Shofars have been part of Jewish religion and culture since the ancient times. The horn of shofar is the most recognizable symbol of sacred rituals and important events in Jewish life. Among all the types of shofar, it is the ram shofar horn that is the most dominant type as it symbolizes the great sacrifice of Abraham because of his unwavering faith in God. Shofar blowing is used to make different types of distinct shofar sounds which are commonly heard during religious events like the Rosh Hashana and the Yom Kippur. For one to get the most appropriate sounds from the horn, it is essential that one uses the right piece with the requisite skill needed to produce the right notes and sounds.
Only a few can truly achieve the ultimate performance of producing the perfect sounds and notes from shofars, be it from the horn of a ram or any other horned animal. This one interesting footnote about the horn is even documented in the Talmud where the blowing of the shofarot is considered a skill and not just a result of hard work. In order to perfect the use of the shofarot, one has to dedicate sufficient time and effort to practice and hone the skills in playing with the shofarot. To become an accomplished ba’al tekiah, one has to select the perfect shofarot that will produce best results. One should not limit one’s choice based on the appearance and size. Before one can even make a short list of choice shofars, he should first learn how to play with the shofarot to ascertain the experience one gets in playing the shofarot.
As differentiated from the other traditional instruments, the shofars uses a mouthpiece that enhances the sound and notes that can be produced while playing. Developing your skill in blowing the shofarot requires that you are adept at using your lips and tongue to alter the notes and tunes produced when blowing the shofarot. It is better for you to use two fingers to handle the shofars. The tighter you are able to press your lips to the mouthpiece, the higher the notes that you are able to produce. Make sure that you don’t get your saliva into the shofarot as this will create a broken and croaky sound.
The best way to start playing with the shofarot is by moisturizing the lips at the right portion of the farthest corner of the mouth while firmly holding the shofarot before blowing. Before blowing the shofarot, make sure that your lips are firmly pressed to the mouthpiece and when you think that you are set to play, blow air through the instrument. The sound produced must firm and powerful. For sound endurance, draw air straight from your chest and release the air in a regulated manner.
Once you are able to comfortably produce varied sounds and notes with your shofarot, then you are all set to learn all three sounds required in Rosh Hashanah. These sounds are the tekiah, shevarim and the teruah.