Chapter 2 : How to produce sound from the Bansuri.
[ How to produce sound from the Bansuri ]
The first lesson of learning an instrument, is learning the way to hold it properly. Holding the instrument incorrectly may very well result in added difficulty in achieving skills. In terms of learning Bansuri, it is no different. A lot of instruments prove to be rather difficult than the rest, to begin learning with. Fortunately, the Bansuri is comparatively easy to start learning.
Anyone can start learning with any kind of bansuri, however, the player must keep in mind his/her dominant hand (being right or left-handed) before selecting a flute, since there is a slight difference in design for ease of playing. The bansuri will have to be placed towards the left from the lip and vice versa for a regular right – handed individual.
Before practicing to produce sounds from the bansuri, finding a firm place to sit on is very important. There should not be any discomfort in the sitting posture to the spine. A straight and comfortable posture is mandatory to prevent any kind of long term injury to the spine. If all of the above is ready, students are prepared to produce sound from the bansuri. To play, the flute has to be held vertically and the blowing hole of it has to be aligned parallelly to the tip of the nose. This position maybe a bit difficult to achieve to some, but the technique will quickly seem natural with a little bit of persistence.
It is now time to blow on the flute. Perhaps the first picture that comes to mind whenever “blowing” is involved, is the image of candles being blown. The technique for bansuri however, is different entirely. The lower lip has to be slightly stretched and flattened, creating a very thin opening in between the lips. This will ensure a sharper delivery of air with better control of force in the wind that would flow on the blowing hole of the instrument.
Students at this point should try to follow the guideline and blow into their flutes to observe if any sound is produced. The impact location of the air within the inner walls of the bansuri plays a huge role in pitch / frequency. To determine which angle produces the best output of sound, the bansuri can be rolled slight forward or backwards to further fine tune the pitch. This process may seem a bit difficult at first, but its nothing that cannot be fixed with a bit of persistence.
Time for the first “exercise”. Understanding breathing techniques holds utmost importance. The breath needs to be taken from the belly. Full lungs of air is to be breathed in (should make the belly rise) and needs to be let out very slowly for a prolonged sound. The sound from the Bansuri is created from the air traveling to the entire body of the flute from the blowing hole. It is very important that while blowing on the bansuri, the air pressure needs to be just enough for the flute to generate a “warm” tone. Harsh forces will create a sharp unpleasant tone from the instrument.
Bansuri Gurukul has a video tutorial on this topic that are available on its Youtube channel and Facebook page that we welcome you to watch for further learning.