The toughest part of didgeridoo playing is learning to circular breathe. Circular breathing allows a player to be able to continually blow air down the didgeridoo without ever stopping for breath.
Circular Breathing Explained!
While circular breathing is great to know it is NOT a requirement to be able to play and enjoy this instrument. You can build breathing into rhythms you create when you snatch air between beats. It is best to master the other techniques of playing first and learn circular breathing last.
Circular breathing is what allows players to perform continuously without stopping for breath. Many great wind instrument players such as Miles Davis and Kenny G use circular breathing.
Practice these exercises to learn how to circular breathe!
Exercise 1: Fill your mouth with water and push a stream of water out using only your tongue and cheek muscles. Make sure not to use any pressure from the lungs to help. Stay relaxed and breathe in and out with your nose while making the stream. Keep trying until it feels very comfortable. This is a good exercise to do in the shower!
Exercise 2: Get a straw and a cup of water. Twist the end of the straw so that almost no air can come out. Push air through the straw and into the water creating bubbles. Breathe in and out with your nose while doing this as in exercise 1. Keep the pressure even and the flow of bubbles smooth.
Exercise 3: Slowly transition to just breathing in with your nose and keep the bubbles going nonstop. Master this until the muscle contractions you are using feel totally comfortable and the bubbles are flowing smoothly.
Exercise 4: You are now circular breathing. Keep your cup and straw right next to you. Try to play your didge and circular breathe (it is just a bigger straw). You will find this difficult so go right back to the straw and water to practice again. Then, try on the didge again. Keep going back and forth between the cup and water and the didge until you can successfully do it on your didge.
|Figure A||Figure B|
|While droning and pushing air out with your lungs fill your mouth and cheeks up with air.||Tighten your throat to separate your mouth air from your lung air. Expel the air that is in your mouth only and keep the drone going.|
|Figure C||Figure D|
|Quickly sniff air with your nose to replenish your lungs while your mouth keeps the drone going.||Switch back to pushing air with the lungs and repeat the steps, your circular breathing and the drone never stops!|