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#1 2010-02-09 15:51:53

mayberryjl
Member
From: Miami Florida
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 29
Website

As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

The jokes on me...I would pick an instrument that anyone with a hollow tube and a file can make, but only a zen master can play properly....sigh. Inhale count to five and blow again...the zen is there somewhere i hear it. I think.


Growing feathers is easy.  It's the flying that takes practice.
~JLM

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#2 2010-02-09 15:57:06

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

To try and find the zen is to lose already. smile just be. wink

Last edited by purehappiness (2010-02-09 15:57:43)


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

Lieh-tzu

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#3 2010-02-09 16:44:44

mayberryjl
Member
From: Miami Florida
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 29
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

What's the sound of one hand clapping?

The sound of an angry mother...... :-P


Growing feathers is easy.  It's the flying that takes practice.
~JLM

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#4 2010-02-09 20:47:59

Todd Frederick
Member
From: Dos Palos CA USA
Registered: 2009-08-29
Posts: 70

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

If only a Zen Master can play a tube with holes properly, how many years will it take me to be a Zen Master and play it properly. Whatever I play in this moment in time is it's own reward and I know I will never be a Zen Master (even if I wanted to be such).

Note:

Within the very short time I've been playing-around with the shakuhachi and looking in on websites and forums I find an interesting parallel to my other life-long passion, photography.  Photographers get very hung up on gear, brand names, vintage equipment, medium options (film and digital), alternative processes, and, of course "photographic Masters." I'm amused that the same materialistic issues arise with shakuhachi as they do with photography. I guess it takes a Zen Master to be totally "unattached."  big_smile

I appreciate John Roshi Lorri's devotion to both Zen and photography.

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#5 2010-02-11 15:47:18

mayberryjl
Member
From: Miami Florida
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 29
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

The parallel is definately present with my paintings as well.  I can create with any medium (or at least give it a good college try), but I have my preffered attachments.  Oils and acrylics, sumi and mostly brushes...none of them are really needed as long as I have some sort of pigments and something to put it on....

And the sounds keep sounding better. The animals didn't run in fear today, just got some shady looks as they rolled over in the other direction


Growing feathers is easy.  It's the flying that takes practice.
~JLM

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#6 2010-02-11 21:07:39

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

So, a lot of digital ink has been spilled about zen and shakuhachi, and it's gotten some feathers ruffled and some forums closed, but this much is clear: as with Zen, so it is with shakuhachi; you'll get further faster with a teacher.

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#7 2010-02-11 21:24:23

Todd Frederick
Member
From: Dos Palos CA USA
Registered: 2009-08-29
Posts: 70

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Why does everyone promote teachers...is Shakuhachi a business? I can't afford a teacher!  Period! My interest in Shakuhachi was to help me relax...one note at a time. Instead...it's caused me more stress. I need to go back to my Native American Flute! That's wonderful.

Last edited by Todd Frederick (2010-02-11 21:28:05)

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#8 2010-02-11 22:23:28

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Todd Frederick wrote:

Why does everyone promote teachers...is Shakuhachi a business? I can't afford a teacher!  Period! My interest in Shakuhachi was to help me relax...one note at a time. Instead...it's caused me more stress. I need to go back to my Native American Flute! That's wonderful.

If you leave you're not the first person who came to this forum and gave up shakuhachi for the same reason. True, shakuhachi can be a bit frustrating to get a sound out of depending on how you approach it. It will almost always be elusive, but if you approach it correctly it won't be frustrating. And..., it's very true that teachers tend to push students out of their comfort zone, often I think too much, and it can be frustrating but some significant portion of time with the instrument outside your comfort zone is necessary to improve.

In a previous post to you I suggested a lesson from Chikuzen. You responded saying that you couldn't afford lessons. I left it at that, but notice that I said "a" lesson, singular. I'm sure a lot of serious students might be getting riled at this suggestion right now, but you wanted to take the ultra relaxed path. If the only flutes you played before were fipple flutes and Native American flutes you're going to need someone experienced to show you how to get those first notes. For $40 bucks you can get that from a super-qualified expert.

Then, since you're taking the super relaxed route, get a teaching book, probably another $40 or so, take all the time in the world to learn all the notes you can. You'll probably have some problems with the meri notes, so in another 6 months or a year you can go back and take another lesson. You're going to be practicing those meri notes for a long time before any song you play that uses them will sound good anyway, so go off and work with the book some more. That can keep you busy for a good deal more time, particularly if try to learn every song in the book.

