The technique of playing the didjeridu
is unique amongst other woodwind
instruments. You blow down the tube with loose lips to create a droning sound (on a trumpet the lips are tight). What is different with the didjeridu is that you do not stop blowing. In order to do this a technique known as "circular breathing" is used.
demands great concentration at first but once learned it becomes automatic. Using the mouth as an airbag similar to that of bagpipes
you squeeze the air out of your mouth using the cheek
s and tongue
whilst snatching short breaths through your nose
. A good player can keep the sound going for 10 minutes without stopping.
1. Fill your mouth with water. Now using your cheeks and tongue, squeeze the water out of your mouth and take short breaths in through the nose.
2. Get a drinking straw, twist the end of it making it hard to blow air out of, but not too hard. Fill a glass of water, place the straw in the glass, and proceed to blow the air out of the straw by squeezing the cheeks and whilst using the tongue to push out the last of the air in your mouth. Take short breaths in through the nose.
A glass of water is used so that you can see by the the air bubbles how constant
your breathing is.
Remember the skill is to mechanical
ly expel the air out of your mouth, as it is impossible to breathe in through your nose while blowing out though your mouth. It takes quite a bit of concentration
so take your time and think
about what you are doing.
Circular breathing can be used at any time to keep the lungs filled with air whilst the instrument is being played. Once circular breathing has been accomplished other playing techniques can be introduced.
-FromThe Didjeridu of the Australian Aboriginal
an instructional booklet by Peter Kaye (1987)