Monday, January 26, 2009
February 2009 Activity -- Didgeridoo
Saturday, February 7, 2009
11:00am - 1:00pm
Cost: $20 per person
316 Dominion Rd
Vienna, VA 22180
Color us surprised to see 14 people at this didgeridoo (accepted academic spelling: didjeridu) workshop. After all, The Soundry has only been open for a couple of months and let's face it...didgeridoo?
The class description noted that we would "explore this ancient Aboriginal musical instrument with basics of playing, learning about variations of tone and touching on the history and artwork of the didge."
We began the class by selecting a "didge" that "spoke to us" and then learning how to breathe into it to achieve the proper "droning" sound. The instructor told us that we needed to move our lips like a "horse" or like a "motorboat." Dilettante Amanda certainly had the best frame of reference for the motorboat (if you know what I'm saying...)
Our instructor was fantastic at playing and building didges, but not so good at teaching. Fortunately, he had an assistant with him who played equally well and was much better at teaching us the techniques. (Plus, he gets bonus points for being from Scotland and having that killer Scottish accent.) ("Killer"? Jeez. My junior high clique just called and wants their adjective back.) (Okay, fine...I didn't really have a clique in junior high...unless you count the other French club officers as a "clique.") (I'm suddenly sad for my junior high self. A moment, please.)
Playing this instrument is deceptively hard. It took a solid hour in class to achieve even a few seconds of the desired droning tone. (Well, for everyone except Dilettante Nicole, who was a total didge ringer. Seriously...she was all laid back and droning on her didge like she had been doing it forever.)
Most of the time, the didgeridoo is taught with a method called "circular breathing." The instructors touched on this, but told us that it was not necessary to play it for the first time. We played together as a group; played individually and got critiqued; and then practiced our circular breathing by blowing up a balloon and then breathing through our noses.
The two hours went by very quickly -- it was a fun class.
We had lunch after at the Vienna Inn, because really, how else would one follow up didgeridoo?