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#26 2007-07-26 10:27:41

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

chikuzen - Thank you for all that you add to this discussion!  Your even-mindedness is much appreciated.  The big Chikuzen Shakuhachi Series honkyoku sheet music book is basically all I have with traditional notation to work with, and I hold it in extremely high esteem.  Do you ever make it down to Florida?

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#27 2007-07-26 11:49:26

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 402
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Harada-san,
   Thank you for the kind words. I do make it down to Florida now and then, especially with the cheap Spirit Air flights available. My mother lives on the east coast in Palm Bay and my brother in Melbourne. I also have a good friend in Tampa. I'll send you his name and address if you want. He loves shakuhachi and although formal practice was never his thing, he blows everyday. He's a successful businessman with a big heart and shakuhachi is his on demand manufactured wormhole to a sane world.  His name is Jeff Davis. I don't have his info on my cuff but can send it later via personal email to you if you like.

Chikuzen


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#28 2007-07-26 14:20:33

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Chikuzen Sensei - Wow.  This is awesome.  I live in Melbourne too, and I play my Tai Hei 2.4 at an ashram down in Palm Bay occasionally and also have friends down around there.  If it's at all convenient for you to meet for a lesson sometime when you visit, that would be great!

Ha ha!  Everybody on here is now saying, "Whoa, Harazda's gonna hook up with Michael Chikusen Gould right there in his hometown?  What a strange twist of fate!"  Well, it would be marvelous if it could happen!  It's in your hands, Sensei; to work with you would be an honor.

Chris Harazda

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#29 2007-07-26 18:06:47

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

philipgelb wrote:

Someone else said it is all about practice. I used to think that way. Then i noticed in my own playing and with some of my students that practicing alot, incorrectly does not lead one to become a better player. Actually it makes them really good at playing badly. And this is where an accoplished teacher comes in very handy.

phil

I know I mentioned the importance of practice, I didn't say it's all about practice, but I guess I implied that it was 99.9% practice. As far as correct fingerings and interpretations of pieces, maybe you could chop a good percentage off of that, but as far as producing a beautiful tone, it still stands. I'm sure that even the most naive student can tell if he dropped the sound or it didn't come out as he intended. The flute itself is a very good feedback device in this respect and doesn't really require a teacher. Posture and breathing are a different story too, some teaching is good idea but could be covered in a couple lessons, with maybe some "tune-up" lessons down the road. And to be realistic about a teacher helping to avoid bad, unproductive practice, I hope there are no teachers out there suggesting never to practice without the teacher present. There probably aren't any, but that leaves the 10-20 hours away from the teacher for an hour weekly lesson (and that 10-20 hours is my guestimate of what it would take in practice time to become reasonably proficient, although probably more than most students will be able to put in). So how do you assure that your student is practicing correctly? I sure hope you shakuhachi teachers are teaching your students how to practice. For most lessons I've taken in anything (flute, voice, sax, dancing) there is way too little emphasis on how to practice and those who come back to the lesson having learned are labeled the "talented" individuals while the others, well, are given an A for effort. Out of those "untalented" students, I have nothing to say for those that didn't put in the practice, but for those who did, too bad they don't realize that it's probably not a lack of talent that's the problem, but a lack of practice skills. Of course, natural talent does come into play, but generally not to the point that you can't hang with advanced students at some point.

Last edited by radi0gnome (2007-07-26 18:07:25)


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#30 2007-07-26 21:31:07

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 402
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Chris,
    How funny! But yes, what a twist of fate. I'll enjoy meeting you, as I would anyone from the forum at least so they become completely real to me. I just think internet is such an effective illusion sometimes. I've spent a lot of time down there-Melbourne- in the past. Actually a couple months at a time when I first returned from Japan. I'll probably be down there sometime this fall, I hope. I'm sure we can hook up. Funny stuff! Sorry I misspelled your name before. You can call me Michelle a couple times.

Last edited by chikuzen (2007-07-26 21:32:44)


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#31 2007-07-26 22:03:20

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

This is an interesting topic, and some good comments by Radiognome and others about productive practice and how much of the time people may not have a teacher there to check posture or playing.  Many people learning shakuhachi outside of Japan may not have regular access to teachers and some may be trying to learn traditional music almost entirely on their own with the help of videos, recordings, music and information gathered from Internet ; there's such a growing pool of information these days.  As Radiognome stated, a couple of lessons could give one a lot to work with, and some good tips on practice could help in keeping up effective practice to some extent.  I'm interested in gathering information on this topic of how people outside of Japan are learning traditional music -- on their own, occasional workshops, long distance lessons etc. so if you have a chance please look at the questions I've just posted in the Pieces section of this forum.  I just went back and read the earlier posts on this thread by Chikuzen and Zacharius; quite insightful...yes the milieu in which one lives and breathes in one's daily life and its effect, and yes the illusions the Internet and all this information we have access too can spin...