At that point you can probably do everything and more than you can do with a Native American flute, so maybe you'll be satisfied. Or maybe you'll be inspired to learn some more difficult repertoire and with some more regular lessons with a teacher. It's your choice.


"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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#9 2010-02-12 01:14:25

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

hi Todd. Shakuhachi is a bussiness (mostly in the red;-). Anyway, if you are serious about it I can give you a free lesson.(Skype)
peace
G

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#10 2010-02-12 06:27:29

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Todd Frederick wrote:

Why does everyone promote teachers...is Shakuhachi a business? I can't afford a teacher!  Period! My interest in Shakuhachi was to help me relax...one note at a time. Instead...it's caused me more stress. I need to go back to my Native American Flute! That's wonderful.

Don't give up. Even if you do it on your own. smile smile

The one thing about zen and shakuhachi is that when you don't try it just happens. Or should I say don't force it(when playing that is or life in general).That is one thing about japanese philosophy. They do not believe in fighting nature.Why not just go with the flow of things. Its a lot easier. smile Otherwise, you are just fighting the way the universe wants to do things.

Last edited by purehappiness (2010-02-12 06:51:45)


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

Lieh-tzu

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#11 2010-02-12 07:44:43

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Hey, I think life is all about Zen...let it be art, working, walking just everything...For me, as I understand Zen  it is really simple, not simple for my mind yet but it really is just reduced to the very importend things in life, that is why zen gardens look so pretty for my eyes.

Maybe my english is to bad to explain my point of view yet...But maybe someone will get it.

Shakuhachi is like every art, if you want take it to another lvl you have to do it very often. Even if you do it without a teacher, (as I can say with my limited expirence) there will be the point where nothing happends anymore. I started playing Shakuhachi a year ago and my only aim was to relax an meditate by noodling arround some notes and then after a few months there was the point where I started to thing about getting really better cause I was frustrated by just blowing some notes on this instrument, but notice I dont started study cause I was frustrated like the normal way. I thought there is something behind the music and the instrument and it can be an instrument of mind blowing expirences. As I know now there is something behind...I dont know how to tell it but there is a state in mind that can be reached by playing Shakuhachi...It takes you to another view and it really developes something in ourselfs. But it is still a long road to go.

All the best,

Christopher


In reality it is Ha,Ro,Ha,Ro... ~Sensei~
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How do you know that life is a dream? Cause there is a way to wake up!
http://naturalbreath.wordpress.com/

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#12 2010-02-12 07:56:17

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

It is a meditation. A place to reach no thought. A place of complete harmony and peace.Like a zen garden. In my opinion.

Last edited by purehappiness (2010-02-12 07:56:32)


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

Lieh-tzu

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#13 2010-02-12 11:23:13

Matt Lyon
Member
From: North Eastern Oregon
Registered: 2009-06-30
Posts: 92

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Todd Frederick wrote:

Why does everyone promote teachers...is Shakuhachi a business? I can't afford a teacher!  Period! My interest in Shakuhachi was to help me relax...one note at a time. Instead...it's caused me more stress. I need to go back to my Native American Flute! That's wonderful.

The reason I personally think teachers are needed is because the more I learn the more I realize how difficult it would be to do it on my own. That and the shakuhachi is an oral tradition. The scores are just a reminder. This is probably not quite so true on some of the modern pieces tho. In my last lesson I learned how to pop kan chi and have the otsu E tones come out. This was on a more modern piece but it is something I would have never thought of doing by myself.

However, if meditation is your goal then whatever path you take is fine because the goal is not really the instrument.

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#14 2010-02-12 12:38:47

Todd Frederick
Member
From: Dos Palos CA USA
Registered: 2009-08-29
Posts: 70

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

I did not realize my comment would arouse such an abundance of fine responses.

With the help of another member here, I have come to the point slowly of being able to produce all notes with more consistency every time I practice.

Geni, I appreciate the offer for a free lesson. Setting us a Skype system is the hurdle to jump right now. Possibly later.

I am not frustrated (except with trying to learn all the Japanese terms and musical notation) but, otherwise I'm not giving up on this, and I do appreciate all your suggestions, help and encouragement. I will progress slowly but I am always pleased with every tiny step I make.

