The technique of how to play the didgeridoo is unique among wood instruments. You blow down the tube with loose lips creating a vibration that echoes down the tube coming out amplified as a drone. Similar to a tuba but even looser and more relaxed. It is important to stay relaxed, trying too hard will tighten your muscles which contradicts the need to create loose lips and face. Buzz your lips while gently pushing air down the tube.
The lip vibration is similar to giving someone a “raspberry”. It can help to stick your bottom lip out a little more than the top lip. To improve the tonal quality of the drone it is important to try to tighten your lips a little after the drone is started, this will increase the pitch and really get the didgeridoo going! If you tighten up too much the drone will abruptly stop and you get a sound we call the “Blow Out”. People often ask us how we can get a didge to play so loud and have such an eerie quality to the drone. The secret to a good drone is starting loose and tightening up the lips until you almost Blow Out. If you ride the fine line of playing tightly with almost doing a “Blow Out” you can achieve a loud and intense drone.
Getting a good drone is critical because the other noises you make while playing a didgeridoo happen while the drone is going. It takes most people a bit of practice to be able to drone so don’t get frustrated and practice, practice, practice. But, you shouldn’t really think of it as practice because this instrument is fun to learn!
Now try to drone as long as possible with one breath. While learning you will waste a lot of air discovering how to make the noise. As soon as possible start limiting the amount of air you use up. You only need enough air to vibrate the lips, this is what creates the noise.
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