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#26 2009-03-22 20:42:36

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1040
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Practicing for an original Latin pop song called Nabiya (Butterfly) written by Hot Peas and Butter. I'm sitting in on two songs for their concerts around NYC next week. Also practice Happy Birthday for a few minutes last week.


"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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#27 2009-03-23 05:35:42

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Axolotl wrote:  Who are the amazing musicians that surround you?  Throat singers and Irish flautists?   

The throat singer who plays the long two stringed lutes (can't remember the name of the instrument; it's played with a bow)  is a Kochi native who learned throat singing when living up in Tokyo; he says there's a community of about 20 throat singers there.  He's quite talented and makes the lutes himself; he got lessons in wood carving for making the body of the instruments from a local djembe maker who had studied making drums in Mali.  The player of Irish flute is another talented Japanese guy, Kitamura san, who heads up an Irish music group in Kochi called The Grey Goose; he worked in an instrument museum at a music college up in Tokyo for about a decade and also makes and repairs various world instruments such as mbira and cahon and does instrument making with hospital patients as therapy; I think he started out as an oil painter, painting and sketching instruments and then got into playing and making them; he's helped call some nice Irish players over here such as Sean Ryan, the tin whistle player who owns Leap Castle, supposedly one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Considering that Kochi is considered to be a rather out of the way place in Japan we do have a rather interesting music and arts scene at times.

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#28 2009-03-23 09:22:36

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Currently practicing several children's songs, which most of you probably already have mastered, for warm up.  I move onto a couple runs of Sakura and Take Da.  From there I go to Mtn Village at Dusk, Tsuki, Tamuke, Daiwagaku, and Banshiki.  I grudgingly move onto the laborious Entengaku Ceremony march and finish with a piece that I cannot remember the name to.  It is a Fukura Rondo (I am sure that is horribly mispelled or mistaken altogether.  I am not much with the Japanese, although I am trying to learn more).

Of course even before warm up, I blow long tones, do some neck flexibility stuff, and practice fast meris and niashis.

Again, sorry for any misspelling or mistaken words.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#29 2009-03-23 09:36:08

Christopher B.
Member
From: Berlin, Germany
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 235
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Currently still working on the blow technic and get all notes clear and learning "Marii san no hitsiji" as my first song. I practice every day I think  it is the best thing to get better at the beginning. All notes are geting better day to day.

Last edited by Christopher B. (2009-03-23 09:39:46)


In reality it is Ha,Ro,Ha,Ro... ~Sensei~
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#30 2009-03-23 10:22:16

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Just finished rehearsing Kyomu Sugagaki and Chick Corea's Spain that I played in a concert last Monday night along with Pro Musica Nipponia.  Now I'm practicing Choshi, Shika no Tone, Toward Liberation for solo shakuhachi written by Keiko Ueda and working up an improvisation with a cellist for a concert I'll do next Sunday.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#31 2009-03-24 08:51:13

ssakamoto
Member
From: Gujo Hachiman, Gifu-ken, Japan
Registered: 2009-02-01
Posts: 43
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

What a great thread! I wish I could hear all of you playing. The teahouse sounds fantastic, and I'd love to hear Perry's Latin pop shakuhachi.

I'm only 7 months into learning. My teacher first had me learn kimigayo, and I've since been learning Kuro Kami for the past four months. My Japanese isn't good enough to understand much of what he says, so I read with confused interest when you guys talk about "registers" and "meri" and whatnot. I mean, I am learning the notes, but I mostly don't know what I'm learning. I just know what the notation means in terms of where my fingers should go on the flute.

I really like Kuro kami, and I look forward to being able to play it and hit the right tones, but I feel like I'm years away from that happening. Apparently, in my teacher's school, kurokami is the second song learned. He said he thinks that's a bit difficult, but that's how they do it. I have an hour lesson once a week, and I practice about an hour a day at home.

In addition to being a beginner to the shakuhachi, I also am musically illiterate, so I get lost immediately when folks write about chords and octaves and all that. I want to learn more, and plan on buying some books. Right now my main priority is getting my ro to sound like my teacher's ro and my re to come somewhere close.

Anyway, kurokami, that's the short answer. Sorry for the long post.


