Around the world and across time, cultures have honored sound as a powerful force, healing the body and spirit. Perhaps the most prominent historical use of sound was in Buddhism and Hinduism, where metal and stone singing bowls were used to generate a resonant tone.
Today, metal or stone Tibetan singing bowls are used as a form of relaxation, or as a way to generate a healing tone. If you’re curious about playing a singing bowl, there are a few guidelines to follow to avoid mishaps. Here is a guide to playing metal or stone singing bowls for beginners.
Choose a Bowl That Resonates Well With Your Voice
The size of the bowl will determine the pitch and tone of the bowl. The most common size bowl is the 8-10 inch bowl. This size bowl is perfect for beginners because it is easy to hold and it produces a clear sound.
The following are the larger sizes. The 12-14 inch bowl is good for people who want a deeper sound, while the size 16-18 inch bowl is good for people who want a very deep sound. Bells of Bliss offers these sizes, and here is a link you can click for large singing bowls.
When choosing a bowl, it’s important to hold the bowl in your hand and feel its weight. It should be heavy enough, so it won’t tip over when you strike it with the mallet.
Use a Mallet or Hammer to Rub the Rim of the Bowl in a Circular Motion
Begin by rubbing the mallet or hammer around the rim of the bowl in a clockwise direction. Apply pressure as needed to create a resonant sound. The sound should be deep and steady. Continue rubbing the bowl for several minutes.
Then, increase the speed of the rubbing to create a higher pitch. Finally, gently tap the bowl with the mallet to create a vibrational sound.
Start Slowly and Increase the Speed as the Bowl Begins to Vibrate
Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to this process. Start by slowly moving the wooden striker around the edge of the bowl. As the bowl begins to vibrate, you can increase the speed. Every bowl is different, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find the spot that makes the bowl sing.
Once you’ve found it, the bowl will produce a beautiful, calming sound. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get the hang of it. Playing a singing bowl is an art, and like all art, it takes time and practice to perfect.
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Experiment With Different Strokes and Speeds
Start by holding the mallet in your hand and running it around the outside edge of the bowl. Be sure to use a light touch, as too much pressure will mute the sound. Experiment with different strokes and speeds to find what sounds best to you.
You can also try running the mallet around the inside edge of the bowl for a different sound. Again, be sure to use a light touch. Once you find a stroke and speed that you like, you can experiment with different pressure levels to create different sounds.
Play for Relaxation With a Singing Bowl
If you’re looking to get started with a singing bowl, this guide is for you. Follow these tips on how to play one yourself, and find ways to make your unique sounds.
After reading and following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to using singing bowls for relaxation, stress relief, and healing.
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