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#1 2008-03-24 21:43:17

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Minimal practice time?

Masters:

Ideally one has several lovely free hours a day to practice. 

But let's say that something happened in your life that suddenly removed the vast majority of your free time to practice.  (Just as a totally random example:  You had a brand new baby.)

In your opinion what is the absolute minimal period of time one needs to practice daily to preserve one's current playing ability?  And what would you do with that time? 

Also, as a bonus question:  What do you think is the minimal period of time one needs to invest in practice daily not to just stand still but to continually develop?

Your perspectives would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,
Seth

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#2 2008-03-24 23:49:14

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

You're obviously looking for responses from the pros, but I'll attempt to answer in more general terms...

The variables involved in practicing to either improve or preserve one's skill are mostly based upon three things: 1) the time spent -- the more the better; 2) the innate talent of the individual; and 3) one's current level of ability -- a master would need more time in practice to maintain such high playing ability and need even more to improve. (The quality of practice time is also a factor but can either heighten or dissolve the effects of the above variables.)

I'd be surprised if someone could respond with specific numbers to your query without you having to weigh the responder's own level of ability and talent versus your own. My suggestion would be to record yourself on an average day and rerecord a month later -- if you feel you're skills are slipping, try to find/make more time to practice.

Zak -- jinashi size queen


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

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#3 2008-03-25 03:22:13

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Not a master, either, but consider, four-folded paths of practice, so to speak.
1) With the instrument, with the score;
2) With the instrument, without the score;
3) Without the instrument, with the score;
4) Without the instrument, without the score.

Blowing air through bamboo is a good thing. Sometimes that is enough.

Some days, 5 minutes is enough. Some days, 5 hours is not enough.

Some days, not blowing is the right thing.
Some days, any blowing is the right thing.

Playing and getting intended results tells us only what we already know. Playing and getting unintended results teaches us much, if we chose to learn.

Probably no help at all, but at least you'll have something to read until the great ones appear.

Gambatte!


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

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#4 2008-03-25 04:11:08

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Again, not a master speaking, but I'll give it a try.

Seth wrote:

In your opinion what is the absolute minimal period of time one needs to practice daily to preserve one's current playing ability?

I'd have to agree with one of the others who responded in that it would depend on your level, the higher the level the more time required to preserve what you've got. I can't speak for how much time is required for any particular level, but I'd like to point out that there should be no excuses for not finding at least 15 minutes once or twice a day unless your Donald Trump or the CEO of a major company or something like that. So there's no excuses allowing you to give it up completely.     

Seth wrote:

And what would you do with that time?

Silver flute teachers have had it passed down from above that you tell a student that if he or she doesn't have much time to practice, make sure to practice tonal exercises. The priority was tonal exercises, then scales, then pieces. I don't know what the shakuhachi equivalent to scales would be, but it seems like maybe you would be wise to keep pieces down to a minimum and practice a lot of Ro-buki.   

Seth wrote:

Also, as a bonus question:  What do you think is the minimal period of time one needs to invest in practice daily not to just stand still but to continually develop?

I love bonus questions. I'm inclined to say that it's the same answer as how much to stay current, and that it depends on your level. However, looking a bit more deeply, there's a lot of background learning going on while your not actually practicing. As long as you're subconcious is still reverberating with stuff you've been trying to do, it'll still be making sense of and figuring out what you were trying to do while you're going about your daily activities. That's why music teachers say to make sure you practice even just a little bit every day. At the end of only practicing mostly 15 minutes of long tones a day for 12 years, you'll have improved. You may not be able to play the killer piece you were working on when you stopped practicing it 12 years ago, and you may have even lost most of the other pieces you had remembered up to that point, but your tone will still have improved.         

Seth wrote:

Your perspectives would be greatly appreciated.

It's a very zen thing to balance life situations with practice of an instrument. My perspective from when I was a teenager thinking that I needed to practice a real lot everyday to get awesomely good until now at 50 I realize I'll probably never be awesomely good has changed dramatically. A chain of different instruments along the way, sometimes with very little practice for extended lengths of time, and I'm still playing and enjoying it. It really makes me wonder about all those other teenagers who stopped somewhere in their adult life. When I talk to people who used to play in their younger years brag about how good they were or talk about how proud they are of how much effort they put into it, they often don't seem to miss playing at all. I have to conclude that, despite how good they were, they weren't doing it right and missed the entire point of the musical experience. Either that or they are lying and really do miss it.

