How To Play
One of the beautiful things about ocarinas is their simplicity. Having only 4 holes, and using different finger combinations, you are able to play a full scale or octave. Once you memorize this, it will be easy to learn thousands of melodies by ear.
Let’s Get Started!
To play your first and lowest note (C), cover all four holes on the top of the instrument with your index and middle fingers of both hands. Make sure your thumb on either hand doesn’t cover the fipple. (hole on the bottom) Your fingers should be flat across the holes of the instrument. Imagine holding the ocarina like you would a sandwich.
Now hold the instrument up to your mouth and blow directly into the mouthpiece. Try blowing with different amounts of pressure to find how much is needed to make the ocarina sound best.
Once you have a clear sound, try playing your next note (D). Notice on the diagram that the upper right hole is now clear? This represents lifting your middle finger on the right hand. Now blow again into the instrument and listen. Try to make your clearest possible sound.
Now for the next note (E), you must put back down your middle finger on the right hand and lift your index finger on the same hand.
- Tip – To make the correct pitch, your fingers must cover the holes completely unless noted otherwise. Since you cannot see yourself playing, you must feel the complete circle with the pads of your fingers.
Now try and memorize the first three notes that you have learned. Put the book down and play all three notes up and down the scale until you can play them smoothly and clearly.
Continue memorizing the notes of the scale. After each new note, put the book down and practice the scale up and down until memorized.
- Try your best to memorize the scales and only look at the book when necessary.
- Memorize scales both forward and backward.
- Then in 3rds (CDE, DEF, EFG, FGA, etc…)
- Listen to each note carefully as you play. Learn to blow with just enough pressure to get a clear tone.
- As you move higher up the scale you’ll need to blow increasingly harder to keep a clear tone and the correct pitch.
- Holding the instrument up high allows you to have the best breath control. Always try to look straight out towards the horizon and as little as possible down at the book.