"One thing the bamboo tells you from the start is that it's going to take years and years and years. Better get to work." -- Mujitsu

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#32 2009-03-24 09:02:20

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Kuro Kami is one of the first sankyoku pieces studied in the kinko lineage.  I'm not sure if that's across the board, but it's also the case in my line.  When I was first introduced to the piece,  I was unexpectedly put into a situation by my teacher after 6 months of lessons to play it solo with a koto player and a shamisen player in front of a number of teachers at our groups yearly gathering.  I made it to the bottom of the first line and completely lost my place.  My teacher saw that I was in a state of 'shakuhachi freeze' and quickly ran up to the stage and showed me where I should be.  I was able to pick up from there and make it to the end.
I was told that Kuro Kami is one of the first pieces you learn and needs to be revisited years later to discover the depths of it. I understand that now.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#33 2009-03-24 16:59:03

axolotl
Member
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 2007-11-16
Posts: 215
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

the long two stringed lutes (can't remember the name of the instrument; it's played with a bow)...

really big lutes, like a yaylî tambur?  Or little like a spike fiddle (kemenche or erhu)?


Considering that Kochi is considered to be a rather out of the way place in Japan we do have a rather interesting music and arts scene at times.

I had to look on the map of Japan to see where you are located.  Indeed, it sounds like it's bustling with unusual artists!

--
Kuro Kami won't take years, ssakamoto, you'll get it!  Ganbatte!

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#34 2009-03-24 22:44:15

ssakamoto
Member
From: Gujo Hachiman, Gifu-ken, Japan
Registered: 2009-02-01
Posts: 43
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Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Jeff,
Thanks for the info. I can't imagine trying to play kuro kami in front of anyone at this time. I've been playing for six months, and I am way off key with most of the notes. I can read it and play it almost in time, but the sound...yikes. I do enjoy the piece though, and I look forward to making the right sounds, when and if that ever happens.


"One thing the bamboo tells you from the start is that it's going to take years and years and years. Better get to work." -- Mujitsu

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#35 2009-03-25 10:43:03

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Axolotl asked the question:
really big lutes, like a yaylî tambur?  Or little like a spike fiddle (kemenche or erhu)?


They are fretless Tuvan lutes called igil. He had two different lengths of lute, comparable to a nagauta shamisen in length but with a longer kind of an oblong soundbox.  His bows were made of horsehair.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2009-03-25 10:48:22)

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#36 2009-03-26 18:39:51

axolotl
Member
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 2007-11-16
Posts: 215
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Funny, I just saw a video of igil, played by a fellow with the handle 'oddmusic' on YouTube.  Igil, hang drum, HAPI drum, didgeridoo.  It was cool.

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#37 2009-03-28 23:17:07

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

What I'm working on right now is getting the Ro on my new Tensei up to pitch and learn to work around the sharp chi. I think this etude is a good one for that because has those drops down to Ro along with the ha meri's that is the section of the book this etude is in. In this video I didn't get the quick drops to Ro up high enough, but the one that finished the phrase was OK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3UTDXTxsVM


"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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#38 2009-03-31 05:49:55

waryr
Member
From: Leesburg Florida
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 70

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Have been lately practicing "Summertime", "Greensleeves", "A Very Good Year", some Chosi (which still isn't right), Sakura, scales and long tones all with the accumulated bad habits and wavering tone and pitch concurrent with self-learning; however, I endeavor to persevere.


If you understand, things are just as they are, if you don't understand, things are just as they are.

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#39 2009-03-31 13:30:58

Dun Romin
Member
From: Holland
Registered: 2008-04-19
Posts: 136

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

What an excellent idea, this thread. Not only to learn the names of a lot of, for me, unknown pieces, but also to see more people struggling on the pitches. In my daily excercise there's a lot of that too, for the last months concentrating on the meri's. Every time I think I have them right, I record myself, listen and decide to excercise some more. Besides that, at this moment I'm working hard on Kibitaki no Mori, and some compositions of Fukuda Rando (a composer who really has stolen my heart), which we are going to perform coming sunday.


Tomorrow's wind only blows tomorrow. (Koji)

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#40 2009-03-31 20:05:43

axolotl
Member
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 2007-11-16
Posts: 215
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

I think I wouldn't mind a little sharpness to my chi, radiogn0me.  However, I guess it's better to work on chi on my normal flute first.  Chi kari is always unsatisfactory for me, but my teacher did show me that through some sort of magical kari technique, it can be brought to proper pitch on my flute. 

