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#1 2008-11-30 21:50:21

Mike Raftery
Member
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2008-10-25
Posts: 44

Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Should a beginner avoid the former and apply the latter?  It is good practice playing along with all kinds all music, especially blues and jazz.  I see the iimportance of learning to master fingering by reading notation and playing the exercises over and over again, yet take a lot of pleasure in playing along with Miles or Lightning Hopkins just to get the feel of timing and flow, and its feels like my playing improves in terms of clarity of tones and developing digital dexterity.  I still want to learn the traditional pieces someday, will too much of the above delayed this?

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#2 2008-11-30 22:17:29

madoherty
Moderator
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 366

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

If you learn the pieces only by ear you will most likely miss a lot- which may be ok for you.  Know that when you take lessons, learn the traditional pieces as you say, be ready for some re-tooling of your techniques.   Shakuhachi is not like other instruments that one might be able to pick up by ear, more or less.  It is very tricky in terms of alternative fingerings and techniques that make all the difference in playing more correctly.  Outside of all that, I consider any concerted effort of playing beneficial, personally.

Oh, and by the way, you may already know this but, not everything is written in the notation.  This is another reason why a teacher is important.

Best wishes,
Michael

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#3 2008-11-30 22:44:17

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

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Beginners should take lessons and learn directly from the teacher. The reason for this is because, unlike jazz, the fingering you use for a certain pitch is very important and you don't know that without lessons. You'll end up playing stuff you think sounds like the recording but using your own improvised fingerings and then when you take lessons you'll have to unlearn it. If you want to play along with recordings play along with western music. For the traditional Japanese music stick with lessons. At least until you understand how things work and you can teach yourself. That is many years in the distance.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#4 2008-12-01 02:01:07

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Hi Mike
I agree with what Michael and Brian have said above. But I would add that you can combine all of these. For the traditional music, as Brian says, it is essential to study under a teacher. Then the notation is to remind you what the teacher taught you. But I have also found it very useful to practice with recordings, using my notation. When I first started shakuhachi, I was studying under Michael Coxall in England. He was a student of Yamaguchi Goro, and he would lend me recordings of Yamaguchi Goro playing the pieces I was learning. So I could do a lot of practice with the notation together with the recordings, in between lessons. That was particularly important for checking if my timing was right, for when the piece speeds up and slows down, and for my pitch. Also, some sankyoku pieces are quite fast, and just practicing them by myself, I tended to play them quite slowly as they were difficult. But if I played with the recordings, it pushed me and forced me to keep up. In that case it really helped me and pushed me to be able to play faster. So, within this context of being under a traditional teacher, I can really recommend playing along with recordings. Other than that, playing with non-"traditional-shakuhachi-music" recordings (jazz etc) I would imagine would be great practice. Yokoyama Katsuya used to play along to whatever came on the radio, and advocates such practice. It must give you much more control over being able to play the melodies as they come to your mind.

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

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#5 2008-12-01 03:09:38

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

1. Study traditional music with a teacher and learn the notation.

2. Practice along with recordings of traditional music.

3. Play jazz and blues if you feel like it.

In that order because if you start with 3 your playing won't have any Japanese sound to it then it's somewhat pointless to play it on shakuhachi.

I played traditional stuff for years before I started playing Western music on shakuhachi. And I already knew how to play jazz and blues on other instruments.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#6 2008-12-01 09:13:49

lowonthetotem
Member
From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
Website

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

I find that having the piece in front of me and then play along with a recording as well and alternating with just playing the piece with just the notation.  Ultimately the goal, obviously, would be memorization.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#7 2008-12-01 09:41:42

Mike Raftery
Member
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2008-10-25
Posts: 44

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Yea, it what I intuitively felt-- that there is no way to get around the monotony of practice.  I feel a little like a schoolboy lookin for a shortcut to learning to read  write or add numbers.  But it is good to hear that playing along with music is not rejected out right, just as long as one is doing their homework too.  I need to balance my practicing notation/exercisers with playing along with american music.  50/50 or 75/25?

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#8 2008-12-01 13:28:01

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Tairaku wrote:

1. Study traditional music with a teacher and learn the notation.

2. Practice along with recordings of traditional music.

3. Play jazz and blues if you feel like it.

In that order because if you start with 3 your playing won't have any Japanese sound to it then it's somewhat pointless to play it on shakuhachi.

I played traditional stuff for years before I started playing Western music on shakuhachi. And I already knew how to play jazz and blues on other instruments.

I struggle with interpreting Western songs all the time because I like the flat Japanese half steps. Below is a popular Western song where I think a flatter Ou sounds better in the spirit of the song. What do you think?

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/sui.jpg

I like to play it with both #1 and #2 down and meri.

I welcome thoughts from any one who want to try this piece. It's written in Dokyoku and the line can be played in one breath...AND loud.

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#9 2008-12-01 17:58:42

rpowers
Member
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 285

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Yungflutes wrote:

I welcome thoughts from any one who want to try this piece. It's written in Dokyoku and the line can be played in one breath...AND loud.

Namaste, Perry

I'm sure that susudake would be an advantage.


"Shut up 'n' play . . . " -- Frank Zappa
"Gonna blow some . . ." -- Junior Walker
"It's not the flute." -- Riley Lee

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#10 2008-12-01 20:02:28

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

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

rpowers wrote:

I'm sure that susudake would be an advantage.

lol

See, that's a good example of Western music which reflects some Japanese values. The piece is about a combination of natural elements.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#11 2008-12-01 21:16:14

Michael A. Firman
Member
From: Naperville, IL USA
Registered: 2006-08-28
Posts: 57
Website

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

I guess smoke is natural.


Michael A. Firman
Naperville IL USA

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#12 2008-12-02 05:26:55

Bruce Hunter
Member
From: Apple Valley CA
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 258

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

I agree, Perry, lowered ou is good. Maybe the final ro just the barest amount low also?

later...


Develop infallible technique and then lay yourself at the mercy of inspiration. - Anon.

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#13 2008-12-02 20:49:52

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Playing along with music vs reading and playing along with notation

Hi Bruce,

Bruce Hunter wrote:

I agree, Perry, lowered ou is good. Maybe the final ro just the barest amount low also?

later...

Do you mean drop in pitch or volume?

Interesting, if Ro tapered off a little flat, it would actually be in line with the natural behavior of a shakuhachi and do what some heavy metal guitarists may do with a whammy bar.



I had a lesson with Zenyogi Sensei once where he used the image of smoke coming off an incense stick to describe how a note can taper off, or dissipate. I can see where smoke on the water can be an image for how a moment can feel.

Best, Perry

Last edited by Yungflutes (2008-12-03 09:17:31)


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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