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I will be away next week and will not be able to practice with my flute at all. Are there any practices one can do to keep your chops in shape without having your instrument to blow? In other words, what it the sound made when there is no flute to blow. Seriously, is there anthing to do to, at least to keep the lips in shape? I really notice loss from not playing more than 2 days, what to speak of 8.
This may seem like a dumb question but why wouldn't you be able to take along a flute and sneak off somewhere for 20 minutes a day and blow?
I do consider doing that, it may be difficult as free time will be very limited. I always take my flute with me, though when I done retreats before, I never got a chance to play. But I need to get more serious about finding a way to play. So, no exercises without a flute?
Is it a meditation retreat? If it is, I recommend forgetting about shakuhachi entirely and just let yourself go wholly into the retreat. If it's something else, then there was a thread on this topic some time ago. Perhaps a search would find it, or someone may be able to post a link to it.
Chanting is supposed to strengthen your practice. All you need carry around is your lungs, though you may still have a hard time if finding privacy is an issue. I find it feels a little weird doing this still, and I get embarrased even when totally alone... but you do notice an improvement in your tone pretty quickly. This was a practice suggested by Michael Gould at the Montreal workshop. He would be in a better position to comment on that connection, and of course, it goes without saying that Gishin is the man to talk to on this subject as he is versed in the Shomyo chanting, upon which many of the shakuhachi pieces were derived.
Here's the other thread about this:
Don't know how useful this information is.
Yes, it is a retreat, Justin. I don't usually concern myself with playing during retreat, though there is a noticeable loss of ground when I pick up the flute again. After one retreat I was walking passed this house and noticed a large harp through the sliding doors and suddenly around the corner came the harpist. She was the first harpist for the N Y Opera, and had just sat with the rest of us. Of course I was very impressed. I quickly asked her if she had been practicing during sesshin, she said she absolutely had too, as least an hour a day. But a harp is easier to practice during sesshin if its located a little away from the zendo, which this was. But the shakuhachi may be a little too intrusive. This retreat is in a city, so may be there will be a nearby park where I could get a day or two during the week. And those other tips people have referenced, thanks.
A thought: When on a retreat, be on the retreat.
When playing shakuhachi, play the shakuhachi.
Being on a retreat and pining about your miniscule loss of embouchure
doesn't sound like the pinnacle of mindfulness and non-attachment to me.
I've been appreciating the comments on this thread as I'm going into a month long retreat beginning in mid May and have been fretting about the prospect of leaving my beloved flute at home.. We're so new, it's only been three months..
We're so new, it's only been three months..
The shakuhachi will still be there when you return; life is not THAT short.
And who knows what will happen to you during that month?