I agree that this thread is really fun to read through, Dun!  Plenty of pieces mentioned are unknown or unlearned for me.  I am now wading into Chidori.  Fortunately, the lake is not very deep, but it is wide!  It's nice to go back to pieces like Kuro Kami and find they are no longer as much of a struggle--all that effort makes Chidori easier. 

I have also realized that playing sankyoku with a readily available koto player is an incredible blessing.  It really helps make the pieces make sense.

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#41 2009-03-31 20:44:27

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

axolotl wrote:

I think I wouldn't mind a little sharpness to my chi, radiogn0me.  However, I guess it's better to work on chi on my normal flute first.  Chi kari is always unsatisfactory for me, but my teacher did show me that through some sort of magical kari technique, it can be brought to proper pitch on my flute.

Yes, I think I'm getting a bit addicted to the tuner. Nyokai has a tip on his web page that suggests to use the tuner only as tool. However, I think I sound OK practicing without it and it's not enough of a challenge if I don't use it. Please remember, I'm working without a teacher to give me direction into other things I can be working on, so it might not be the best idea hammering at getting every note exactly in tune. I remember that getting my silver flute playing in tune was such a leap into getting me to sound good I kind of think that's what I should be working on mostly for now, but it is still self-teaching which I know isn't always the most productive.


"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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#42 2009-04-01 09:47:53

Glenn Swann
Member
From: Central New Jersey
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 151
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

lately been doing, on the modern side, Sawai Tadao's jogen no kyoku and kaze no uta; and Yoshizaki's kuresento (crescent), a piece about which i know very little, but it's cool. both shakuhachi/koto duets.
on the classic side, zangetsu, yaegoromo ( a work definitely in process) and revisiting mama no kawa, yugao, chidori, yachiyo jishi for practice with koto/sangen. need to get started memorizing more honkyoku!

axolotl, i agree  it does make such a difference to practice with koto. a few of the sankyoku, maybe kurokami, tsuru no koe, rokudan actually work as shakuhachu solo(of course much better in their original form), but basically the interaction with the strings makes it a whole different thing. understanding the lyrics of sankyoku is very important to understand the pieces as well (a point David Kansuke Wheeler sensei has stressed many times)

dun romin, i am in love with Fudkuda Rando's pieces as well. what ones are you doing? solo shakuhachi or with piano or koto?

Jeff san, so Ueda san finished "toward liberation"? i bet it's beautiful.

Last edited by Glenn Swann (2009-04-01 09:51:11)


I followed rivers, I followed orders,I followed prophets, I followed leaders
I followed rivers, I followed highways,I followed conscience,
I followed dreamers... And I'm back here,
and I'm back here... At the edge of the sky       (New Model Army)

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#43 2009-04-01 16:40:28

Dun Romin
Member
From: Holland
Registered: 2008-04-19
Posts: 136

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Glenn, I love Fukuda's solo pieces as much as the pieces with koto or piano, and actually do all three. At this moment I'm working on getting a good and expressive Miyama Higurashi and Kikyo Genso Kyoku. For playing together with koto I'm working on Gekko Roteki, Tsuki Kusa no Yume and Tsubaki Saku Mura.
But besides this we're also doing some loveley music of Hisamoto Genshi. And with piano I'm rehearsing some beautiful, but terribly difficult music of The four seasons of Japan from Hiroaki Kuwahara.
Sometimes I rewrite some koto-accompagniement for guitar, that also works out nice. Playing together a lot with other instruments is really a big help in getting the pitches right.

Last edited by Dun Romin (2009-04-01 16:42:33)


Tomorrow's wind only blows tomorrow. (Koji)

