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Celebrating 16 Years Of Didgeridoo 

Sixteen years ago this month, a walked into a used CD store in Seattle to find some music to listen to. At the time, I was really into the music of Dead Can Dance, Sheila Chandra and anything with a Middle Eastern beat. This time, I wanted to hear something different so I went to the world music section and looked in Australia. There were three CDs – one by Yothu Yindi (a legendary Aboriginal rock band), some singer songwriter and a CD by David Hudson ( a super cool Aboriginal player) called Rainbow Serpent. The latter looked the most interesting, so I took it to the listening station up in front of the store, plopped the CD into the tray and donned a pair of headphones for the next hour. I hadn’t planned on listening that long but the music from Rainbow Serpent immediately drew me into its vortex and led me on an amazing journey. I had found my CD. 

I also found the fire to learn to play didgeridoo. At the time, I had this bamboo didgeridoo that was the size of a telephone pole but it didn’t matter. I played it anyway and tried my best to emulate the sounds I was hearing on the album. Of course, the sounds didn’t come out the same because A) I was a beginner and B) the didge I was playing was way different that the amazing eucalyptus sticks David was playing. But that didn’t matter either. I kept playing. 

For the next year, Rainbow Serpent was my teacher. There wasn’t much else out there. Youtube was just born with a handful of videos and as far as I knew, I was the only person playing didgeridoo in Seattle. But I kept playing and loving it. 

Little did I know, this was just the beginning of an amazing journey full of travel to places I had never even thought of going, experiences that have been game changers, but most of all meeting extraordinary people. I’ve met men, women, kids, dogs, cats, birds, a snake or two, doctors, lawyers, teachers, admins, tons of artists, tons of hippies, tree huggers, conservatives, liberals, old people, young people, babies, rich folks, poor folks, Earth folks and city people and all of them having a hand in shaping me into the person I am now. And it’s because of didgeridoo. When I play on stage, it’s not me up there playing for people – it’s all of us creating a time together where we dance, sway, smile, laugh, cheer and celebrate the miracle of being happy humans while we’re here. Creating moments that we look back to with warmth and forward to doing again and again. So, I’m celebrating 16 years of evolution as a musician and a human and I’m looking forward to many more years of people, music and time spent together to continue to help foster a planet of happy humans. 

Take care all and stay amazing! 

Pam

Having Trouble Staying Motivated in Your Didgeridoo Practice? Here’s What Helped Me  

One of the top comments I hear in teaching people how to play didgeridoo, is they have hard time staying motivated in their practice because they play by themselves. When I was first learning how to play didgeridoo, I had the same issue – I thought I was the only player in Seattle and so it was a little hard for me to stay motivated. As it turned out, there were a whole bunch of other players in the area who thought the same thing so a didgeridoo circle was formed and every week we would meet and hone our skills simply by playing along with each other. But what if there isn’t a didgeridoo circle in your area? How do you stay motivated in your practice? What worked for me (other than the didge circle) was going to Youtube and seeking out videos and playing along with them. By doing this, I was not only more motivated but my skills developed a lot quicker by trying to follow players that were better than me. . And because videos are visual, I learned how to do many techniques simply by watching the player and then giving it a try. I also learned to develop and hone my own unique sounds and found a sense of timing and rhythm through doing duets with these videos 

It can go without saying that we are social creatures who learn from each other best when we have access to someone with a higher skill level so we can observe how to do something. Now that Youtube has LOADS of didgeridoo videos these days, it’s really easy to find a player that you can resonate with. Some of the players (aside from my own videos) that you may find helpful to play along with are Stephen Kent, Adele Blanchin, Lies Beijerinck, David Hudson, William Barton, Tyler Spencer and Zalem (Rudy Delarbre). There are many other players out there but this can be a start for those of you who are looking for some inspiration and motivation. When you play along with videos, don’t be surprised if your skills improve much more quickly than playing alone and even though it may not come out sounding the same as what you hear, you can develop your own sounds and rhythms that are unique to you.  Also it’s a lot more fun to play along with others than it is to play by yourself to a wall. One last thing is I’ve found that when I just let go of any idea of what I think I’m supposed to sound like and just relax and play along, I end up l playing my best. That alone can be the best motivator. 

I hope you find this simple suggestion helpful in your practice. Let me know in the comments below! Also, I just want to mention that I’m putting together a video course on learning how to play didgeridoo for people who are busy and can’t always schedule a session with me. So far, I’m working on videos for basic skills as well as a circular breathing course but let me know what else you think you would like to learn in the comments below and I can start working on it. 

Many thanks for reading this! Take care all. Stay happy, stay healthy and stay Amazing! 

Pam