As with other musicians, who play a multitude of instruments, I like to work with other style flutes from time to time including NAF, Guena, and tranverse varieties (not that I am a "master" of any of those either). The flute is the only instrument I have ever been able to come close to playing, the shakuhachi being the greatest challenge.

My apology for my strong negative reaction to "a teacher would help." I understand and agree. Frustration, and the lack of a shakuhachi community where I live, brings on frustration, often loosening the mouth to make regrettable comments from time to time.

Blessings, Todd

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#15 2010-02-12 13:45:40

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Todd Frederick wrote:

Why does everyone promote teachers...is Shakuhachi a business? I can't afford a teacher!  Period! My interest in Shakuhachi was to help me relax...one note at a time. Instead...it's caused me more stress. I need to go back to my Native American Flute! That's wonderful.

Dos Palos isn't exactly overflowing with shakuhachi teachers, is it?

I suppose you can get by in Native American Flute with a good, simple cedar instrument. I've seen as much "gold watch" attitude with Native American Flute instrument makers as I've seen with shakuhachi people. Maybe even more -- although that's doubtful. smile

So you don't have teachers in Native American Flute? None? Is there a set of traditional music set to learn? Is it all just play-as-you-go ?

No Taizan Ha Meian (Myoan) shakuhachi teachers on Skype who I know of.

Phil Nyokai James is out of the picture, only temporarily we hope, for Skype lessons.

Michael Chikusen Gould is on Skype. He teaches min'yo before he starts taking you through honkyoku. He teaches Yokoyama-style Dokyoku which is pretty involved stuff, but he also teaches some Meian and Kinko music. I haven't had one-to-one lessons with him but his workshop teaching is just exceptional.

Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin would be a good Skype (or digital or cassette exchange) teacher for you. He teaches a traditional approach to learning the music itself with a beginning course of folk music (min'yo) and ensemble (sankyoku) music before getting into the most difficult music (honkyoku).

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos teaches Skype, I believe. He's a Watazumi and Yokoyama-style Dokyoku master.

I wish Tairaku taught via Skype. His approach to shakuhachi is rooted in good traditional music, strongly  informed by jazz and rock, and  filtered through his own unique musical and philosophical personality. He plays some of Takashi Tokuyama's traditional pieces which are very nice.

I wish more people taught Tokuyama and Taizan Ha music via Skype. It's still very difficult to play correctly and a long learning curve, but the music itself is more direct. Less doo-dads, but the doo-dads you do learn have to be really solid.

Actually, just for relaxation, you can always find a nice cave or canyon or good concrete stairwell and just noodle and be happy with that. I think you'll get bored with that after a while, though. Maybe not. Do you get bored while playing Native American Flute?

Personally, I think any music, if taken seriously, requires a teacher. I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to teach myself music over the years.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#16 2010-02-12 13:48:36

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

I was going to say that without a teacher you will run out of ideas.


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

Lieh-tzu

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#17 2010-02-12 19:50:20

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

purehappiness wrote:

I was going to say that without a teacher you will run out of ideas.

That may be the most succinct and relevant reason I've heard on the subject. Really.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#18 2010-02-12 20:10:37

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

also , depends from the goal. What you want to do with it & about it. The goal makes the difference (in life & music;-).

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#19 2010-02-12 20:16:06

mayberryjl
Member
From: Miami Florida
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 29
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

At this point I'm just noodling around on a piece of plastic, but I get sounds that I like and I listen to as many honkyoku as I can find on youtube....so when the sound doesn't come I just let my mind fill it in as I keep blowing.  To be honest I kind of like that sound of the breath before it hits the sweet spot and blossoms into a tone.  Sorta reminds me of the old barn my grandparents had.  It would catch the breeze just perfectly and the the whole thing would sing, but you never really knew when it would happen so ya just had to be patient.  Throw in some barn swallows and an owl and you can call that my nirvana.

But my notes come a lot more often than that old barn....so that makes me happy


Growing feathers is easy.  It's the flying that takes practice.
~JLM

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#20 2010-02-12 21:45:02

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

I just had a guy come into Chado who was visiting from Western Australia, where there are no teachers. He wanted to hear me play, but I offered him a free lesson. He could barely make a sound and was playing 1/2 step flat. After 30 minutes he was able to play the scale in otsu in tune and with a fairly good tone.

