It is usually said that the earliest forms of beatboxing began as modern hip-hop really took off, on the streets of cities such as New York, Chicago and LA. However, beatboxing actually comes from the art form of vocal percussion and has been part of the urban music scene for longer than people tend to think. It is extremely important that the new school of hip-hop and beatboxing – which began around 1998 to today – understands the history behind it, and how this glorious culture really started.
Vocal percussion and beatboxing is as alive today as it ever was. It is possible for almost anyone to learn how to do it and these are the ways in which you can learn:
1. Start by listening to a beat boxer, see the way their mouth and lips move
2. A bass drum sound can be created by having your lips pressed together and using your tongue and an open jaw. At the same time your tongue needs to be pushed forward and your jaw closed. Part the side of your lips for a moment which will let the air escape and create the bass sound.
3. To make the snare drum sound (similar to the bass drum except this time the air escapes from the front of your lips) while the lips should be a little tighter too.
4. As you practice, try to pronounce “ish” but by not including the “sh” sound. This should almost sound like a grunt coming from your throat, once that is mastered the “sh” can be added again.
5. To mimic the sound of a crash cymbal whisper the word “chish”, clench your teeth and attempt the “ch” and “sh” sounds without making the “I”. Then place your tongue at the base of your teeth, part your lips about half way and try some forceful breathing.
6. For the Hi-Hat sounds, say either “t” or add a little air behind this sound. Your result should be a “ts” sound so extend this onto a “tktktk” sound or “tsss”.
7. The next step is the most important – practice. Look it up on the internet and watch videos to help with the positioning of your mouth and lips.
8. Once you have mastered the basics you must now practice breathing behind the sound.
9. Now you are fully trained start to add the beats together and create different sounds.
- Beatboxing in Tokyo: Meet AFRA (iamprofound.wordpress.com)