Mujitsu and Tairaku's Shakuhachi BBQ

World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat

You are not logged in.


Tube of delight!

#1 2010-03-01 21:42:14

Jam
Member
From: Oxford, England
Registered: 2009-10-02
Posts: 254

Question for the teachers!

I was wondering, as Western teachers of a Japanese instrument, how rigidly you stick to the Japanese way of teaching?

What I mean is teaching through copying, not so much explaning as imitation, and not so much praise as constant criticism to make you improve?

Or do you teach in a more "western" way, with more explanations/guidance?

Which do you think is better?

Offline

 

#2 2010-03-03 21:28:03

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

Re: Question for the teachers!

The Japanese way of teaching as you describe as "not so much explaining as imitation" and "not so much praise as constant criticism" is a good description of how my Japanese sensei teaches but I don't really follow his teaching style with my own students.  I don't know if I necessarily give more explanation but generally I try to give more positive feedback than criticism. I've noticed that some Japanese students don't always respond well to the 'Japanese' way of teaching.  As for the question "Which do you think is better?" it may depend on a variety of factors such as the expectations and past experiences of the student. Also, some Japanese teachers are better at explaining things than others, and some do try and use praise as well as negative feedback; I don't know if there is always such a clear dividing line between Japanese and Western styles of teaching.

Offline

 

#3 2010-03-04 01:04:39

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Question for the teachers!

I like imitation and when they can't imitate correctly-explain.
    I agree with Daniel. You have to balance the criticism with praise when they get it right. I just started giving my 5 yr. old granddaughter piano lessons and the smile on her face when she gets praised for doing it right is what it's all about for me.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

Offline

 

#4 2010-03-04 07:05:32

Zakarius
Member
From: Taichung, TAIWAN
Registered: 2006-04-12
Posts: 361

Re: Question for the teachers!

Different people excel at learning in different ways, therefore an excellent teacher is one who can shift the teaching style to match the student.

Zak


塵も積もれば山となる -- "Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru." -- Piled-up specks of dust become a mountain.

Offline

 

#5 2010-03-04 11:16:31

airin
Member
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Registered: 2008-10-17
Posts: 303
Website

Re: Question for the teachers!

Zakarius wrote:

Different people excel at learning in different ways, therefore an excellent teacher is one who can shift the teaching style to match the student.

Zak

I couldn't agree more!

Hence when one has found a teacher that can do that, they've found a rare and special person.

Offline

 

#6 2010-03-04 12:58:10

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

Re: Question for the teachers!

airin wrote:

Zakarius wrote:

Different people excel at learning in different ways, therefore an excellent teacher is one who can shift the teaching style to match the student.

Zak

I couldn't agree more!

Hence when one has found a teacher that can do that, they've found a rare and special person.

On the other hand (there's always another hand, isn't there?), much can be learned from a teacher that 'rubs you the wrong way'.


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

Offline

 

#7 2010-03-04 13:08:32

Lorka
Member
Registered: 2007-02-27
Posts: 303

Re: Question for the teachers!

Yeah, but if the teacher starts rubbing you "the right way" that could get messy.  Too much rubbing could be dangerous.


Gravity is the root of grace

~ Lao Tzu~

Offline

 

#8 2010-03-07 03:22:43

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Question for the teachers!

I would agree that each teacher is individual and some of my teachers here in Japan teach in a different way than how they were taught by their teachers. Though I have little experience of studying music in a Western context, people do say that there is more talking in lessons in the West (I mean for music in general). I have noticed that the teachers here in Japan who are particularly geared to teaching Western students do seem to be the ones who talk more, so I suppose that is in response to that. Personally I like to teach (and learn) as directly as possible using the "target language", which in this case is the sound of the shakuhachi. That is, I want the attention to be as much as possible on the sound itself, or the movements. It's only when the sounds or movements are not being perceived correctly or clearly, or the reasons for them are not understood, that verbal explanations come in handy. And it is here that some Japanese teachers may be lacking, indeed the teaching styles of other Asian countries too, which sometimes just leaves it for the student to "get it" by himself. This can lengthen the learning process unnecessarily I believe. Sometimes there are mistakes students may be making for years which could have been remedied by a kind word from the teacher at any stage. I have seen this is martial arts for example.

And as others said above, it depends on the student. Praise is indispensable of course. But how much criticism, or how many details one would point out really depends on what the student is ready for, and also how willing they are to take what you might have to give them.

Taking the question of the thread in a slightly different angle, I could say that when teaching the shakuhachi, I think there is no need to stick to the teaching method of ones teacher. We may learn how to play the shakuhachi from our shakuhachi teacher, but learning how to teach can be another story. Personally I would say that my main way of learning how to teach has been by observing myself, observing how I learn. How I have responded when studying various arts in particular, but also even back at school. So I remember how I responded to the different methods and approaches, and how the other students also responded as I observed their learning process. This has been very instructive for me.

Offline

 

#9 2010-03-07 10:23:22

ShakuhachiSarah
Member
Registered: 2010-03-06
Posts: 18

Re: Question for the teachers!

I haven't had the experience of the Japanese style of teaching so I'm not sure I can relate but this is the one the issues that I am discussing in my thesis - can those of you who study with a Japanese teacher explain in more detail of how a typical lesson would be in the "Japanese" way?

Also, those of you who have taken lessons the "Japanese" way and then have taken lessons the "Western" way - did you prefer one over the other?


Does anyone have an extra ma I can borrow? :-) Sarah Renata

Offline

 

#10 2010-03-08 02:39:12

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

Re: Question for the teachers!

