Today I helped the campus Jewish community in their celebration of Rosh Hashanah. I blew the shofar, a beautiful 3 foot long ram's horn, forty times in three different calls: Tekiah, Shevarim, and Teruah. (My calls do not sound like the recording in the link. That sounds like a one foot horn, and a differnt type of Shevarim than I was taught.) The former rabbi was very loose in running services, so he would have me play one of each call plus the final Tekiah Gedolah. The new rabbi (actually a student rabbi) places more emphasis on formal rituals, so she had me play a whole series of calls, interspersed by three readings. I like the more formal approach, though my lips were getting tired by the end. The shofar has no real mouthpiece, just a hole drilled in the ram's horn with the small end filed smooth. My wife, a very accomplished trumpeter, can't even make a sound on the horn; I have to work very hard to get the right sound myself. The Tekiah Gedolah wasn't as long as I would have liked, but my lips were too tired to keep the sound steady so I had to cut it off. The community was happy, though. For Yom Kippur I will only play the Tekiah Gedolah, so I hope I can get a long, loud sound out for that.
L'Shana Tova, everyone.