In this lesson you'll get your first sounds out of your didjeridu ! Your objective is to play a controlled drone. This should be the beginning of a long and enjoyable didj playing adventure.
To give you an idea what your lips should be doing, first practice making the lip buzzing without the didjeridu. Your friends will surely think you're nuts! Puff out your cheeks and push out your lips, drawing the corners of your mouth back a bit, allowing the center part of your lips to be loose. Blow air through your lips, allowing them to vibrate making a low pitched buzzing sound. This should be just like "blowing a raspberry". Your lips should be relaxed, and flap up and down making a sound which is not unlike pneumatic hammer.
The next, and somewhat trickier step is to transfer this loose lip buzzing technique to the mouthpiece of the didjeridu. There are two styles for meeting the mouthpiece : straight on with the mouthpiece centered on the lips below the nose or to the right or left of center. Both methods are fine - use whichever seems natural to you.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and blow evenly down the didjeridu while buzzing your lips. In the beginning you may well find that with your lips touching the mouthpiece, its much harder to get that buzzing going. It often helps to get them started with a burst of air. For some it helps to begin with a something like pronouncing the plosive "p". With a little practice you will be able to keep the portion of your lips which cross the cavity of the mouthpiece vibrating. This will produce the drone. If the sound is high pitched (like a trumpet note) relax your lips a bit so they vibrate at a lower rate.
As you gain experience you will be able to begin the drone more and more gently, avoiding the initial strong air burst. If your note sounds flat and weak, try blowing a bit harder.
|Don't purse your lips as if you are playing a trumpet. Remember that the secret is to relax you lips so that they flap up and down freely.|
|Never press the mouthpiece tightly against your lips as this interferes with the buzzing. If you really press too hard, you'll end up cutting off the circulation to your lips ! Owww - that hurts ! Time and again you'll catch yourself pressing the didj too hard against your lips when you are trying to master something new. Remember that all you need to do is make a seal.|
|Beginner's often overblow. Once you have blasted out your first drone, relax and reduce your blowing. You'll be surprised to find that you can still keep a nice drone going with much less air.|
This exercise should be fairly straightforward. Usually you get something in the first few tries. It will take a while longer before you can control the drone.
Hints and Tips
Try to relax and let the instrument show you how to do it. This exercise should be fun. Get to know your instrument. Look it up and down, inside and our. If its an original, feel the wood and appreciate the artwork. Remember that didjing can be a personal journey, open your senses to all that your instrument can show you.
Sound Sample [.wav format]