The Didgeridoo also called a “didj,” is a woodwind instrument. It is also known as Yidaki, a word that the Yolngu people use in the northern parts of Australia. They are the Aboriginal people of northern Australia who invented the Didgeridoo around 1,500 years ago. The first Didgeridoo was made from trees hollowed by termites. Today, it can be bought in various styles of didj that can produce a deep, calming tone when played.
Learning to play the Didgeridoo, one needs to have a comfortable spot to practice. It is important to work on improving the lip vibrations while refining the breathing techniques.
If you want to buy and learn how to play the Didgeridoo, read some of these tips:
Before You Begin
Before you begin playing the Didgeridoo, the first thing to remember is that it is important to have good posture. Proper posture will help you play easier, last even longer, and have more fun.
Making a Sound
Next is learning the right shape of the mouth to make a successful drone. Before trying the didge, try to pucker your lips as if doing an exaggerated kiss before blowing gently. If done properly, your lips should vibrate and make a raspberry sound. Then, please do it again, with the Didgeridoo against your lips, ensuring no air escapes when you blow. You can now be playing a drone. No need to worry about how it sounds; no one gets it perfect on the first try. Once you have successfully made a drone, repeat the exercise.
Ironically, the best way to learn to play this instrument is not to try so hard. The less that you try, the easier it is. Resist the temptation of blowing hard down the tube because if you blow too hard, lips are too tight; you will not make a drone.
You can sit or stand; make yourself comfortable so you can easily hold the Didgeridoo without too much effort. The process should be like that of natural breathing. Every time you play the drone, try to make them sound smoother. You can achieve it with relaxed breathing and blowing.
As you become familiar with the sound, it becomes easier, and you can try to make it last longer.
Changing the Sound
By now, you can make a drone with the Didgeridoo, and you may have noticed that the sound changes when you move your tongue. Any movement with your tongue, cheeks, jaw, or diaphragm will change the sound. Adding noise from your vocal cords likewise changes the sound it makes.
Try experimenting with moving all these body parts and take note of the changes in sound. Then try to move from one sound to another while trying to make the sound, sound even and smooth. Once you have done this, you have played your first rhythm on the Didgeridoo.
Proper breathing is one of the most important factors to playing Didgeridoo successfully. To perfect it, you should relax and control your breathing with a few breaths in and out. Train yourself to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in faster than breathing out. Depending on how fast you breathe, each cycle should take a handful of seconds but whatever you do, make sure that the rhythm of your breathing is as natural as possible. While breathing in and out, concentrate on achieving a smooth motion.
The more relaxed and controlled your breathing is, the more you will be able to control the sounds you make. Just below the lungs is a set of muscles called the diaphragm, which helps you breathe naturally. When you exhale, the muscles push upwards, helping to regulate the speed and amount you breathe out, and when you breathe in, it lowers. Most professional didge players control their diaphragm incredibly; it increases their ability to control their breathing and improve playing.
Posture and Playing Position
Good posture while playing is very important, especially if you want to clear your airways. Changing and approving a good posture while playing the Didgeridoo have instant positive effects on playing.
You can sit or stand; however you want to, try to keep your back and neck straight, allowing you to regulate and control your breathing more easily.
Having to hold a heavy wooden didge when standing is not always reasonable and not recommended. Use a stand to support the didge; whatever it may be, do so. Comfortably hold the didge – so long as you can relax and play unrestrained.
The same rules apply when you are sitting – relax and be comfortable. It does not matter if you can comfortably maintain good posture on the floor or the ground, crossed-legged, or leg(s) outstretched. Many Didgeridoo players cross one of their legs under the other. The foot of the outstretched leg supports the wooden instrument.
Whichever position you choose, your grip remains the same—cradle the instrument in the upturned palm of your dominant hand. Your index finger should be pointing away from you, leaving your thumb and remaining fingers to curl around the didj. Slide this hand down until it is a relaxed arm’s reach out. The other hand can balance the didj close to the mouthpiece if needed.
Most people tend to neglect the importance of a mouthpiece, but having a good mouthpiece is essential. People think it is not that important; however, it greatly influences playing the Didgeridoo. If the mouthpiece is too open or too closed, producing a stable sound would not be easy.
The ideal size of a mouthpiece is about 30-32 millimeters, and it should have a round and consistent shape.
Take Didgeridoo Classes
To get more in-depth instruction, enroll in an online class or take a course at your local college if offered. Some of these classes are offered by musicians for free, and others require a fee, so investigate before signing up. These classes often incorporate the history of the didj, which can add another layer to your experience. Many didgeridoo beginners struggle because of a lack of access to good quality training and in-person lessons.