I have been writing about mindful music making with Musicably.com for quite a while. Throughout this time I have been working and preparing the other side of the business idea – the active music making, or musicking. What I want to do is to have people interested in the idea and courageous to get involved, to grab a musical instrument and start playing themselves.
What I don’t want to happen is that those very brave people get discouraged at the beginning of the process.
If you have bought into the Musicably idea and have been mindful about it, starting something new is always a challenge. Therefore I want to make it as simple for you as possible. I don’t want to frustrate you right from the beginning by having you to play challenging music instruments. Although popular and attractive, managing to play a piano, classical guitar, violin, or saxophone requires a lot of time, effort and patience. But adult learners, for whom Musicably is designed in the first place, rarely have those in excess.
As Musicably wants you to be musicking and reaping benefits of active music making as fast as possible, there are other instruments which are better suitable to start with. They may be simpler to play, but still require practice. They may be lesser known, but still very attractive. And most importantly, they may help your musicianship even better, than those notorious ones.
Here I want to start with one such instrument. It is native to my native country Slovakia, although in the recent years it has gained popularity among players all over the world. In English it is called fuyara but originally in Slovak it is ‘fujara’. It’s a wind instrument, so you have to use your breath and blow into the instrument to make it sound.
Fuyara has been originally made from wood and beautifully decorated using different techniques.
In our modern times you can also find fuyara made from plastic. It doesn’t have all the visual and sound qualities as the original instrument, but is less demanding for maintenance and also less expensive.
The reason why I am proposing you to consider start playing fuyara is, that you can produce beautiful sounds without spending too much time learning and practicing. At least not from the beginning. But I am sure, that once you understand the principle of playing fuyara, you will fall in love with its voice and get ‘hooked’ and naturally will tend to play and practice more.
Another reason for this choice is, that as a wind instrument, you have to use your lungs and breath to ‘power it’. To be able to produce an articulated tone on fuyara, it requires a focus and a good control of breathing. To a certain point this is similar to a mindfulness meditation, where the most basic way is to focus your attention on your breath – the inhale and exhale.
Unlike the meditation, where for a beginner the harder part is to deal with a wandering mind and distracting thoughts, with fuyara you simply deal with music. Music fills your mind. Any distracting thought becomes clearly heard by you playing out of tune, out of rhythm, or both. This is, in a nutshell, what the mindful musicking with Musicably means.
Besides the Slovak folklore music, fuyara with its mystical voice, has been also used in various types of ambient music as well as in the music therapy. It is a great instrument for spiritual enrichment, whether in an individual or a group setting.
So what is fuyara? The original Slovak website Fujara.sk describes it as an overtone deep-bass folk flute of Slovak shepherds. It could be over six feet (up to 2m) long. Preserved over centuries as a simple three holes (fingering vents) flute, fuyara uniquely combines a natural, easy to learn playing technique and a fascinating warm voice. Traditionally, it is made completely by hand from deciduous trees (elder, maple, locust tree). It takes up to one month to build a good fuyara from a seasoned piece of upland wood.
Playing fuyara is simple. Here is the description from the fujara.sk website: Fuyara can be best described as solo overtone flute in bass position. As the fuyara has 3 fingering vents only, the height of tone is decided mainly by the strength of in-blown air. Fuyara can play easily in 7 harmonic / overtone “levels” (all fingering holes closed) purely by overblowing. That also means one can play simple melodies by over-blowing only. Moreover, in combination with simple fingering technique, fuyara flute can play more than 21 various notes in the range of more than 3 octaves. Half shading and subtle breath variations give even more possibilities.
Obviously, if you decide to start playing fuyara, you will need to get an instrument first. There are a few producers in Slovakia and other countries, from whom you could get your own fuyara. The various options include differently tuned instruments, different keys, one piece or collapsible 2- or 3-parts. It could be wooden natural, or with ornamentation carved, acid etched or with copper inlaying. And there is also the plastic PVC collapsible one, which I also use.
You can find more information on the fujara.sk website, or you can google it out. If interested, I would be more than happy to recommend you the right instrument and the source where to buy, and help you to start. Just leave a message below or you can contact me here.
Here you can watch Winne Clement’s tutorial about fujara:
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If instead of the traditional folklore instrument you would prefer to start your musicking with the modern technology, stay tuned! And subscribe to our newsletter. The next time I will introduce you one of the best ways how to make music mindfully on your smartphone or tablet.