Before We Start
Before we start playing, let’s break down some myths. You may have heard people say…
Myth: You can’t play unless you can circular breathe.
Well actually on one breath you can play many sounds on the didgeridoo.
Myth: You need massive lungs to play the didgeridoo, I just don’t have enough puff.
Playing the didgeridoo is about a controlled release of a small amount of air, only possible when you are relaxed and playing gently.
Myth: I’m too old to play the didgeridoo.
There are people from 3 years old (maybe even younger) to 93 years old (maybe even older) around the world learning and playing the didgeridoo right now!
Myth: It looks far too difficult for me.
The didgeridoo requires no “musical ability” and with only a very small amount of practice you can sound fantastic.
Posture is important when playing your didgeridoo. It is best to be comfortable and in an upright position.The sound you hear when playing the didgeridoo is far different from the sound that everyone else hears when they listen to you. Most of the sound you hear is the dull vibration in your head… a bit like talking with your ears blocked. To help hear more clearly while you practice, find a spot in your home with the best acoustics (the bathroom is excellent!!!). Also try playing with the didgeridoo up against a wall or hard surface so the sound bounces straight back to you.
Making the Drone
Playing the didgeridoo is about a controlled release of a small amount of air. It is about a relaxed, gentle vibration of the lips, it has nothing to do with blowing hard down the instrument.Without your didgeridoo:Blow a gentle amount of air through your lips. While keeping them relaxed, bring your lips together and they should start to vibrate together. Some people describe this vibration as “blowing a raspberry”. This may feel quite unnatural at first as you probably haven’t done this since you were very young. Keep practicing, it will get much easier very quickly.This is the most important technique as it is actually the sound of your lips vibrating that gets amplified down the didgeridoo to produce the drone, not the amount of air going down it.With your didgeridoo:Place your lips inside the mouthpiece to form a gentle but air-tight seal. Blow the same raspberry and you should feel the didgeridoo vibrate. At first your brain will try to take over and tense your lips up tight… you may hear a spitting/trumpet sound. This is perfectly normal to begin with, you just need to relax as you did without the didgeridoo.Pay attention not to let any air leak out between your lips and the didgeridoo mouthpiece. This will make it almost impossible to play. Remember, a gentle but airtight seal.Keep practicing this until you can get the drone happening more consistently with each breath.You may notice that one whole lungful of air may only last 1 or 2 seconds. Your challenge with this technique is to get the drone to last between 5 and 10 seconds or more from one breath.Remember… relax.