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How to Blow a Shofar

Master the art of coaxing music from a shofar, or ram's horn, an instrument played on certain Jewish holy days.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Wet your lips and blow Moisten your lips and position the mouthpiece at the right corner of your lips. With your lips tightly pursed, vibrate them in the same way you would to blow a raspberry.
  • TIP: If no sound comes out, practice with your lips against the palm of your hand, or try holding the shofar against a different part of your lips.
  • Step 2: Learn the four sounds Learn the four distinct sounds made with the shofar at various points in Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
  • TIP: There are many variations of each of the four sounds.
  • Step 3: Blow a tekiah Practice how to blow a tekiah, a three-second sustained blast that ends abruptly on a high note.
  • Step 4: Blow a shevarim Now learn the shevarim, three one-second notes that rise in tone that each end on a higher note.
  • Step 5: Blow a teruah Train yourself to blow 13 short, staccato sounds that resemble an alarm, known as a teruah.
  • Step 6: End with tekiah gdolah Learn how to do the tekiah gdolah, a final blast that lasts at least 10 seconds.
  • FACT: Used in biblical times to proclaim the anointing of a new king, the shofar is now played on certain holy days to symbolize the prophet Hosea's call to "blow the shofar in Zion" and return to God.

You Will Need

  • A shofar
  • Practice

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