Down and Out vs Down Back and Wide Breathing for Singing. Appoggio breathing technique. Costal-Diaphragmatic breathing for singing

Down and Out vs Down Back and Wide Breathing for Singing

Joe NaabBreathing for SingingLeave a Comment

Two Different Ways to Inhale

Belly Out Breathing

Over the long history of singing two different inhale techniques have been taught most often. They can go by different names.

The first method seems to be favored by pop coaches at Youtube. It can be called "down and out", "belly out" or "belly breathing".

The signature of this method is that emphasis is placed on the belly moving outward and "filling with air".

This instruction is often followed by the instruction to "push down on the diaphragm" or some other such nonsense.

You might hear these coaches attempt to support their argument by calling this "Bel Canto" breathing.

It is not. It's the opposite of Bel Canto breathing technique.

Breathing in this way is diaphragmatic-only. You won't be able to get a good rib cage expansion, which is necessary for Appoggio and proper Bel Canto breathing technique.



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Down, Back and Wide Breathing

True Bel Canto breathing technique requires a costal-diaphragmatic inhale to create the rib cage and lung expansion necessary to maximize the passive forces of exhale.

Remember, "Bel Canto" simply means beautiful singing. These ideas apply to all singing, not just opera.

This method, or versions of it, have been called "down and in", "down and back', and "belly in".

My preference, which I've created for myself, is to call it "down, back and wide".

The diaphragm muscle actually pulls down and back to draw down the diaphragm tendon so as to fill the lungs.

When the mind is placed on "down and back", or "deep down and back", something magical seems to happen.

The air enters the lungs so easily. It feels as if the air is climbing up your back.

When you breath in with your mind on the belly, this doesn't happen. The air seems to stop, almost getting caught up on the rib cage.

When your mind is focused on down and back the rib cage will expand on its own.

This is true costal-diaphragmatic breathing. This is what I've found to be the very best breathing technique for  myself. I've tried all the others.

Please see the simple demonstration in the video and give it a try for yourself, following the instructions.

What to Do Next

If you're looking to get better at singing faster, check out all of the new articles this week on breathing for singing.

So many pop coaches are teaching that breathing can be ignored. Or, they teach it quickly and often incorrectly.

Know that there is a 400 year history of singing technique from the best coaches and teachers that puts breathing for singing at the forefront of learning.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Leave any questions you have, too.

Be Well and Train Hard!


Written by Joe Naab

Voice Building Coach and Course Creator

Since early 2013, Joe Naab has immersed himself into the study and training of all things related to improving his own singing voice at a fundamental level. Having overcome a number of serious vocal problems along the way, he now shares what he has learned in the hope that he can help others fulfill their own goals as singers.


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