I started playing the didgeridoo in 1992, and so that now makes it a 23-year love relationship that I have had with that amazing instrument as of this year 2015. I will never forget the day that I first played didge because it changed my life forever!
At the time I was a happy-go-lucky hippie just living out of my vehicle, and I was in Santa Fe, NM walking into the downtown plaza. Just then in the distance I heard the beautiful sounds of something, but I was not sure what it was. Then I thought, “Hey, that sounds like the soundtrack from the movie Crocodile Dundee! I wonder what instrument that is.”
As I got closer I saw a woman sitting on the concrete playing a beautifully painted didge into the low wall of the central monument, using it as an acoustic rebound. As I got closer I saw that she had about a dozen gorgeous didges all laid out for sale. I started to talk to her about didges and she was more than happy to explain it all to me, in her thick Aussie accent, including how to start playing.
So I sat down and started flapping my lips like a motorboat, then I tried to get a sound out of it. My first attempt sounded like an elephant trumpeting, which caused all of the onlookers to laugh, so she said, “your lips were too tight, try relaxing them a bit”.
I tried again, but my second try sounded like an elephant farting, which caused even more laughter from the crowd. Then she said, “Your lips were too loose that time, so just hit somewhere in the middle and u should get it”. I took a deep breath and blew in the middle, and sure enough I got a pretty good sound, which caused the crowd to cheer. Then the Aussie girl said, “Wow, that’s amazing! I’ve been playing for years now, and I’ve taught lots of people how to play, but no one has ever gotten it so fast! You are a natural; you must have been an aboriginal in a past life!”
Wow! I was hooked after feeling that initial tone vibrate my head like nothing I had never felt in my life; it was addicting. I said, “How much are they? I’ll buy one right now!” But they were all between $300 and $400, which was way out of my hippie’s budget, so she said, “No worries mate… just go down to the local plumbing store and get an inch and a half pvc pipe about shoulder height, then get bee’s wax and put it on the mouth piece and you’ll be good to go.” So I went directly to do just that, and a few hours later I was trying to play next to her in the park. I was obsessed with my new didge and rehearsed for hours on end, taking deep breaths and blowing till I was dizzy and blue in the face. But how was she doing that circular breathing?
The next day I took out my camp stove and heated up the pvc just to the point where I could bend and twist it a bit, then when I got in into a shape I liked I poured cold water on it to set in place. Cool, now it looked more like a stick than a pipe. Then I tied a rainbow pack strap on it to carry it over my shoulder. Then I went down to the park again but she was not there, but a group of hippies was there sitting on the grass making jewelry, so I asked if I could borrow their tools.
They all loved the sound of the didge, but I said to them, “It doesn’t sound quite right to me, I’m going to cut off an inch and try again, so I did and it still didn’t sound like I wanted it to, so I cut off maybe another half inch or so. But my ears still said no, so I cut off a bit more and then it just felt right, so I stopped. At the time I had done some truly amazing tuning without knowing it, but I would not learn exactly what I had done for another 6 months.
Six months later I was on my hippie circuit rolling back through Santa Fe, so I went to the same park to find people to play with. In that six-month period I had taught myself to really rip hard on my new didge. I would spend entire days rehearsing while I soaked in lots of different hot springs all over the western US. I also taught myself to circular breath in only three days, which is considered extremely rare.
As I sat there on the grass playing my beloved didgeridoo, a Native American guy walked by and stopped. He was dressed in western regalia and covered with beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry. He listened for a while, and then finally said, “Hey, that’s 432 Hz! Do you know what frequency you are playing in?” I said, “ No, I have no idea whatsoever, I just tuned it by intuition.” He replied, “Seriously? You mean don’t have any music-theory training at all? I said, “Well, I took piano lessons in first and second grade, but the teacher and I both agreed that it would be better if I never came back. Then in 4th grade they made us learn some songs on recorder, but I hated it and just wanted to be outside playing sports.” He laughed and said, “Well then, you stumbled by accident upon a major secret of sacred geometry and metaphysics. But I know that there are no accidents, so I’m inviting you over to have dinner with my family.” I wasn’t quite sure I fully trusted this total stranger, so I asked him, “How can you tell that this didge is tuned to 432 Hz?” He replied, “Because I’m a flute maker and I have a perfect pitch ear, and if you doubt it I can prove it to you right now.” And he proceeded to pull a tuner out of his pocket and put in front of my didge. And sure enough, as I began to play, the tuner went right in the ballpark of 432Hz. At that point I got goose bumps all over my body, so I said, “OK, I’m feeling the magic of spirit flowing through me, so let’s go have dinner.”
After dinner with his family, he started explaining “Verdi’s A” to me and showed me in books how sound (music), and sacred geometry all interrelate metaphysically to form the Flower Of Life pattern that is the basis of all manifestations in the Universe. Wow! I could write an entire book about where that led me! But to sum it all up, I ended up buying a beginner’s Native American Love flute from him and I have been on the Path of the Love Flute ever since … and you can read more about that on my Flute page.