Blowing on the Didgeridoo
Expert and Musician Phillip Jackson Discusses the Instrument that is Taking Over the World of Music
 More of this Feature
• Part 3: Finding a Didgeridoo Outside Australia
  Related Resources
• Didgeridoo
• Australian Music
 Elsewhere on the Web
• (A didgeridoo resource center with lots of music and instructional material)

Paula: What is the biggest challenge of playing the didgeridoo?

Phillip: Keeping aware of the fact that in having been given the opportunity to play this instrument, I have been given an opportunity to present, promote and celebrate Aboriginal culture to a wider audience. With all of the huffing and puffing that goes along with playing didgeridoos, its very easy to dangerously inflate one's ego, and I try very hard to keep the emphasis on the instruments cultural roots. As I was told by an old Aboriginal street performer I met in Sydney, "if you look after [didgeridoos], it will look after you- abuse it, it will abuse you back.

Paula: A lot of people think the didgeridoo is either very difficult or very easy to play -- are both assumptions wrong? How would you grade the level of difficulty of playing the didgeridoo?

Phillip: As with many things, I feel that the answer lies somewhere between either extremity. Learning the breathing technique required to play the instrument generally takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Sounding it is also pretty easy depending on the quality of the didgeridoo. The tricky part is combining the two on the instrument. Someone's success in doing so depends entirely on how much they want to play. If you really want to, you'll do it. The fastest I've seen someone pick it up from a cold start is about three and a half minutes. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that learning it is easy, I'd say that if you can drive a car, you can certainly learn to play a didgeridoo. On a scale of one one to ten then, I'd put it around six and a half. This rating, however, is directly proportional to your state of mind, and fluctuates accordingly.

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