FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is beatboxing?
Beatboxing, according to Wikipedia, is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of mimicking drum machines using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, and voice.
Beatboxing isn’t merely copying drums though — you can integrate melodies, even harmonies, using sounds like the siren, trumpet, whistles, and different kinds of bass. Over the last twenty years, beatboxing has evolved into an instrument, a genre, a lifestyle all of its own.
Is it an imitation, or an instrument, or an experiment? Is it people saying boots-and-cats and spitting? It’s all of those, and more. At its core, beatboxing is music; and anything beyond that is dictated by the individual artist making the music.
2. Does one need talent in order to learn how to beatbox?
Well, the simple answer to that would be…no.
Beatboxing is not too different, compared to any other skill. If you learn the basic ‘boots and cats’, a few basic sounds and concepts and practice with a certain determination, you’re bound to get good at it; maybe even good enough to consider taking it to a professional level.
So, if you get the basic skills down and can play around with them; congratulations, you’re a beatboxer. How you can continually polish these skills is by practicing, jamming with other musicians, going for battles and becoming a part of the local beatbox community.
3. How much time does it take to get good at beatboxing?
Everyone’s growth curve is different, and music is extremely subjective; so it’s tricky to put a number on ‘good’.
Some beatboxers have been beatboxing for ten years and still aren’t happy with their skill levels; others are world champions with five years of practice. Some practice ten hours a day for a year, some practice an hour a day for ten years. With beatboxing, you will get out what you put into it – with daily practice, you can beatbox like a pro within months. But without dedication, you can get stuck on the basics for years.
In short, it depends on the person. But just because you take longer to ‘get good’ than the next person, doesn’t make you any less of a beatboxer.
4. Does beatboxing harm the throat?
Not as much as you’d think, but sometimes more than you’d expect.
Beatboxing uses different parts of the mouth, and different levels of air pressure and strain for each sound. Simple beats might make your cheeks sore, but overdoing it will not cause damage. On the other hand, some sounds like the throat bass, chest bass and inward bass can cause damage if done incorrectly for long periods.
Just like singing, if you can build good habits around practice (like warming up and drinking plenty of water), and take progress one day at a time, you should have no trouble. The sounds themselves are not harmful, but an excessive use of bad technique can cost you in the long run.
5. Beatboxing is only used to accompany rapping, right?
It definitely started off that way; in fact, it’s considered one of the pillars of hip-hop. But things have changed a lot since the 80s, when beatboxers were largely imitating “beatboxes” (or drum machines).
Now, beatboxers can bring a jazzy influence (like Tom Thum) or can bring a Middle Eastern influence (like MB14) or a completely alien influence (like Reeps One). Styles differ across regions, musical tastes and even something as simple as braces and milk teeth. Beatboxing can be used to accompany practically any musical instrument, but it’s also a style of music in its own right.
6. How do I find my community?
If you’re in or around India, you’re sorted! We’ve got a Community page on the Beatbox India website, and you can find your community there. In 2020, since we can’t have live battles, most of the community is active on Instagram (for shoutouts, routines, creative content and casual interactions) and Discord (for battles). Shoot us an email, and we can help you find your crew.
There are plenty of international organizations such as Humanbeatbox, Swissbeatbox, and Beatbox International; and their websites and YouTube channels will be able to help you out as well. Once you start searching on Google and YouTube, the number of beatbox communities is endless.
Though we started forming communities based on countries and regions (to better organize live events and battles), that’s not a strict rule followed by anyone. We are family, and your community isn’t just your geography. At least in India, you’re more than welcome to hop onto any Discord or Instagram page, especially the BBX India channels. Everyone is welcome; provided you don’t bully, harass or discriminate against your fellow beatboxers. We don’t take lightly to that.
7. Idhar beatboxing ka scope kya hai?
As with all smaller subcultures, scope is what you make of it. In India, it’s difficult to turn beatboxing into a high-paying, full time profession just yet. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A lot of beatboxers in other countries have managed to make this their career, but that comes with intense dedication and practice. Beatbox India is dedicated to creating an environment where mouthmusic can thrive, and beatboxing is only going to grow from here. With the success of Gully Boy and the hip-hop scene in general, we’re confident it’s only a matter of time before somebody really, really takes off here.