Published: 27th April 2020
Jordindian's Vineeth 'Beep' Kumar will teach you to beatbox in five steps
Wanna learn a cool new skill? Beatboxer and comedian Vineeth 'Beep' Kumar introduces you to the art of beatboxing in this tutorial
Beatboxing is something that can one develop as a skill even beyond the quarantine. The easiest way is to begin with the basics of the course and any YouTube tutorial is a good place to start, suggests Vineeth 'Beep' Kumar, the Indian half of Jordindian — an Indian sketch comedy YouTube channel that's popular for hits like Smoke Shisha Play Fifa. He also gives his tips on how you can become a beatboxer during this lockdown:
Check out these steps:
1. Learn the foundation of beatbox by familiarising oneself with the 3 basic sounds — the kick, the hi-hat and snare.
2. Learn to 'percussion-ise' the phrase 'bits-cuts' by saying it repeatedly. It will help you figure out the basic beatbox syllables involved in vocal percussion.
3. Figuring out breathing techniques is crucial. As one learns the basics, it’s equally important to focus on your breath. The inhale and exhale points are key to consistent beatboxing. It’s easy to run out of breath, so find the gaps where you are comfortable to breathe. This helps to maintain beat patterns without breaking them.
4. Breakdown each sound into syllables. Understand how they are constructed to form that one sound. Focus on perfecting each syllable, keep repeating it until it’s sound crisp and close to the original sound.
5. Understand that practice is key. Beatbox is a skill that takes time to develop. Commit it to muscle memory by practising regularly. It’s not a skill that needs special dedicated time. It can be part of your lifestyle, where you practise while showering, on the way to work, while doing chores etc. Just make sure you don’t annoy the person next to you!
Toil and trouble?
Be wary of being a nuisance or spilling into people’s personal space. Half baked beatboxing might not be as enjoyable to people as it is to you. One might need to be thick-skinned as well as the initial stages of beatboxing might invite ridicule and laughter from peers. But the vision of mastering the art should never be forgotten.
Set levels to gauge improvement. Once you have got hold of the basics, venture into different beat patterns. Maybe beatbox along to your favourite song. Choose a harder song the next time, a more complex one following that. The idea is to understand how to maintain consistency and also figure out different sounds that can be used to mimic the music you hear.
While practising, hearing how you sound is important. So recording yourself, any basic recording app on the phone would do. Playback gives you perspective on what needs more work.
Being a beatboxing newbie
Making a living off of beatboxing was definitely not an easy task. I’m not sure if I can call it a challenge as I did get gigs on and off, but it wasn’t easy to establish myself as a professional beatboxer. To look at it as a career option was farfetched. I had to play it smart. It took a minute to figure out that with just beatboxing I was a filler act, but if I coupled it with emcee-ing as well, I was a main part of the show and it paid more. So marketing myself as an Emcee/Beatboxer proved to be a good career move. It paid the bills for a good few years.
But the foremost and biggest challenge for me was the troubleshooting, getting on stage. I wasn’t exposed to being in front of public gatherings, especially for a solo performance. I dreaded it and always had the fear of freezing. It did happen to me a couple of times. I was laughed off the stage and thought I’d never be able to do this, ever! It took me a good year to muster up the courage to get on stage again. The only reason why I was able to get over it was that I got pretty good at beatboxing for family and friends. All the people who ridiculed me at first started to appreciate the talent and kept asking me to perform for them and their friends at any given opportunity. What was once a crowd of 4-5 people was became a good 25-30. All those micro performances gave me the push to get back on stage and the rest is history I suppose.
The gram has the answer
Reeps One, Dharni and Tom Thum are some names that come to mind. Each one significant in their own right. I’ve always loved the old school. Names like Doug-E-Fresh, Kenny Muhammad, Rahzel, later on, Eklips and Roxorloops
Lockdown Diaries. What's Jordindian up to?
So far, so safe! I am trying to maintain composure by convincing myself that this is all part of a bigger plan. What is it? I have no idea! I am trying to keep busy setting small and short term goals to accomplish day by day.
For example, most of my work is content-related. So I try to watch something that I usually put off by saying it’s too long, too tedious or time-consuming. There is still a lot to learn from them and now I have all the time in the world to sit and do it. Finding something productive to do is imperative, whether it be household chores, learning a new skill or planning a blueprint for the post quarantine phase.
The first thing I would do is celebrate by bringing in the 4th year of Jordindian — a company my friend Naser Al Azzeh and I started in May 2016. It will be a much-deserved post- quarantine party to usher in all the new prospects that lie ahead of us.