Didgeridoo Playing Instructions

Of the woodwind family of instruments, the Didgeridoo no doubt is the most fascinating and exotic in its class. The native Aboriginals of Australia crafted the horn, however there is no clear indication of how old it is. The Aborigines has a religious connection with the didgeridoo and believed that is was an integral part of the creation of our world.

Traditionally, the Aboriginals made didgeridoos from hollowed out eucalyptus or bamboo stalks. You can find didgeridoos in a number of materials in today's market, from Agave cactus stalks and any number of woods, as well as from plastic, fiberglass and other man-made materials.

The initial step to play the didgeridoo is to open your mouth wide and move your jaw. Place your lips around the mouthpiece, creating an airlock. The didgeridoo resembles the tuba in this aspect.

Blow smoothly and evenly. Your diaphragm controls the effort to manage enough steady air supply to vibrate your lips. Using a soft breath will let you maintain the noise for as long as possible on a single breath. Change the pressure of your lips until you create the proper noise. The sound you produce is referred to as the drone. Maintaining the drone effect is key to master before attempting more advanced and variations of didgeridoo tones. With enough practice, you will be able to create a nice, full tone.

Circular breathing is one of the most difficult parts of playing the didgeridoo, because it is so different than natural breathing patterns. By learning to circular breathe, you make sure there is air in your lungs at all times. Blow out air through your mouth by squeezing your cheeks, and breathe in short breaths through your nose. By contracting the muscles in your cheeks you breathe out the stored air supply, which inhaling the natural, unconscious way.

After mastering the drone, you can move on to sound effects, like bird calls, grunts, shouts and animal noises. However, this is a complicated process, because most beginners will be tempted to use their lips. It's important to never move your lips while playing the didgeridoo, because the lips need to vibrate around the mouthpiece at all times.

As a result, tones and vibrations are produced without your lips assisting.

These intonations are made by shaping the sounds without actually speaking them. Using the shape of your mouth and the location of your tongue will allow you to imitate the kookaburra and the dingo, as well as many other sounds.

To create the most well known sound on the didgeridoo, which sounds like "Ooo, eee," you'll need to focus on your tongue. Place the tip of the tongue at the top of your front teeth, and slide tip backwards over your palette. This alters the shape of your mouth, which will impact the tone and sound produced by your didgeridoo. Sliding your tongue forward will again change the tonal quality. These sounds will make the sound of your didgeridoo complex and interesting.

Try not to get discouraged if you are unable to create the sound effects as fast as you expected. It takes practice, like any other instrument. As you gain experience playing your didge, you'll get more comfortable with shaping your mouth to improve your sound.

29th Oct 2014

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