That's what one lesson can do.

Chris Moran wrote:

I wish Tairaku taught via Skype. His approach to shakuhachi is rooted in good traditional music, strongly  informed by jazz and rock, and  filtered through his own unique musical and philosophical personality. He plays some of Takashi Tokuyama's traditional pieces which are very nice.

I looked at his notation and listened to the recordings and play them. I don't know if I'm doing them "right" or not, so I can only take responsibility for my own renditions, it might be irresponsible to teach them. Although I suppose guys like Watazumi and Jin Nyodo just went out and learned stuff and played them their own way and taught that.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#21 2010-02-12 22:14:22

mayberryjl
Member
From: Miami Florida
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 29
Website

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

I'm (hopefully) going to be in New York in April.  If anyone would be so kind as to show me some things I would be very greatful and would probably send you a painting


Growing feathers is easy.  It's the flying that takes practice.
~JLM

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#22 2010-02-13 06:48:42

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Perry yung lives in new york. smile

Anyway though. Whatever makes you happy is what counts.

Last edited by purehappiness (2010-02-13 06:49:30)


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

Lieh-tzu

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#23 2010-02-13 08:34:15

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

purehappiness wrote:

Perry yung lives in new york. smile

Along with Ronnie Selden, James Schlefer, Ralph Samuelson, and some other teachers. They all have students in the city too. NYC is a major hotspot for shakuhachi in the US.


"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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#24 2010-02-14 10:11:00

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

Todd Frederick wrote:

I did not realize my comment would arouse such an abundance of fine responses.

The topic comes up every once and a while, it was a less heated discussion this time.

Todd Frederick wrote:

Geni, I appreciate the offer for a free lesson. Setting us a Skype system is the hurdle to jump right now. Possibly later.

Aside from missing out on a free lesson from someone who can really get around on the instrument (the dude's playing real jazz), you're probably missing out on video calls from relatives who you'd really like to see. Unless you are on antiquated equipment it shouldn't be much of a hurdle. 

Todd Frederick wrote:

As with other musicians, who play a multitude of instruments, I like to work with other style flutes from time to time including NAF, Guena, and tranverse varieties (not that I am a "master" of any of those either). The flute is the only instrument I have ever been able to come close to playing, the shakuhachi being the greatest challenge.

It sounds similar to my background. If you got quena and transverse flutes you've got shakuhachi... at least the easy notes that you get by just opening and closing the holes. You can get the half-holed notes from a book. The way shakuhachi is designed you can get 10 of the notes in a chromatic scale that way. The other two involve half holing and moving the head at the same time to bring the pitch down. That's where you might need a teacher. And, of course, for anything more advanced. At least that's what happened for me, I noodled around on my own for a good year and a half before I started wanting to do more. Noodling isn't completely worthless, you can get better at it and make it sound musical just by doing it a lot. 

BUT...you had earlier posted something about trying and liking some wierd tongue position that was only supposed to be for long, wide bore shakuahchi. Sorry, I think you need a teacher.

Todd Frederick wrote:

My apology for my strong negative reaction to "a teacher would help." I understand and agree. Frustration, and the lack of a shakuhachi community where I live, brings on frustration, often loosening the mouth to make regrettable comments from time to time.

Didn't you just say earlier in the post I'm responding to that you weren't frustrated? Never mind that, I'm sure your apology is accepted by all and probably wasn't even required. It's just that noob's (like me) come onto the board and ask questions that are almost impossible for an individual of average writing ability to answer clearly. At the same time you've got a popular teacher here (Chikuzen) that for $40 gives an awesome introductory Skype lesson. And if you're concerned, when I took mine he didn't at all try to pressure me to continue.

If it were like Irish traditional music I'd say skip the lesson/s and get yourself down to the session at the local bar and hang with the musicians there. But it's not. So even for the non-serious student, reasonably priced teachers online seem to be the best option.


"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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#25 2010-02-14 10:19:35

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

Re: As the dog peeks around the corner in wonderment....

My, how you do run on. None are zealots like the converted [back in ancient times, this guy was Mr. "I don' need no steeeeeekin' LESSONS!!"]

Last edited by edosan (2010-02-14 10:20:17)


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

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