The singing bowl is an instrument that has been used for centuries in meditation and prayer. The sound of the bowl can create a deep sense of relaxation, while also providing beautiful background noise to accompany your inner thoughts.
Do you want to know how to play a singing bowl? It’s not as hard as you might think. All you need is the right type of bowl, the correct size mallet, and your hands. You can play the singing bowl by either striking or rimming it. It might take some practice before you get good at it!
How to Play a Singing Bowl
There are two ways to play a Tibetian singing bowl: through striking and rimming.
Method 1: Striking
The traditional way to play a singing bowl is by striking it with a wooden mallet. This is also the easiest way to do it, which makes it great for beginners. Here are the steps to follow:
- Simply place the bowl in the palm of one hand (have this in the non-dominant hand), and the mallet in the palm of the other hand.
- The mallet should be held like a baton.
- Lightly strike the bowl’s mid-exterior wall with the cushioned side of the mallet. A nice, deep tone will be produced by striking the bowl.
- Prior to actually striking the bowl again, it is best you strike it once and allow the vibrations and sound to disperse completely.
Method 2: Rimming
The second method of playing a singing bowl is by rimming, which means to create sounds by rotating the rim in your palm. This way takes longer than striking because you have to rotate the rim for about five minutes with plenty of pressure applied before any sound even begins to emanate from it.
The singing bowl is a beautiful instrument that can be used for meditation, relaxation, and healing. Here’s how to play it via rimming with your palm:
- To begin, sit in a comfortable position on a meditation cushion or meditation mat with your spine straight and take a deep breath. Hold the bowl in your left hand and cup your right hand over the top of the bowl. Gently rub the edge of your right hand around the rim of the bowl or bowl edges to create a ringing sound.
- Now, gently lift your right hand and place it in the middle of the bowl. Use your thumb and first two fingers to tap on the side of the bowl.
- As you continue to tap, move your hand in slow circles around the edge of the bowl. This will produce sounds that resemble water trickling down from a stream. Continue circling until you are ready to play it again.
If you would like to play the singing bowl with water, here’s how:
- Put some water in the beautiful bowl before playing.
- Place your dominant hand over the top of the bowl and hold it in a way that allows you to rotate its rim, which will be on top where there is no water. Now apply steady pressure while rotating.
- After five minutes or so of rotating the bowl rim, you’ll start to hear a sound.
- If there’s too much water in the bowl, it will become difficult to produce any sound. In this case, tilt the bowl so that the water runs out and then try again.
- The key is patience with this method! It takes a little longer but can create some really beautiful sounds.
If you would like to use a mallet for this method, follow these steps:
- Hold the padded mallet in your dominant hand and the bowl in the palm of your non-dominant hand.
- Hold the mallet like you would hold a pen (in the center with your forefinger and thumb), with the cushioned end of the mallet softly lying in the webbing between your forefinger and thumb.
- To warm up the bowl, gently strike the bowl on the mid-exterior wall, then place the mallet vertically close to the rim of the metal bowl and begin rounding the rim in a clockwise motion before the vibrations diminish.
- It’s critical to begin circling the rim immediately when you come into contact with it in order to begin singing. The first sound from striking will be muffled if you rest the mallet against the rim with no movement, and you’ll have a difficult time getting sound from the bowl.
- Circle the rim of the bowl a minimum of five times with a full arm movement until the feminine overtone begins to build. It’s vital to maintain the mallet vertical when circling, akin to stirring a pot.
- Slow down and establish harder contact between the rim and the mallet as the strong tone increases. The overtone will become sweeter and clearer as you go on. It’s crucial to keep applying pressure because the friction between the bowl and the mallet causes vibrations, which cis what creates the singing sound.
Tips for Playing a Tibetan Singing Bowl Even Better
When you play an authentic Tibetan singing bowl, it’s important that the sound from your mallet is clean and crisp. To avoid having dead-sounding strikes when playing a singing bowl, make sure that you are holding the mallet at a 45-degree angle, and also ensure that there’s no obstruction between the wooden mallet and the singing bowl.
It’s important that you do not use oil to clean the bowl. When playing a beautiful singing bowl set, many people believe that using oil on the rim of the bowl will increase its sound quality, but this is actually incorrect.
If you’re playing a Tibetan singing bowl that has been passed down to you from your family, or if it’s an antique or ancient singing bowl, then make sure that you do not use water and soap to clean it. It’s better to just wipe with a soft cloth.
Make sure that you hold it in your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to strike the soft mallet against the bowl. This will help create a clear sound with constant pressure.
Now that you know how to play a singing bowl, give it a try! You can find metal singing bowls in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so experiment until you find one that speaks to you. And once you do, let the bowl sound transport you to a place of peace and bliss for potential benefits.
The best way to learn how to play a Tibetan singing bowl is by practicing. So find a quiet spot, put on some relaxing music, and give it a go! You may not become an expert right away, but with time and patience, you’ll be able to produce beautiful sounds that will soothe your soul.