How to play a singing bowl

I am often asked, how do you play a singing bowl. One way is to softly/gently tap the singing bowl. How you hold the stick and how it connects with the bowl is key to producing a clean sound. I use an upward motion when coming into the bowl

 

The technique used above is about finesse, feeling into the bowl and using the mechanics of the stick to produce a smooth fluid sound. From my experience when the mind is distracted the sounds can be distorted. Pay attention to the weight of the stick, when you begin to learn the subtle nuances of what works and what doesn't you'll realize how easy it can be. I always take a deep breath and release, smile and have a desire to connect to the bowls. Pay attention to how you feel before you begin to play. 

Using your singing bowl.

When holding the singing bowl, be sure as to not wrap your fingers to far up the side of the bowl as it will dampen the sound. Try using the palm of the hand to cup the singing bowl. The more you hold the bowl towards the bottom the longer the sound will resonate.

There are a handful of tools used to produce sound with the bowl. There is a mallet with a hard rubber end, which may be covered in felt or hemp string. The other is the spinning stick which has a leather end, and yet another is the whacker or thumper with a felt end, similar to the spinning stick but used to tap or thump the bowl.

When using the mallet or stick, you strike the bowl with enough force to create the desired sound, if you have done it correctly the bowl will resonate in a harmonious way. The duration of how long the sound resonates is dependent on how you connect or strike the bowl.

Some common mistakes when first learning your singing bowl is striking the singing bowl with solid wood, it will likely make an unpleasant sound. Simply grab the rim of the bowl to quiet. I notice some, use a flicking motion with the stick when they strike the side of the bowl, and when doing so, typically produces a clanging or disharmonious sound. When striking the bowl, think moving through the bowl and not at the bowl.

You will begin to notice, how much pressure and the weight of the striker, and what works and what does not, you are learning the mechanics of the stick and the sounds one can produce.

Using the spinning stick or striker.

To make the bowl sing, you must apply enough pressure/friction to the edge of the bowl as you are spinning around the bowl. Tapping the bowl lightly to get the vibration to begin is also a technique that can help to produce the sound.

The process of what works and what does not, will become clear to you as you spend more time with the singing bowl. Be patient, ask the bowl to play healing sounds and be open to receive as you begin to play.

Your singing bowl can be used for a number of uses, such as mediation, relaxation, stress relief, discomfort from physical ailments. One can also synchronize the breath to the sound of the bowls and bring yourself into the present moment and notice a sense of more peace and tranquility.

Using the mallet.

The mallet produces the deeper and longer lasting sounds and produces some interesting affects to the mind and body. I personally like strike the bowl with a mallet and as I hold it go up and down the front of me while sitting and bring the bowl close to me so I feel the vibration. Another way is to lay on your back and put the singing bowl on your chest and lightly tap it with the mallet. A way of preventing the bowl from sliding off is taking your free hand and using your fingers to push down inside the bottom of the bowl on to your chest. Then strike with the mallet and feel the vibration resonate throughout your body. Remember to breath and release the tension as you do this.    

 

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