’t met yet, I am Katarina from
How 2 Improve Singing and here on this channel, I share tips on how to use your voice in a
healthy and efficient way so that you can sing any note you want. So, if you are new here, consider subscribing
to my channel and hitting that bell notification below this video. Now, I am curious to know: Do you think that
concepts from the old Italian school of singing Bel Canto are applicable only to classical
singing? Or can they be used in any style of singing? Let me know in the comments below. Appoggio breathing technique. What is it and how is it useful to you? Bel Canto, which means beautiful singing in
Italian, refers to the Italian-originated vocal style that was common in Europe during
the 18th century. Traditionally, we tend to associate bel canto
and its concepts like appoggio with classical singing because that’s where they were originally
used. Just imagine music style of the 18th century
with long sustained notes, melodies embellished with trills and runs, which required great
vocal agility. This style of singing required amazing breath
control to maintain a beautiful tone when singing long phrases and vocal freedom when
singing rapid coloratura passages. And there were no microphones so the singers
required a technique that would allow them to be heard over an orchestra. Bel canto as a technique had to be learned,
it wasn’t something that even the most talented singers were born with. Which is great news for contemporary singers. Bel canto and its concepts like breath management
are skills that can be learned. Now, my belief is that appoggio singing is
not necessary for all types of singing, however, it allows a singer to have vocal freedom,
agility and excellent control over breath. Nowadays, the term appoggio is often used
to describe breath support in singing, which is not really accurate. Appoggio starts with excellent breathing technique
but continues with focused vibration and balanced resonance. So appoggio is more than a breathing technique
for singers. The word appoggio comes from the Italian word
appoggiare, and while Google translate will translate it as support, other meanings of
this word are lean, lean against or lean on. You may know that the term breath support
is ambiguous and many different teachers will give you many different explanations of this
term. The same goes for the meaning of the word
appoggiare. Here are some examples of different interpretations:
leaning the voice into the body, leaning against the rising diaphragm, leaning up against the
inside of the chest, leaning on air pressure, physical resistance to the airflow. To name just a few. There is a lot of ambiguity in vocal pedagogy
because different singers have different sensations when performing the same movement. So, let’s focus on things that most vocal
teachers agree on. Appoggio breathing is a coordinated muscle
action for managing your breath when singing. It entails a few important skills:
Number 1: High chest posture. This is an absolutely essential part of appoggio
and as I said before, it has to be learned. Especially in today’s world, where we are
slouched over most of the day and the muscles responsible for keeping the chest up are underdeveloped. Now, this high chest posture is not associated
with any tension, pushing or rigidity. In old days, singing teachers would describe
it as a noble posture. Appoggio is associated with a dynamic alignment,
during which a singer is prepared to take on any note or musical line. To establish a high chest posture, just lift
your sternum. Or, you can lift your arms, which will bring
your chest up, then bring your arms down but keep your sternum – your breast bone up. Number 2: Silent inhale in all three dimensions. Inhalation is a three-dimensional movement,
including your abdomen that moves forward, the sides of your body that move sideways
and even your lower back that expands during inhalation. You are achieving expansion in all directions,
which allows the diaphragm to move most efficiently and it can descend fully. The abdomen is not pushed out but it is allowed
to move out with the breath. If done efficiently, the breath is silent
and low. Number 3: Maintaining expansion. The inspiratory expansion that is achieved
during inhalation is maintained throughout exhalation or singing. This prevents your body from collapsing. In appoggio technique, you create resistance
and you don’t allow the expiratory muscles to take over completely. Instead, you find a balance between the inspiratory
and expiratory muscles, which in practical terms will look like maintaining that expansion. But again, this is not a rigid position. It is a dynamic system, during which you engage
opposing muscles and control the breath. By maintaining this expansion, you are permitting
only an absolutely necessary amount of air go through the vocal folds to create a beautiful
tone. And it’s much less than what you think. We could say that the main task of appoggio
breathing is to delay the rise of the diaphragm. And while this type of breathing is nowadays
used mostly by classical singers because they require excellent breath management skills
to sing long lines without amplification over an orchestra (which by the way, is even bigger
than in the 18th century), this technique is beneficial to any singer, especially to
those who have trouble with breath management. If you run out of breath, if you inhale too
much or too little air or if you have bad posture, if you inhale audibly, or if you
collapse your torso during breathing and singing, this is a perfect technique for you. There are many exercises that use components
of the appoggio technique. One of them is the Farinelli exercise or suspending
the breath exercise. Another one is the hissing exercise if done
properly. You can check out my videos, in which I describe
and demonstrate these exercises in detail. I will post the links down below. But now let’s do an easy version of the
appoggio exercises: First, establish a good chest position, raise
that sternum, put your hands on the sides of your ribcage to feel the sideway expansion,
inhale for the count of 5 and make sure that your torso is expanding in all directions. Now sustain the SH sound for the count of
5 while keeping your breastbone up and maintaining the expansion of the torso. You can even put a fist against your breastbone
so that you can press against it in order to prevent the collapse. Let’s do it a few more times, inhale for
the count of 5, and exhale for the count of 5 on the sh sound. So, what do you think? If you are ready to learn more breathing exercises,
click this link or the link in the description below to get 5 free breathing exercises for
singers that will help you improve your breath management skills so that you can sing with
ease and confidence. If you liked this video, please click the
like button and share it with your friends. Don’t forget to stay in touch by clicking
the subscribe button and the bell icon. I will be posting more useful videos like
this. I’ll cover topics like breathing techniques
in singing, vocal health, vocal tension, hoarseness and many more. So, I’ll see you soon in my next video.

19 thoughts on “Appoggio Breathing (Breathing Technique for Singers)

  1. Hi and thank you for visiting. Do you think that an old Italian technique, like appoggio, can be beneficial to any style of singing? Let me know what you think!

  2. Appoggio…?!? That's brand new to me…I'm going to find a way to weave this word into everyday conversation 🙂

  3. I am learning so much from you. I never knew singers had to go through all of these breathing techniques…so interesting!

  4. Hey Katrina! This was really helpful! I sing occasionally and struggle with breathing! Maybe you can answer this, after singing for too long in a practice, my back always starts hurting! Does that have to do with my lack of proper breathing?

  5. #1763 omg i just came across ur channel & i love it. i love singing so this info will really help. hope we can supoort each other ❤️

  6. You just explained appoggio better than any YouTube teacher that I have been following for years. I did understand it before, but I’m coming back to it now. You just made sure that I can never ever forget how to do it.

  7. Hi Katerina! Found you through the Creators Accelerated group. Singing is just a hobby, and I haven’t had any professional training, but I’m looking forward to learning more about different techniques!

  8. I tried apoggio today for the first time, and I instantly sang without strain. Thank you for your videos! I usually sing by pushing my larynx up an down and that instantly stopped.

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