Last edited by radi0gnome (2008-03-25 04:24:49)


"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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#5 2008-03-25 04:46:00

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Hi Seth,

I very frequently have only 10 minutes or whatever to practice. In that case, ro or long tones is the best way to spend your time. Maybe your teacher has put out a book with long tone exercises, mine has! wink use those. It's like when you're on the road and you can't work out. 20 minutes of yoga will maintain your physique. Better than nothing.

Regards,

BR


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#6 2008-03-25 08:46:35

Musgo da Pedra
Member
From: South of Brazil
Registered: 2007-12-02
Posts: 332
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Also another no-pro writing...   
 
I think that the quality of the time that we spent with the mind involved on the learning process is very important.   
 
Sit during any time thinking in problems or other things to do, make we don't absorb the little insights that we have every time when we sit and study with concentration, attention, focus, and mind body spirit connection being perceived. It can be hard to achieve every day but when it happens, at least to me, the things go better, whatever I practice... 
 
 
 
Some years ago, I was giving guitar lessons to a woman, psychologist, and she say that the brain absorb the knowledge much better if we can repeat what we want to learn in more than one period per day. Instead of practice 3 hours, she said that is better practice 3x1 hour per day... It's what she say... I have tested it a little because it's hard to have so many periods with fre time... But 10, 15 minutes we always have...


Peace


Omnia mea mecum porto

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#7 2008-03-25 11:42:56

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Hello everybody,

I usually practice 5-10 minutes a day, EVERY day (except very very few exceptions) and my sound has been improving. 

I think regularity is as important part of the ecuation as it is the length of practice.  Also as it has been pointed out above, depends on what you want to "keep", which level, which pieces...

There are many variables but if Watazumi mentioned that 10 minutes of ro-buki a day would make a master (not a Shihan though!) he must have been on to something!

I guess it all depends on your personal approach to Shakuhachi in any case.

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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#8 2008-03-25 19:06:05

mrosenlof
Member
From: Louisville Colorado USA
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 82

Re: Minimal practice time?

If I don't practice for one day, I know it;
if I don't practice for two days,
the critics know it;
if I don't practice for three days,
the audience knows it.
--Ignacy Paderewski

Lots of practice is a good thing.  Not practicing is a bad thing.

Given that, I think it's really impossible to answer the original question.  Any answer is going to vary from person to person and be based on that person's "natural" ability, experience, and no doubt a bunch of factors that don't come to me right away.

If my wife had any interest in playing shakuhachi, she could make progress with one minute of practice a day.  I am a relative beginner, but I would not improve with one minute or practice.  She has a lot of experience on clarinet, but now only plays about once a month.  She's probably maintaining her ability, but not getting any better.

If X is the minimum practice time to stay where you are.  Isn't X+1 the minimum practice time to make progress?  But at X+1 it's going to be slow, at 2*X progress is going to be faster.


Mike Rosenlof

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#9 2008-03-25 23:38:34

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Musgo da Pedra had a great point about quality of intent in practice, and also about several smaller blocks of time. My sensei Steven Rowland used to say something similar, that the brain can only effectively absorb so much at a time, and needs time to store and process.
I found that playing a Honkyoku piece in the morning (I play the longer, 10-30 minute straight Kinko pieces) ,or Ro buki, does well for long tones, ki building and focus, then practicing sankyoku or modern pieces for technical work later in the day (on break at work, etc.) or at night works well. I guess it sounds like the Komuso not playing anything but reibo pieces in the morning, but i tend to do zazen then anyway, so one leads to the next.
Although everything IS relative, I do believe it takes more time and energy to maintain a higher level of skill, and certainly much more to really progress. But consistency is more key. All of my teachers, whether shakuhachi, Taiji, Tea, or Shodo say the same thing- a little progress every day. The image of one sheet of paper per day stacked on a desk is a great one- not much in and of itself, but after 10 years you have quite the mountain of paper.


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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#10 2008-03-27 21:26:19

indigo
Member
From: Brooklyn, New York
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 52

Re: Minimal practice time?