Hi Sarah,
I've been studying with the same teacher in Kumamoto, Japan for the past 23 years or so.  His method of teaching is typical to what one would call 'The Japanese Way'.  I have to say that I was something unusual in his regimen though, simply because when I started lessons with him, I spoke no Japanese and he spoke very little English.  This may have been something of a blessing though as it was impossible for me to ask many questions (which my western ways naturally wanted to do) and for he to answer or instruct verbally.  In that way, I would come into his teaching space, sit in front of him in a seiza manner, ready myself and bow to him with the words yoroshiku onegaishimasu which is a politeness used often in Japanese society.  He would commence by either asking me to play a piece or a part of a piece that we had been working on either with him, or with him singing the notes as I played, or with him simply keeping the time while I played, or with just me playing.  If I made some kind of mistake, he would say some things that I understood as to mean that I was doing something incorrectly and he would then play a part.  I would then try to emulate what he just played.  If he was satisfied, we would carry on.  If he wasn't, he would somehow let me know and play the part again for me to understand.  After the lesson, I would bow again and say arigato gozaimasu and get up carefully, pull my things together and leave.  Probably this wasn't so different from other Japanese students of his, with the exception that he could talk freely with them.  Hope this helps.


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

Offline

 

#11 2010-03-08 03:58:58

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

Re: Question for the teachers!

I imagine my experience is probably quite similar to that of Jeff's.  I've also been studying shakuhachi for over twenty years primarily with one teacher in Kochi, Japan.  I spoke little Japanese when I first started his lessons and luckily for me one Japanese student who spoke both English and Japanese would do a bit of translating at times.  Usually there were several other students present and we would all be sitting around a low table in the same tatami mat room where each student was taking his (my sensei has not yet had any female students) lesson so we'd get to listen in on  the other students' lessons and maybe pick up some tips on playing (if we wanted to; sometimes we practiced in another room or were studying something else).  In the actual lesson we sat in seiza across from the sensei and put our music notation on a small table between us; he then read our music notes (which were in an upside down position for him...something which I'm still not that proficient at...) and played the piece we were learning along with us, sometimes stopping to correct our playing or asking us to play a certain passage on our own.  If we were starting a new piece we would tap out the rhythm on our knees while singing the notes to the piece together with the sensei before actually playing the piece.  If it was a gaikyoku piece we would practice it until we got the piece down fairly well, and then in the next session would play it along with a taped koto/shamisen part.  After teaching several students the sensei would take a tea break (or more likely a cigarette break) and sometimes make further comments on our playing.  Students would generally try to imitate the teacher's playing as best as they could.  The lesson usually consisted of playing just one piece or part of a piece, if it was a long piece.  Sometimes students would leave after their lesson was over but often they would stay until all the students (usually 4 or 5) had finished playing (a couple of hours).  For the most part my sensei only teaches the koten pieces; each student starts out learning some folk pieces and children's songs (the 'green' book), then moves to gaikyoku, and then after having learned a few gaikyoku pieces begins learning the honkyoku pieces.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2010-03-08 04:02:35)

Offline

 

#12 2010-03-08 10:21:06

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Question for the teachers!

Thanks for starting this thread, James. It is particularly relevant for me as I am going to be in Kitakyushu 4/11-4/21 studying shakuhachi with Yamato Shudo. I am skoshi Nihongo(very) and he doesn't speak much English so these posts are helpful to say the least. I hope I have time to get around to meet some of my shakuhachi forum compadres.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

Offline

 

#13 2010-03-09 01:28:21

Jam
Member
From: Oxford, England
Registered: 2009-10-02
Posts: 254

Re: Question for the teachers!

Not a problem Jim, hope you have a great time in KK and don't forget to give me a bell if you're in my neck of the woods!

Offline

 

#14 2010-03-09 01:57:30

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Question for the teachers!

Hi James and also to Sarah.

There are - as already mentioned - great variety of teaching methods among Japanese teachers in my experience. But the most common method of learning is playing along your teacher as Jeff and Dan's description also shows.

Being trained in Western classical music I found - to my surprise- this teaching method to be quite liberating - although what you are doing is just imitating your teacher. But because of the memory-aid character of the notation, your playing become much more flexible than if you were following such a precise notation as the staff notation. When you follow a teacher - you are following a human being. It means he is not going to play the piece exactly the same way twice. You develop your ears much more learning with this method and your playing become more flexible. However, it is more time consuming than learning from a precise notation.

Although my main teacher Okuda Atsuya taught this traditional way, he gladly answered questions if asked. But you needed to ask them. And that is also my experience with the other teachers I studied with in Japan during shorter periods of time.

When teaching myself I do a combination of methods - I suppose. I do perhaps explain more than what was the case when I learned, but I base my teaching on the playing along method. I find this method to be the best in really getting the feel for honkyoku playing (I only teach honkyoku or new music).


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

Offline

 

#15 2010-03-20 13:24:16

Ryuzen
Dokyoku (Daishihan); Zensabo
From: Maderia Park, BC, Canada
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 104
Website

Re: Question for the teachers!

Hello Jam. Although I have trained mainly in Japan via the "learning through imitation", I feel I am practicing a mixture of both western and eastern styles of teaching, as that is needed in the west. I emphasize a more positivistic approach to teaching and guiding rather than criticism. I think people grow healthier and happier (at least in the west) when you focus more on their strengths. But I don't hesitate to tell them what they need to correct. I was inspired to read that the famous Japanese violin teacher, Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki method of teaching violin, during a lesson, ALWAYS praised the student first before giving any criticism. He found this the best way for children (and I believe for most students of any age) to learn. Anyway, one has to be flexible to the student's needs.


I live a shakuhachi life.

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson

Google