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2007-07-26 22:31:17)

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#32 2007-07-27 07:34:49

Alex
Member
From: Barcelona - Spain
Registered: 2005-10-17
Posts: 138

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Hey guys, thanks for that (both Zakarious for asking and Chizuken for answering!), it's really helpful

Salud!


"An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he's "at" somewhere. You always have to realise that you are constantly in the state of becoming. And as long as you can stay in that realm, you'll sort of be all right"
Bob Dylan

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#33 2007-07-30 09:23:40

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

chikuzen wrote:

Hearing shamisen and voice, hearing biwa and voice, Noh Theatre with voice and shamisen, Shigin:poetry written and sung (bellowed) into the mtns., Hauta, the shamisen and songs sung by geisha and maiko, not to mention the use of space and time in all the arts. Experiencing these things helps one develope the INTUITIVE sense you need to play shakuhachi. I don't think it's just weather you need to take lessons with a teacher or not. I used Yokoyama sensei as one extreme example but he used to talk about what he had to do to develope an INTUITVE SENSE to play. He went to many calligraphy exhibits for one thing. To study the "line" of the calligraphy, the expression of it through thick and thin brushes, how the form was effected by the content and vice versa.

I think this is a REALLY important point. We tend to listen to practitioners of our own specific craft with "technical ears" (and unfortunately sometimes "career ears"),  but exploring other arts and the whole cultural context can really open us up in terms of our approach. I have always thought of honkyoku as sonic calligraphy: when you memorize a piece, it is like knowing the kanji -- then when you play it, you are letting art, or spirit, flow freely through you like a calligrapher. Honkyoku is definitely "hear the brushstrokes" music, based on process rather than result. (That's why I like playing sankyoku and other music as well, "results" music. Get pretty secure with the results stuff and you feel that much more free when doing the process stuff -- you are coming at it from a place of some technical assurance.) When I'm feeling stuck in my playing I don't work on shakuhachi technique but instead look at Hakuin's calligraphy. Sometimes I do that before a performance, as well, for inspiration. A great honkyoku performance, I think, would sound like Hakuin's calligraphy looks. I have also learned a lot about shakuhachi practice from other Japanese visual arts, from martial arts, poetry, and Noh. Reading the great Noh theorist Zeami is like getting an entire education in Japanese aesthetics.

So I think one of the great values in having a teacher is absorbing this context to some degree. Of course a newbie American teacher like me who has not been steeped for years in Japanese culture cannot possibly give you that. But any teacher can at least point you in some useful directions that you might not have discovered. And if you're curious and inquisitive you also can also pick up some of these correspondences between the arts on your own.

Last edited by nyokai (2007-07-30 09:49:10)

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#34 2007-09-24 13:41:57

david
Member
Registered: 2006-07-25
Posts: 71

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

First, I must say that I LOVE reading 'Horst Xenmeister's' posts! It's like German Koans'!
Horst, I am also in germany! where do you live?

Second, Chris have you written any books on hocchiku? You need to! let me know!

Third, I have been playing jinashi 'hocchiku' for a little over a year! i don't know any songs! I have never had a teacher! I have never seen anybody ever play a shakuhachi! i have no idea if I am doing anything wrong or right! Every now and then, I figure out how to do something on my own! This weekend i figured out how to do the Chewbaca growl!! i was very pleased! i think I am pretty good!

I know i would be progressing alot faster with a teacher, but then.... who knows!

I do have several cd's i listen to...alot of Watazumi!

david


david
'Listen to the words of no man; listen only to the sounds of the wind and the waves of the sea.,~Claude Debussy

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#35 2007-10-21 04:44:55

Frankenflute
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 23

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

I don't really see a need to create a duality between the "self grown" and "teacher moulded" paths here. The Shakuhachi is a musical instrument, not a marriage certificate, and you find what you want from the beautiful thing.
However, if you do want to play Honkyoku, then I am sure that it is best to learn from someone who knows, otherwise you are doing the equivalent of approximating Mozart with an African Drum in the Ituri forest.....
I am very grateful for all my teacher showed me, and I'm now working on it all on my own, because he showed me so much stuff  it's taking years to catch up, but one day soon I think I will go to a learned person and find out what I need to grow.

