Shofar Blowing Guide
How to Blow a Shofar
First you need to get hold of a Shofar. If you wish to purchase one, there are plenty of stores and online sites that offer a huge variety of Shofars today. Prices vary with longer Shofars generally being more expensive. Very small and very large Shofars are pretty hard to blow so keep that in mind if you are a first-time buyer.
It is important to find a Shofar that sits comfortably on your lips as the only control you have over the notes you blow is through using your lips and tongue- there are no finger holes, valves or a reed on a Shofar as there are on other wind instruments. Check which mouthpiece feels comfortable- some may be too round or too sharp for you.
In order to produce a note, firstly moisten the extreme right-hand corner of your lips and place the Shofar firmly there. Tightly close the lips and make a tiny hole in them where the Shofar is. Force air in to the Shofar as though you are rasping but without actually producing the rasping noise. If done correctly, a powerful note will sound from the Shofar.
Most Shofars can produce two or more notes, one higher and one lower. The higher notes require more effort but are far more impressive. Squeeze your lips more tightly against the mouthpiece until you find the note that you want.
Try to blow the Shofar without expelling too much saliva in to the Shofar.
Practice makes perfect. keep practicing and perfecting the notes. By doing so you will also strengthen the muscles of the lips and the capacity of the lungs.
- If you wish to blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah it is necessary to learn the details of the length and sequence of the notes according to the Jewish law.
It is not necessary to puff out your cheeks. Breathe in, hold the breath in your chest and let it out slowly to control the length of the note.
Many Shofar blowers will use two fingers to hold the Shofar against the lips as this will help keep the lips steady.
Use long pipe cleaners to dry out the Shofar after each set of notes in order to avoid the hoarse-Shofar sound.
- In the relatively common case of an odorous Shofar some say that washing it out with vinegar will help. Others will purchase special Shofar anti-odor spray. In any case, keeping your Shofar clean and dry will help it last a lifetime.