10 min/day 

Rokudan

20 minutes/day 

Kyorei and Rokudan

these two pieces have helped me immensely when there is no time

I read somewhere that  a master practiced neza saha with Rokudan so I realized then that Rokudan might be a good piece to practice regularly.

plastic flute placed in the way helps too

ro buki

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#11 2008-03-27 23:38:10

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

indigo wrote:

plastic flute placed in the way helps too

ro buki

This is a very good point.  If possible, keep your instruments out and visible.  The business of the day may keep a tucked-away flute where it is, but one or more flutes staring at you asking to be  played can be just the impetus to pick up practice time here and there where it otherwise might not seem it could exist.


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

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#12 2008-03-28 04:12:30

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Indigo, I think maybe you are referring to Yokoyama sensei. He played Rokudan with tamane, flutter tongueing, for practice. Nezasa ha is a school's name, and one of their famous techniques is komi-buki. But, nevertheless, rokudan is a great skill building and maintaining piece.

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#13 2008-03-28 06:17:05

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

There is a song called "Ikkan ryu Rokudan" which is basically a Nezasaha komibuki version of a melody which follows the same lines as the gaikyoku "Rokudan". It's a good piece.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#14 2008-03-28 11:19:19

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Thanks Brian, I don't think I've heard that before. I'll look for it.  Does it sound more like a sankyoku or a honkyoku peice? Also, is it usually played solo?

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#15 2008-03-28 16:32:06

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

It is part of the Jin Nyodo repertoire. It's in his notation.  It is a Nezasaha adaptation of "Rokudan" into honkyoku. Solo piece.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#16 2008-03-30 23:18:06

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Interesting comments about various things such as the length of time needed depending on the innate talent of the individual and his or her current level of ability, the quality of the time spent, the need for consistency in practice; all those things are important, I think, especially the need for a consistent practice.   Personally, I find that playing for about a half an hour a day is enough to keep my current level of ability, but to make progress I need to practice for at least an hour.  If I don't have any time I agree with Brian in trying to at least play ten minutes a day of long tones.  Someone commented on dividing up the practice into blocks of time; I think that's also good as one can sometimes  lose concentration when playing for a long time at a stretch; I usually play for half an hour or so on my lunch break and then play again in the evening after arriving home; I'd like to play more in the early morning upon waking but don't know if the neighborhood would appreciate that too much.  It's better to play when one is feeling energetic but I try to get in a practice every day no matter how I'm feeling.    Concerning rokudan, I've been playing that piece almost every day for the last three months; it is a good workout and I'm going to try to keep that up for a year.  Currently I also play a couple of honkyoku a day from memory, and try to work on memorizing a new one, bit by bit; the rest of the time is spent working on whatever pieces I have to play for an upcoming event.  A few minutes a day spent on scales is good too, though that's something I've only started doing in the last couple of years.

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#17 2008-04-02 01:38:49

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

Concerning rokudan, I've been playing that piece almost every day for the last three months; it is a good workout and I'm going to try to keep that up for a year.

I'm glad to hear you say it because I thought maybe I was the only guy crazy enough to play it everyday. I also play "Midare" everyday. And guess what, I still am not satisfied with my playing on those. sad

Regarding "Rokudan" besides the Honte version there is of course Kaede and also the Akebono version (which means transposed up a fourth). Between those if you play with a koto player or another shakuhachi player you can do a lot of different versions. Because koto also has the equivalent of those variations. It's a deep piece.

If you play regular Rokudan on 2.4 for example a friend can play the Akebono version on 1.8 and they match up.

There's also a Tozan version which goes along nicely with the Kinko version if you have any Tozan buddies or vice versa.

I'm sure you know all that Ryudo, I'm mentioning it for the benefit of others.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#18 2008-04-02 02:13:17

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Actually I didn't know all of that; I'm only familiar with the honte and kaede versions of Rokudan. "Midare" is one of my favorite gaikyoku pieces; l try and play that one fairly often too; it's a fast one when going along with koto.  I think that Rokudan and Midare are two of the oldest pieces in the gaikyoku repertoire.

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#19 2008-04-02 02:36:38

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

The "akebono" version is the same melody but instead of being based on tsu-re tsu-ro, it's ha-ro ri-chi and so on.