I personally do a lot of improvisation, probably more than Honkyoku, and find it very fulfilling, and my listeners agree.

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#36 2007-10-22 17:02:50

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Frankenflute wrote:

I don't really see a need to create a duality between the "self grown" and "teacher moulded" paths here. The Shakuhachi is a musical instrument, not a marriage certificate, and you find what you want from the beautiful thing.

There is certainly nothing wrong with this approach. However, traditionally the Japanese arts are as much about transmission as they are about results. Entering into a traditional student relationship with the tradition is a very fulfilling and enriching experience that I highly recommend. There may be more significant things to learn from this relationship than from the technicalities of the music-making.

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#37 2007-10-22 18:34:27

Frankenflute
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 23

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Hi Nyokai

I can see what you are saying, that the student-teacher relationship and the event of transmission are the main focus of Japanese tradition. But just as much a part of Japanese Buddhist tradition is the "Wanderer", those Komuso who travelled from place to place and probably spent most of their time practicing alone or unnoticed. I don't know enough about Komuso to be able to say how long they spent with a teacher before being allowed to "wander", but from my understanding of Buddhism personal experience gathered in solitude is a valid practice.
My teacher was a Japanese man who lives in Australia, I was very Lucky to have him, but after a while I really felt the need to go off and develop what he taught me with no weekly time restrictions, I guess I'm just plain slow! When I next feel brave enough to approach a teacher, I may just do as you say and take a plane to Japan.

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#38 2007-10-22 18:41:00

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Frankenflute wrote:

My teacher was a Japanese man who lives in Australia

Are you referring to a shakuhachi teacher? Who is he? I'm curious of course because I live in Australia.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#39 2007-10-22 21:17:50

Frankenflute
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 23

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Hi Tairaku

My teacher was a man called shigeru nakajima, a master of the Kinko school. A hard man, but very thorough. Strangely enough he turned up in the same suburb as me! How's that for lucky! I don't have his current contact details I'm sorry, but if you know Stuart Ransome, he knows him, and would probably know if he is still in Australia at the moment.Hope you can find communion with him if you meet.

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#40 2007-10-22 21:55:38

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Frankenflute wrote:

Hi Tairaku

My teacher was a man called shigeru nakajima, a master of the Kinko school. A hard man, but very thorough. Strangely enough he turned up in the same suburb as me! How's that for lucky! I don't have his current contact details I'm sorry, but if you know Stuart Ransome, he knows him, and would probably know if he is still in Australia at the moment.Hope you can find communion with him if you meet.

Thanks, I know Shigeru, he came down to Tasmania to see one of my gigs. We had a good time.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#41 2008-09-07 03:13:15

Jason Castner
Member
From: binghamton, ny
Registered: 2007-12-19
Posts: 80

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

how did u learn to ride a bike or swim?  oh, maybe you cant do either?  IF you can do both, do you swim like me or ride like me?  Would we look the same riding bikes or swimming next to eachother except for the differences in our bikes and swim suits?  can you swim faster and longer than me because you took lessons and I didnt?  How many ways can you swim - doggie paddle is where I started.  Anyways - lets see who can fill the air with beautiful sound and I hope yours doesnt sound like mine even if we play in the same key.  Maybe our differences will compliment eachother?  or create chaos - either way out of chaos comes order and vice versa - So I imagine we could make beautiful music no matter how many bad skills Ive developed from not having a teacher.  Tell me I suck and then try to charge me and arm and a leg to learn from you  if you want, but really it just feeds your pocket and ego perhaps.  Also you may need to get to the hospital as I will gladly smack the bamboo root end shakuhachi I just made on your head for thinking your way is the best way.  All are ways are great and I love us all.  I love my terrible sound and I love your marvelous sound.  Too bad you cant see my sound as marvelous.  thats whats wrong with the world.
Dont mind my ranting...I go to college days full time, remodel bathrooms and landscape under the table, and work overnights as night security.  I sleep little these days and play flute alot.  Lately playing the flute is a form of sleep for me.

Once I made a flute that sounded perfect no matter how or what I played.  I cried alot of times when I played it because it evoked a powerful feeling throughout me.....It was made from japanese knot weed that grows near my house.  I left it on a chair on the porch and went in for a drink - my friend sat on it on accident and crushed it.  I cried again inside for I missed it terribly...I havent made a flute that is like that one yet - close but not quite.

