Sounding a shofar is a religious duty on some High Holidays in the Judaism, such as Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).
Learning how to blow a shofar may seem complicated at first, but in fact it is quite easy. We hope that the following tips will help you to learn how to master shofar blowing.
You can get a shofar in Jewish shops. Shofars are easy to find, but the price varies. Some long, polished, or even decorated with silver and gold shofars can be more expensive. Long, curly shofar, perhaps will look impressive when playing in front of public, but keep in mind that these are more difficult to sound.
The best is to start practicing on an average size shofar.
Avoid small shofars – they are also very difficult to make sound. Try a few shofars in the store and choose the one that seems the easiest to blow.
- Practice on making the right lip shape. If you know how to play any type of trumpet, blow the shofar the same way as you would blow a trumpet. You may need to tighten your lips harder to fill the mouthpiece. If you don’t have any experience of playing a horn or a trumpet, just close your lips and put them on the mouthpiece of your shofar. Then, blow air through your mouth, using only the center of your lips. The air should not go out from the sides of the mouth.
- Try to close the mouthpiece. Exhale as much air as you can. Doing that will make your lips vibrate to create a sound similar to a cry of an elephant. That is how you should blow a shofar.
- Take the shofar and press your lips. Bring the shofar’s mouthpiece to the place where your lips vibrate the most. Usually it’s in the middle of the mouth. However, according to the Jewish tradition, you should sound the shofar on the right side of the lips.
- We hope that now you can get a sound like a whistle, which means that you have mastered blowing a shofar! It may not sound perfect, but with practice your lips will become stronger and that will improve the sound. Be sure – very soon you will be able to blow a shofar on Jewish Holidays beautifully!
- Shofar sounds are divided in three types.
Tekiah – is one long and straight sound of the shofar.
One of the meanings of Rosh Hashana is to crown God as our King. Tekiah ― a long, straight shofar blast ― is the sound announcing the King’s coronation
Shevarim – three medium blows.
Some Jewish scholars say that Shevarim is the wailing of a Jewish heart , which yearns to connect, to grow, to achieve.
Teruah – 9 short blows in a quick succession.
The purpose of Teruah sound is to arouse us from our spiritual sleep. These 9 short blasts of the shofar bring understanding, vigilance, and focus.
Shofar blows can be combined as Shevarim, Tekiah and then Teruah.
Tekiah Gdolah usually is the last blow – it is the longest sound of the shofar, signifying the end of Yom Kippur. Some shofar players can keep Tekia Gdolah for longer than a minute. If you want to be “the voice of the church” – make sure your Tekiah Gedolah sounds really impressive.