4 Important Tips: How To Play Singing Bowl

how to play singing bowl

Singing Bowls have been trending for a while now. Everything that is trending always has something unique to it. So, what is so unique about the singing bowls? Well, the unique sounds made by the singing bowls along with the way of playing a bowl are what make it so popular. 

What are singing bowls and how to play a singing bowl are the first questions that pop in everyone’s head. Playing a bowl-like any other musical instrument to bring your body to a relaxed state sounds like a foreign concept. Well, it isn’t foreign to the Tibetan people as they are the ones who started this tradition. 

What is a Singing Bowl?

For anyone wondering what a singing bowl actually is, a singing bowl is a musical instrument that is used for relaxation and meditations. Originally used by Tibetans for traditional meditation and relaxation, a singing bowl is equivalent to a bell. 

It might sound weird to make relaxing music from a bowl which as you may think bowls clanking are annoying. However, the sounds made by the singing bowl are different. One should learn how to play a singing bowl to make the right sounds. 

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Made from a mixture of many metals and alloys, the sounds created by the singing bowl are mostly vibrations. They are used for meditations and are beneficial for stress relief, anxiety relief, anger management, blood pressure management and many more. 

The low vibrations from the singing bowl make your body focus on the satisfying sound taking away your focus from unnecessary thoughts. You can use the singing bowl in two ways. One way is where you are the one playing the bowl focusing on only one thing: the bowl. The other way is you meditate while the other person plays it relaxing your mind. 

How to Play Singing Bowl?

If you are new to using a Tibetan singing bowl, there are basically two ways of using and playing it. As a beginner, it is better to play it without any liquid. The first step to playing the singing bowl is knowing your bowl. Your singing bowl comes with a thick bowl and a mallet to play it. You can play it in two ways either striking or rimming. 

Striking Method

This is the easiest and simplest way of playing a singing bowl. As a beginner to the singing bowl, you should try using this method for playing the singing bowl. Following the steps mentioned below, you can easily play the singing bowl. 

  • Start by holding the singing bowl with your non- dominant hand in your palm while holding the mallet in the dominant hand. 
  • Lightly strike the bowl with the mallet holding it like a baton. Use the padded side of the mallet to strike the mid-exterior wall of the bowl.
  • A rich vibrating sound will be produced as you strike the bowl with the mallet.
  • Strike the bowl once and let the sound resonate and slowly wait for the vibrations to dissipate before striking the bowl again.

Rimming Method

The rimming method is somewhat of an advanced method of playing the singing bowl. This method requires practice to master. Patience is the key with this method of playing the singing bowl. To play the singing bowl with the rimming method, follow the steps below, and practice patiently.

  • Start your play in a relaxed position. With a straight spine, stay seated maintaining a natural breath cycle.
  • Just like before hold your mallet with your dominant hand while holding the bowl in the palms of your non-dominant hand.
  • Gripping the mallet in the center like a pen with your forefinger and the thumb, gently rest the padded end of the mallet on the web between your forefinger and the thumb.
  • Warm up the exercise and the bowl by gently striking the bowl and immediately placing the mallet near the rim of the bowl. Before the vibrations from the strike dissipate, begin circling the rim of the bowl in a clockwise motion. 
  • In a motion similar to stirring a pot, circle the bowl around the rim 5 or 6 times until you hear a female overtone build up. Make sure to keep the mallet vertical. 
  • As soon as you hear the female overtone build, you can slow your speed making firmer contact between the mallet and the rim. Continuing the process will make the female overtone sound sweet and clear.

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You can choose either method of playing the singing bowl based on your preference. Choosing the rimming method is more engaging so you could try that for focusing your mind away from other thoughts. Also, you can practice different techniques and you will master it with practice. 

There is also a popular advanced technique of playing the singing bowl. Yes, playing the singing bowl with water is another great way of relaxing yourselves. The water in the bowl makes unique sounds that are very satisfying and relaxing to listen to. Here’s how to use water while playing a singing bowl.

How to Play Singing Bowl With Water?

  • Fill the bowl with ¾ cup of water without getting the rim or the outside wet.
  • Use the rimming method to play the bowl making vibrations.
  • Moving the mallet away from the rim will make the bowl sing a beautiful sound unique from that without the water.
  • You can tilt the bowl so the water moves towards the rims of the bowl. This will make the water swirl to the vibrations of the bowl. You can see the water dancing to the sounds of the bowl.
  • Be sure to empty the bowl and let the bowl dry thoroughly. 

Tips for Beginner’s Singing bowl Players

Here are some tips for the beginners on things to pay attention to while playing the singing bowl. 

  • When you first get the singing bowl set, the mallet and the bowl are extremely smooth. You need to break in the mallet to produce smooth clear sounds. Starting with the mallet, you should rub the mallet to the rims causing the reformation of the micro-grooves. This helps to create the friction between the mallet and the bowl making the sounds to be deep and the vibrations to be more clear. Doing this for about 5 minutes with the new mallet will be enough to create the friction. 
  • While playing the singing bowl with the rimming method, it is important to start circling the rim immediately after you make contact with it to start the singing of the bowl. In case you keep the mallet holding on to the rim for any longer, the vibrations from the strike will end immediately. You will have difficulty making the bowl sing.
  • While making the water singing bowl sounds, make sure you do not get the rims or the outside of the bowl wet as it gives muffled sound. 
  • After you have started hearing the deep female undertone, you should maintain pressure. The pressure on the mallet as you circle the rim causes the friction between the mallet and the bowl to produce the vibrations and an even clearer and relaxing sound.

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We hope this article was useful for you to learn how to play a singing bowl. You can now incorporate what you have learned from this article into your everyday life to relax and get your issues like stress, anxiety, blood pressure, anger management in check. 

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