My advice for people is not to be so strongly attached to your own ways...make room for all ways in your minds


north south east and rest of my life...I'm single but the Tao is my wife?

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#42 2008-09-07 10:59:21

marek
Member
From: Czech Republic
Registered: 2007-03-02
Posts: 187
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Thanks good to know.


"what are you gawping at!?"
                                          Uchiyama Roshi

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#43 2008-09-07 19:49:40

Horst Xenmeister
Shiham
From: Germany
Registered: 2007-05-26
Posts: 69
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Jason Castner aka Komuso wrote:

Tell me I suck and then try to charge me and arm and a leg to learn from you  if you want, but really it just feeds your pocket and ego perhaps.  Also you may need to get to the hospital as I will gladly smack the bamboo root end shakuhachi I just made on your head for thinking your way is the best way.

Sucking is lifestyle choice for worst way. Not wurst way, which is best way. Threat to strike shakuhachi meister are stupid way. End of history.


i am horst

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#44 2008-09-08 00:11:26

Jason Castner
Member
From: binghamton, ny
Registered: 2007-12-19
Posts: 80

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Thank You Horst,

Is wurst best way in German?  I think you may have misunderstood my point, but maybe not.  I will reflect on it.


north south east and rest of my life...I'm single but the Tao is my wife?

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#45 2008-09-08 01:55:02

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

I do think that it is quite easy to understand when looking at it from this angle.

Q: Can you play Shakuhachi and make some sound and at one point with lots of efforts probably sound good without a teacher?

A: YES


Q: Can you learn traditional Japanese music/Shakuhachi honkyoku totally without a teacher?

A: NO


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#46 2008-10-21 10:17:12

harshitakk
Member
Registered: 2008-10-21
Posts: 1

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Well, I am new to this forum. I like this forum and this thread also. So keep up the good work.
Cheers!!


====================
harshu
Homes For Sale

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#47 2009-01-22 18:53:14

Taldaran
Member
From: Everett, Washington-USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 232

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

I have only been playing for two months, and I am enjoying this thread as well.

Every time I pick up my favorite shakuhachi, I have a completely new experience and am deeply moved by what it pulls out of me. Even if the occasional kan accidentally breaks back to otsu…my momentary frustration is mirrored by the soulful moan of the lower note as it either devolves or depending on your point of view, evolves. It is what it is at that moment. Expectation leads to acceptance.  No wonder Shakuhachi playing promotes peace and wellbeing.

I don’t have a formal teacher, and at this point in time, I don’t need one. I get a lot of informal teaching from you all in this forum. I have lurked and read and absorbed so much over the past month before I became a member. Even from other beginners here, I have drawn hope and learned perseverance from. You are all teachers to me.

Fact is, the longer I practice, the less of an issue perseverance is for me... I find it hard to put down that piece of bamboo.

A jazz guitarist listening to Hendrix play could also say that the sounds he produced to be hard to listen to and badly executed. Other people found his sound to be a transcendent experience.
I guess it depends on your own personal definition of “beginners mind”.


Christopher

“Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.” Tao Te Ching

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#48 2009-01-22 20:05:14

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

"A jazz guitarist listening to Hendrix play could also say that the sounds he produced to be hard to listen to and badly executed..."

Sir, I challenge you to find me such a one......

Just sayin'.


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#49 2009-01-22 20:55:22

ABRAXAS
Member
Registered: 2009-01-17
Posts: 353

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

Would anyone who loves shakuhachi avoid learning under the tutelage of a traditional certified instructor if they had the opportunity? Probably not.

Would anyone who loves the instrument say that anyone who loves the instrument should avoid learning on their own even if they lack access to formal instruction? Probably not.

Is someone self-taught capable of developing skill and making interesting music on shakuhachi, even if not strictly traditional? Why wouldn’t they? It of course depends on the player and their ability.

Is someone studied or certified in traditional shakuhachi capable of making droll and uninteresting music outside the traditional parameters they have been trained in? Certainly.


"Shakuhachi music stirs up both gods and demons." -- Ikkyu.

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#50 2009-01-22 21:00:52

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Teacher/No Teacher

edosan wrote:

"A jazz guitarist listening to Hendrix play could also say that the sounds he produced to be hard to listen to and badly executed..."

Sir, I challenge you to find me such a one......

Just sayin'.

Recently someone told me they HATE Hendrix. I really felt sorry for that person.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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