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How to Play Ocarina - Getting Started (Part 1 of 14)

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in this video we're gonna discuss

everything you need to know to start

playing your 12 hole ocarina so stick


what's up Bach amigos my name is David

and this is the first video in a 12

lesson series titled how to play ocarina

this video series works right alongside

of my new book of the same name how to

play ocarina which is available at David

area for almost calm slash tour it's

available in physical and digital format

and in addition to everything we're

gonna be discussing in these videos it

also has some fingering charts some

scales exercises special arrangements to

play with your friends so if you like to

grab your own copy head on over to the

link in the description down below or if

you just want to stick to these video

lessons be sure to subscribe and hit the

bell to know whenever I post a new video

for this series now let's go ahead and

dive into the most important part of

playing the ocarina which is the

instrument itself probably the number

one question I get asked is which

ocarina is best to start with and while

I do have a couple recommendations there

is one in particular that I usually

recommend any students to stay away from

in the last couple years there have been

a flood of these new zelda ocarinas that

are really cheap they're not very

expensive but they are very poor quality

and these are all over the internet all

over Amazon been good you see ads on

Facebook they look like these to you

these are from two different companies

but they are the exact same model so the

main problem that I found with these of

the multiple ones I've tried over the

last couple years is that they're just

poorly tuned they look ok they have

these decals of the Triforce on the win

way which is cool but definitely the

biggest criticism I've heard is just

they're not tuning very well although

sometimes some people get lucky so I'm

not saying this to discourage you if you

do have one you might have one that

sounds ok but I do recommend that you

check it with a tuner or with someone

who has a lot of music experience to

make sure that it's in tune and even if

it's not in tune you can still use these

especially for these video lessons but I

just want you to keep that in mind that

if it's out of tune it's not your fault

it's the instrument itself so somewhere

down the line if you find out that

something doesn't sound quite right it

could be the instrument now on so the

ocarina is I do recommend I have three

plastic arenas that I really really like

the tones are great the they're very

durable and they are very affordable so

let's get started with the first one the

knight by noble is often the highest

recommended starter or plastic ocarina

I've seen on the Internet it's

definitely one of my favorites and the

tone is excellent it feels really good

in the hand I like the texture of the

ocarina itself it feels like it's you

can get a good grip on it it's not gonna

slip if your hands get sweaty for any

reason I like that it has this part

where you can slip a string through or

some sort of necklace it's not too heavy

and yeah the tone hands down is the best

of the three I'm going to show you today

it also just looks cool it's really

sleek and this was for about $30 on the

Internet what's even cooler is that this

plastic ocarina rivals many of my

ceramic ocarinas in my collections in

terms of how it plays and how it sounds

so this is definitely a great Buy

however if you are leaning towards a

zelda ocarina this is probably one of

the best ones I've tried this is the stl

plastic zelda ocarina and they also have

these student models of this that come

in different colors and without the


but this is definitely the one that's

the most popular and that I've seen it

also has a place that you can put a

little necklace or neck strap through

which is cool it's not too heavy the

tone is actually very good and it's

about twenty-five dollars so that's a

good buy and then finally the most

distributed ocarina I've seen is the

focal link spine plastic 1200 Carina

this is actually their newer model the

ozawa but they do have an older version

as well that I usually recommend these

are widely available throughout Europe

America and Asia so this is definitely

probably the most accessible for a lot

of you the tone is very good it comes in

a variety of different colors in case

you want to have a very special custom

one for yourself once again it also has

a place where you can have a string or a

necklace through and it also runs about

$25 now let's talk about the different

parts of the ocarina first of all you

have the mouthpiece this is where you

blow to produce the tone it goes down

into the wind way which makes your air

flow into the body or the chamber of the

yoginam we change the pitches by

covering and uncovering the tone holes

which you have 10 on top and 2 on the

bottom more specifically these are sub

holes these two smallest ones and then

on the back you have two thumb holes on

the back here we also have the voicing

and this is where the sound is produced

so you never want to cover that one

under unless you have special

circumstances which you might talk about

in the future the largest part of the

ocarina on this side is known as the

Capello and this part is known as the

tail or the tip and lastly again this is

the front of the ocarina or the top and

this is the bottom or the back now let's

talk about some ocarina playing


technique first of all good posture is

extremely important especially for

breathing so you want to make sure that

you're sitting up nice and tall

preferably standing and not sitting

shoulders back spine nice and upright

feet flat on the floor and the less

tension you feel on your body the better

that you're going to play once we make

sure we have good posture we want to

focus on the breathing when you're

playing the ocarina you want to inhale

and exhale through the mouth

it really helps to get in as much air as

possible especially when you're playing

through certain passages of music so

again you're gonna inhale and exhale

through your mouth

you want to try breathing from your

diaphragm and not your chest I know this

is kind of a weird concept but you're

actually have a muscle here that helps

to regulate your breathing known as your

diaphragm so if you look at my kind of

belly area here you're gonna see it

expand every time I take a breath and

the other thing to note is that my chest

and shoulders are not rising they're

same stable so this takes a little bit

of practice you can stand in a mirror

you can make sure that you are breathing

from down here you can also put your

hand here to try to make it rise and

that's really going to help you in

having that proper breathing and then

finally blowing into the ocarina also

takes a special technique where you're

basically going to be making the shape

of the word to-to-to-to and you can also

practice this by filling the air going

to the palm of your hand it should feel

like a jet stream pointing into your

hand now let's talk about finger

placement I switch to arena so it's a

little bit easier to see but you want to

make sure that you have one hole on

every single finger on top except those

two sub holes those are gonna stay open

and then also cover the thumb holes and

you want to seal them completely because

if you don't fully cover every hole air

can escape and that's gonna change your

pitch there should be a slight arch in

your fingertips you don't want it to be

too round it like this or too flat

that's gonna make it a little bit harder

to place so slight arch and there should

be very little pressure you don't want

to be squeezing super tight because

you're gonna end up hurting the tips of

your fingers and you might see like

these little circles and that's also

going to make it hard to play faster

passages in music so just lightly cover

each tone hole seal in them as best as

you can and the starting position is

going to be this all holes covered

except those two sub holes and this is

to be our first pitch see and now on to

mouth placement one of my favorite

things about the ocarina is that it

doesn't require any specific shape like

an embouchure for brass instruments so

all you're going to do is lightly press

it to your lips no hard pressure and as

we're getting started here we want to

try to keep it parallel to the ground so

not like this not like this but more

like this

and again let's just try saying two two

two two like that this concludes our

intro to the basics of playing the

ocarina in the next lesson we're going

to discuss a little bit of music theory

and how you can use that to start

playing the first couple notes of your

ocarina once again all this is available

in my new book how to play ocarina which

is available at David Eric Ramos commes

slash store or if you're interested in

taking one-on-one lessons you can also

go to David Aramis comm slash about to

learn a little bit more about my skype

or in-person lessons if you enjoyed the

video please be sure to give it a like

leave a comment down below to let me

know what you're most excited about with

playing your ocarina and until the next

lesson I hope you guys have an amazing

week I'll see you then