John Singer and I did a duet at the NYC festival where he played the akebono version on an Edo period 1.7 and I played the honte version on an Edo period 2.3 just for laughs. We wanted to go back in time with the flutes as well as the music.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#20 2008-04-08 09:45:13

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Minimal practice time?

Thanks all for your advice, guidance, opinions and interesting digressions.

Thankfully I have been finding at least 30 min a day and as long as ten of these are spent on long tones I seem to be able to stay in place.

thanks!

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#21 2008-04-08 19:49:35

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Seth, 30 minutes is pretty good amount of practice for someone who's playing shakuhachi as a hobby.

Your time constraints are because of the new baby, right? I've played around a lot of babies and they are interesting. They like long flutes and low pitches and volumes. Maybe you could work "Kyorei" and "Hi Fu Mi Cho"  into your practice regime on your Neptune 2.0 while you are hanging out with Jr. ? Use that as an opportunity to memorize those pieces and you can combine practice with parenting.

This is a good thread. It has gotten me thinking seriously about what is a reasonable amount of practice everyday and what kind of things it would be good to do on a daily basis for maintenance. When I figure that out (for myself) I'll post a practice regime.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#22 2008-04-08 20:39:08

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

myself I do different practices to mantain & develop my skills..
I don't do them everyday but several times a week.

1)long tones with a drone or tuner (got to to work that intonation:-)
2)scales & some jazz exercises (every key:-)
3) ear training (learn tunes by ear-play them with shakuhachi) & chords/intervals. try to identify them by ear & play them back.
4) play some honkyoku or folk tunes or whatever piece I am working learning.
5) for school home work I have to write down jazz solos-I trye to play them with shakuhachi-sometime it works/sometimes no:-)

keeps me busy..
Ciao
Geni

Last edited by geni (2008-04-08 20:39:46)

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#23 2008-04-09 10:06:16

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

Re: Minimal practice time?

Here are links to two pages by John Kaizan Neptune on practice tips (posted elsewhere on the Forum):

     http://img439.imageshack.us/img439/1467 … ge10zs.jpg

     http://img439.imageshack.us/img439/2782 … ge23rl.jpg

eB


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

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#24 2008-04-12 01:23:56

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3223
Website

Re: Minimal practice time?

Hi Seth,

Believe it or not I have given a great deal of thought to this question of yours and here's what I recommend. You are a Jin Nyodo player so you should play this everyday:

1. 5 minutes ro
2. "Choshi" or "Daiwagaku". From memory.
3. "Rokudan"
4. Nezasaha "Shirabe"
5. Kinko Ryu "Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi"

This covers all the main aspects of the Jin Nyodo repertoire which are gaikyoku, Myoan honkyoku, Nezasaha honkyoku, and Kinko honkyoku. Those prelude pieces incorporate most of the techniques you need to play the other Myoan, Nezasaha and Kinko honkyoku respectively so daily practice of them should keep your playing sharp.

I think this whole workout would be about 40 minutes. On days when you have more time work on more tunes.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#25 2008-04-12 11:15:17

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Minimal practice time?

Tairaku wrote:

Hi Seth,

Believe it or not I have given a great deal of thought to this question of yours and here's what I recommend. You are a Jin Nyodo player so you should play this everyday:

1. 5 minutes ro
2. "Choshi" or "Daiwagaku". From memory.
3. "Rokudan"
4. Nezasaha "Shirabe"
5. Kinko Ryu "Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi"

This covers all the main aspects of the Jin Nyodo repertoire which are gaikyoku, Myoan honkyoku, Nezasaha honkyoku, and Kinko honkyoku. Those prelude pieces incorporate most of the techniques you need to play the other Myoan, Nezasaha and Kinko honkyoku respectively so daily practice of them should keep your playing sharp.

I think this whole workout would be about 40 minutes. On days when you have more time work on more tunes.

Ah! This is a great approach. Thank you!

One day we will all have to work together in going through all of the posts on this forum to create an index of the most instructional ones as there are many golden nuggets among the hundreds of highly entertaining but less instructional banter posts.   And the one above is surely a keeper.    (And maybe you can publish them in the next book by the International Shakuhachi Society.)

Thanks again.

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