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#44 2009-04-06 08:42:34

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

At the suggestion of my teacher, I am taking a different approach to practice.  I'd done this in the past and was pleasantly rewarded with big results.  I am still practicing songs, but my largest focus is on "real" practice at this point, kind of like drills that you would do in a sports scenerio.  I start with several minutes of muraiki, out of which I practice pulling the cleaner notes both in Otsu and Kan.  Then I fast trills on each hole "wiggling" the finger between half hole and full hole positions.  Then it is on to meris on each hole both from the note below and the note above.  Then I practice some combinations that show up in often in the music that I am playing like ri to chi meri to chi and back the other way or re to tsu meri to ro and back.  My main focus here is chin position and volume change.  Then I practice ataris, mostly double pops, both from higher to lower notes and lower to higher.  Then I practice these on notes that often have atartis at their very start like re meri, u, and chi meri.  I generally approach in a "workout" kind of way, knocking out twenty of this then twenty of that and then returning to something I did earlier for a second "set."  I am ending with another few minutes of muraiki, which is really changing/developing my tone even after just a couple/three days.  After this I practice songs.  This makes them much easier, as I had usually practiced the hardest parts of them several times over just prior.  It takes some time, and I often end up practicing songs during a later practice session during the day and not as long.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#45 2009-04-06 11:33:15

purehappiness
Member
From: Connecticut USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 528

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Kyo rei, messing around with choshi,hinomaru. My long tones and trying to get better at kan register.Practicing meri and kari.Posture,neck position.

Last edited by purehappiness (2009-04-06 11:34:28)


I was not conscious whether I was riding on the wind or the wind was riding on me.

Lieh-tzu

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#46 2009-04-06 23:46:18

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 830
Website

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

thats great man

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#47 2009-04-07 00:34:26

Lance
Member
Registered: 2008-01-18
Posts: 74

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

The more I hear beginners practicing 'songs' on youtube and elsewhere (BORING), the more happy I am with my decision to just play...   I certainly am enjoying the Shakuhachi more than I would be with drills...  I know, you can't improvise without knowing what you're doing first, but I enjoy it.

Every now and then I sound GREAT, to the wind and the birds, and me. Today I practiced playing while looking at snow capped mountains, hummingbirds, and oak trees..  tomorrow I plan on moving on to practice inside with a thunderstorm outside, should be great.


“The firefly is a good lesson in light, and darkness”

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#48 2009-04-07 02:28:56

STUPID HIPPY
Member
Registered: 2009-04-04
Posts: 20

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Man that is so far out, it's in!


Zen and Bamboo are one. Or is it two? Far out.

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#49 2009-04-07 06:02:58

purehappiness
Member
From: Connecticut USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 528

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

Lance wrote:

The more I hear beginners practicing 'songs' on youtube and elsewhere (BORING), the more happy I am with my decision to just play...   I certainly am enjoying the Shakuhachi more than I would be with drills...  I know, you can't improvise without knowing what you're doing first, but I enjoy it.

Every now and then I sound GREAT, to the wind and the birds, and me. Today I practiced playing while looking at snow capped mountains, hummingbirds, and oak trees..  tomorrow I plan on moving on to practice inside with a thunderstorm outside, should be great.

I love playing outdoors. I have wetlands nearby where ducks love to hang out. It makes a great backdrop for playing the flute.


I was not conscious whether I was riding on the wind or the wind was riding on me.

Lieh-tzu

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#50 2009-04-07 09:01:25

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

Re: What are the Pro's, Non-Pro's, Semi-Pro's, etc Practicing These Days?

I know, you can't improvise without knowing what you're doing first, but I enjoy it.

I'd take it a step further to say that you can even practice the songs you play over and over and over again for a long while without making any real improvement without doing boring drills, which begin to build proficency in areas of technique that appear in said songs as well as many others that you may not be practicing currently.  As far as improvisation goes, if the skill is not there it is just noodling.  Learning to play and starting with improvisation is kind of like learning to swim and starting with the butterfly stroke.  Noodling is fun, but in the end you just end up with noodles.

I play outside too.  Sometimes I play on my front porch, and I even played while handing out candy at Holloween this past year.  I am not so vain, at least I hope I'm not, to want to be seen as a great or even good player by neighbors (they don't have the background to make that determination anyway); however, if I am going to make an offering of my music to someone, it seems rather rude, to me, to offer something shoddy and unpolished, even if the neighbors are ducks, mountains, snow, or trees.  To deviate from my instruction also seems rude.  To ignore that there are worthy teachers out there and go on my merry way without instruction seems ignorant at the best and rude at the worst.

Someone said that they sought enlightenment or some such thing through this practice.  Enjoyment is ephemoral, dependent on equally ephemoral conditions, and emanates from a perspective encapsulated and enamoured in/with the self.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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