How to Use a Tibetan Singing Bowl: The Absolute Basics
If you are new to the world of Tibetan singing bowls or simply have never tried to use one before, then you may be at a loss about where you should begin with this unique instrument. While the healing powers of the singing bowl are soothing, you can become stressed trying to figure out how to begin creating music yourself!
Thankfully, this is a very old instrument, and there are a lot of resources out there that can help you discover how to use a Tibetan singing bowl. In order to help you out, we’ve gathered all the basics that you should know into this useful article!
What Is A Tibetan Singing Bowl?
Tibetan singing bowls are traditionally thought to be a Buddhist ritual tool that originated from Tibet. While there are some aspects of truth to this belief, the bowls have been used for longer than Buddhism, so their culture should not be restricted in this say. Second, the bowls have been found around the entire Himalayan region, so they are not strictly a Tibetan relic.
Another thing that you should learn about Tibetan singing bowls is that they are not bowls in the sense that they are made to hold something. Actually, you could call this instrument a type of standing bell. Bells are commonly used in the Himalayas, and this instrument fits in with that category perfectly.
Today, Tibetan singing bowls are often used for mindfulness practice. This includes practicing meditation, yoga, and other rituals to help improve your mental and emotional states. For that reason, you will find many different people who have singing bowls even though they aren’t familiar with its history.
When To Use A Singing Bowl
A Tibetan singing bowl is used in a wide variety of ways. How you use your singing bowl is up to you. Here are some of the most common ways that you can use a Tibetan singing bowl:
- To help with meditation, yoga, or other spiritual work
- To aid in teaching
- For fun
- For healing rituals
- As an altarpiece
- In orchestras
- To sooth upset people (babies, children, etc.)
There are a lot of ways that the Tibetan singing bowl can be used. Now that you know more about the Tibetan singing bowl, let’s learn how to play it!
How to Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl
There are a number of different techniques that you can practice when learning to play a Tibetan singing bowl, but we are going to focus on the most commonly used method. This method is known as rimming.
When you use the rimming technique, you are using a padded mallet to create the rich, mellow sound of the bowl by rubbing it along the rim in a very methodical way. When correctly done, rimming sounds something like this:
As you can see, the basis of the rimming process goes something like this:
1. Strike the bowl.
2. Let the sound vibrate.
3. Use the mallet to round out the sound.
4. Allow the sound to vibrate to nothing.
When you strike the bowl, you are creating the base vibration. You will then use the mallet to direct and elongate this vibration. This is how the beautiful soothing sound of a singing bowl is created.
Here is a short video lesson on how to use this technique:
That technique might not make sense at first. Taking time to practice, however, will help the process to make a lot more sense. With some practice, you will learn how to control the sounds created by a Tibetan singing bowl more precisely.
Tips in Using a Tibetan Singing Bowl
Now that you know the basics of using a Tibetan singing bowl, you might want to get some advice from the experts in order to improve the sounds that you can create. Here are some tips that you can follow to explore your new instrument:
- Strike The Bowl
To get used to using the bowl and understanding the types of sounds that the singing bowl can make, you should try simply striking the outside of the bowl with your mallet. Hit the bowl in different areas and with different amounts of force.
Through this exercise, you will learn more about not only the types of sounds that the bowl can create but also how to harness them.
- Use A Cushion
Play with the bowl on your hand or on top of a cushion. If you play with the bowl on a table or on another hard surface, the vibrations of the bowl may cause sounds that conflict with the beautiful sounds of the Tibetan singing bowl.
- Practice Oscillations
One fun thing that you can do with a Tibetan singing bowl after you learn to make it sing is to try to oscillate the sounds. You can do this by simply and carefully tilting the bowl in different directs.
A more popular way to do this is the use your mouth to bounce the vibrations and cause the oscillation. This video demonstrates this technique:
As you can see, the user is not actually making any noise with their mouth. Instead, they are using the cavity created by their mouth to reflect and change the noise so that it creates some different sounds.
The Benefits of Using Tibetan Singing Bowls
While not all of these benefits have been fully proven by science, many users of Tibetan singing bowls have attested to the benefits that they can provide when used regularly.
These are some of the most commonly reported benefits of using Tibetan singing bowls:
- Relieves both stress and anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps release of anger
- Improves blood flow and circulation
- Increases mental clarity
- Provides relaxation
- Promotes happiness
Whether or not these benefits will positively affect your life can only be discovered through some practice of using this instrument!
Now that you’ve learned more about these incredible instruments and how to use a Tibetan singing bowl yourself, all that’s left to do is to practice! If you want to enjoy the beautiful sounds of this instrument or enjoy the effects it may provide for you, then you must practice with and use your singing bowl regularly.
In time, using your Tibetan singing bowl will become a very calming and satisfying experience that you can use to calm yourself down and provide energy to your life when you need it most.