Picture of How to Sound a Shofar
A shofar is the horn of an animal, used as a musical instrument for Jewish religious ceremonies. It's mostly used during the Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, although it used to be used more often during biblical times. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the "High Holidays" or the "High Holy Days". Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur is "The Day of Atonement."

A shofar can be made from the horn of any animal other than a bull, the most common animals are the Ram and the Kudu Antelope.

The difference between a ram's horn and an antelope's horn lies in the size and shape. A ram's horn is short, about a foot long and contains a single bend. Kudu horns can be almost four feet long and spiral. I personally prefer the deeper sound of a kudu, but also have found ram's horns to be easier to use.

Fun Fact: It's a mitzvah to hear the shofar blown, but not to blow it.

(A mitzvah is a commandment - so to follow a commandment is to perform a mitzvah. There are 613 mitzvahs in the Torah.)

Step 1: Make Some Noise

Picture of Make Some Noise
Shofars are blown much like trumpets..anyone who plays a similar instrument has a starting advantage. A short shofar is also easier to sound than a long one and uses less air.

You'll want a tight upper lip, and looser lower lip, then when you blow out, your lips will vibrate. Put the mouthpiece against your lips (not inside your mouth) and try to force air through as small a hole in your lips as possible. I put the shofar in the corner of my mouth, others use the center..it's up to you. I also use my fingers and wear ChapStick to help create a good seal.

The goal isn't to force as much air out as possible, so don't tire yourself trying to make a sound. It just takes practice.

c.nel.131 year ago

Hi there, I have a shofar with the mouth piece(or hole) on the side. can you maybe assist with that, it is very difficult to sound. help would appreciated. thx

bbs1233 years ago
i do not know how to do this
ilpug bbs1233 years ago
that is why it tells you!
Heeeey i recognise the place in the bottom picture !!!! =D=D=D=D

i've been there this summer, its in the old city near the damascus gate isn't it =D
 this is very interesting, as I am a musician, I enjoy collecting, and playing strange, obscure and ethnic instruments. I am just wondering, is there any  taboo about when not to play it or for what reason?
frikkie5 years ago
I have listened to a vuvezela and to a shofar and I must say the vuvezela sounds nothing like a shofar.
frikkie5 years ago
Thanks for the yips.I brought a shofar made from kudu horn.I love the sound it makes.Im still practesing of course. :)
Tzite5 years ago
WOW! Nice tekia gedolah. Most I've personally seen is 46 seconds. The sancutary was dead silent. when they finished their face was bright red and everyone was stunned. Great job and nice instructable
Hey, that's great. I have a small shofar and I taught myself using the front of my mouth but I must try the side of my mouth. Thanks for a great Instructable
mazejack5 years ago
glad to know when its used and really great to hear it. thx,jack
Kiteman5 years ago
You'll want a tight upper lip, and looser lower lip, then when you blow out, your lips will vibrate.

To a brass player, that's an embrasure (which means "small opening").

According to Roger-X, who occasionally plays the trombone.
Yea, Trombone! I play the trombone too. There should be more trombone instructables.
-1 for spelling

embouchure - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embouchure
Haha, like I said; "According to Roger-X". I don't think either of us have ever seen it written down.
mgroodt5 years ago
I have heard that the shofar is blown before the reading of the Torah? I want to let my Sunday School kids blow the vuvuzela in the same way. Here is a clip of the vuvuzela blown in the more 'traditional' way.
sgsax5 years ago
Very nice. I always get shevarim and teruah mixed up. I'm a front-of-mouth blower, and I don't even play trumpet. :)
evilkidjr5 years ago
it cant only not be a bulls horn, its anything thats considered a keren, of which any animal whos horn grows from the bottom not the top's horn is considered
Weissensteinburg (author)  evilkidjr5 years ago
What are some other animals that don't qualify?
You cannot make a shofar from the horn of an animal that is not kosher.


For some examples of kosher horns.
well anything that isnt hollow, a rhino for example
iectyx3c5 years ago
Your practical tips and clear writing and video are fantastic. I especially like the chapstick idea. Also using your hand to help seal the connection to your mouth. But most useful is when you say not to try to expel lots of air, but to take it easy -- this makes sense, it must be that the shofar resonates and amplifies the sound.
As a matter of interest: what it happens when you sound an instrument like this is that the sound waves you produce are made increasingly longer by the horn flaring out from the hole where you blow. : )
Nicely done, sir! Very well explained. I learned something new today. :D
Great 'able, W, and l'shana tovah to ya!

One Rosh Hashanah when I was working as a Reform temple organist, the religious school had a "shofar choir." Envision, if you will, forty youngsters of various ages, with forty different types of shofars, with forty different embouchures and skill levels, playing the calls at the same time. The resulting yet orderly cacophony was one of the most wonderful sounds I have heard until then, or since.

Thanks for the instructable, and for bringing that great memory flooding back.
bumpus5 years ago
Very well done 'Burg. :D
imrobot5 years ago
shana tova! and have an easy fast on yom kippur
Persona5 years ago
This is great! I got a shofar last year, but have only been able to play one long, loud note. I think this will help.