Forget Singing Technique: 5 Reasons Why You No Longer Need It
Have you been struggling to decipher complicated singing techniques like Appoggio and trying to understand mysteries like connecting through your Passaggio when you sing? Here’s 10 reasons why you don’t need these singing techniques anymore and how to learn singing without relying on these confusing terms.
I remember my first few classical singing lessons well, there were some great tips sure, but I recall the lesson being punctuated with so much jargon and so many Italian singing terms that just went WHOOSH straight over my head without any explanation other than “oh, you’ll get it one day” or even “that’s not for a beginner to know”. Well phooey to those archaic terms and complicated singing techniques, let’s break it down into simple steps with the 10 reasons why you no longer need it.
#1 – Singing terms are often a figure of speech
Appoggio isn’t the law, and neither is Open Throat technique. These terms are a literal adaption of figures of speech that were originally intended figuratively – they aren’t a description of a physical process, and they certainly aren’t a practical instruction for how to sing. While they were originally coined to make the more intangible elements of singing ‘easier’, they often serve to make singing much more complicated in the modern age when they are taken out of context, as literal instructions, or worse, hijacked for use as marketing terms by sneaky YouTube singing gurus who sell over-priced vocal academies and courses that promise to reveal ‘the secret to great singing’ but really contain nothing more than standard exercises like lip trills, vowel modification and breathing exercises.
#2 – You’re not singing Opera – so why use Opera terms?
Using Opera terms like Inhalare La Voce or Appoggio when you are singing rock, or pop, and even classical or gospel makes very little sense. This is like a commercial pilot using NASA terms like Magnetosphere (a quick search of NASA’s space term glossary gave me that one) to describe the weather conditions – sure, space travel and air travel are similar in that they involve flying of some kind, but they’re ultimately unrelated. In the way I doubt a pilot could steer a space shuttle, an astronaut would likely freak out at all the buttons in a commercial jet – catch my drift?
There is something about learning to sing that brings out a deep-seated pompousness in many singers, regardless of how good they actually are as singing. Terms like Appoggio are often held dear and almost ‘sacred’ by classical singers, and their use in anything other than an Opera setting is often met with derision. I experienced this personally on Quora recently when I answered a harmless personal question about learning to sing as a baritone and was mercilessly bullied by a classical singer to “stop using their terms” – the funny thing, I was shown this technique by a classical singer. Honestly, there is no difference in the manner with which you breathe to sing Opera, or that which you breathe to sing Jesus Christ Pose by Soundgarden – why can’t the same term be used to describe both? From this moment on, I’m swearing off the use of the term Appoggio (well, at least in this article) to make my point. You don’t need these archaic techniques and terms to learn how to sing effectively.
#3 – There are many ways to skin a potato
There is a reason that there are so many different vocal programs out there spruiking their approach as ‘the best’ – for one person, yes, this course may absolutely be the magic bullet they’ve been looking for that changes their life forever, and to another singer the same course might be a total load of BS that shares nothing they don’t already know. There are many different ways to achieve the same effect in singing, especially considering the varying psychological elements of singing. We don’t all think the same, so to gain control over the figurative elements of your voice along with the involuntary musculature required for great singing we all need to think differently to get the same result. Painting everyone with the same brush by proclaiming a certain technique as the only ‘right’ way to sing, or a certain approach as ‘better’ than another does nothing to help anyone sing better and really only serves to market and sell expensive courses and make the singing gurus who sell them look like arrogant jerks.
#4 – Many great singers didn’t take singing lessons
And while I’m not saying they didn’t spend time developing their voice and make natural discoveries and progress on their own, singing teachers and vocal courses don’t “own” your voice and don’t actually give you anything other than showing you how to use the voice you already possess.
On the flipside, there have been classical and Opera singers that studied for a lifetime who ultimately damaged their voices from overuse or misuse. Singing technique doesn’t make you infallible as a singer.
#5 – You don’t gain anything from singing technique that you don’t already possess
Think about that for a moment. Learning to sing is an act of coordination, you don’t design and ‘build’ your own voice, you simply gain control over the voice you already possess. When someone says that you can “stretch” your range higher, what they really mean is that with training and practice you can access the high range you naturally possess that you are currently unable to access due to lack of finesse and control. Sure, you can think of singing technique as the keys that unlock your voice, but the reality is your voice is already unlocked, but no one out there is really showing you how to use it properly without demanding a handsome sum in return – that is, no one but us here at Bohemian Vocal Studio.
A great place to start if you’re looking to improve your singing voice but you’re sick of confusing terms like Hyperglottal Compression that mean very little and only serve to confuse budding singers even more, is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio – all killer and no filler. Then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with practical and proven professional voice coaching you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started developing your breathing without Appoggio, building your range without Aggiustamento and building a killer voice that you hold your own set of keys to.
If you have any questions about learning how to sing or any other classical terms and techniques you’d like me to clarify, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!