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What is 1st,2nd and 3rd?
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Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: 2014-05-19, 20:21    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

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Hello all,
Thank you for the welcoming me in the Teahouse.
I am soon to receive my first Shakuhachi. I considered a few options including wood, non root end and the ABS Yuu.
I decided to go ahead with a root end 1.8 Chinese tiger Madake in D from J L Peilhon.
Aesthetically and authentically more pleasing than the other options as well as having no financial implications of importing from outside of Europe.

I have no reason for the following comment except a general feeling from all I have read so far.
That is......... I am guessing the other options may have made for an easier start?

However Jean-Lucs creation will come with a 'whistle' to keep me amused initially.
I will be keen to gain a good embouchure and breath support as soon as I can though.

Which brings me to starting a progression diary.
When the flute arrives and everything is OK, What is the first skill I need to acquire?
And then, it maybe that I need to split my concentration on 2 or 3 tasks at once?

Don't worry, I do not expect to get detailed lessons from the thread free on a weekly basis Embarassed but hopefully you can start me off here?
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2014-05-19, 20:29    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

First skill? Patience.
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-05-20, 18:50    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

I believe that you were right to take Shakuhachi made by Jean-Luc PEILHON. Okay

The advice of Felix is is the best advice which we can give you to begin! (After also moreover Mr. Green ).
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Don't give up. Nomally it is the last key on the ring which opens the door. (Paulo Coelho).
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2014-05-20, 19:49    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Tenderfoot,

1) Make sure you hold the shakuhachi correctly: Close all the holes - only the index fingers and ring fingers are used on both hands and the thumb on one hand - usually the left hand (it doesn't really matter which hand you have below). The middle fingers on both hands should never leave the shakuhachi. The should be placed between hole 1 and 2, and then between hole 3 and 4 (you count the holes from the bottom end and the thumb hole is 5) and stay there. Keep an eye with yourself because lots of people who have played on flutes with more holes open them automatically. Before you blow into the flute try to balance it between the middle finger and thumb of the lowest hand (usually right hand). When the flute is in balance and it feels good for both these two fingers - you most probably hold these fingers as they should be placed also when you play. I have noticed if people begin to blow into the flute before they really think about how the hold the flute with these two fingers, they may hold them very awkwardly. And that is not good when considering these two fingers basically carry the weight of the flute. It can result in injuries. Now you can place your shakuhachi to your chin and blow.

2) Teaching how to place the shakuhachi on your chin is impossible without seeing you - as we all have different chins. However, if your flute is a standard 1.8 tuned to D make sure you get a D (one note above middle C on a piano) when all holes are closed (ro is the name of this note), Then opening hole 1 (remember it it counted from the bottom of the flute) it should produce F (tsu), opening 1 and 2 = G (re), and opening 1,2,3 = A (chi). The next note is C with 1,2 and 5 closed and 3, 4 open (ri or ha depending on school). The octave above ro is 1 and 2 closed the rest open which produces a D. Unless you have perfect pitch, I can recommend to work in the beginning with a tuner in order to make sure they are in tune right on D F G A C. These notes are your basics. It is very important they are in tune. If you are flat on these notes you will have a lot of trouble producing the meri notes where you lower your head and pitch. And since the meri notes are what makes shakuhachi music really special... it is good to leave enough space for them by having your kari notes right. Try to refine these 5 notes so you have least noise when playing them.

After this comes lesson no. 2. Smile

Have fun! Okay
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Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: 2014-05-20, 23:20    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Many Thanks to you all,
My 1.8 in D has arrived today, it looks and feels great.

I have had about 1.5 hours tonight. It is clear already that the advise is good. Remaining relaxed and patient as key ingredients, is easy to see with the pre warning, it eases and curbs the idea of "I'm never going to get this."

I don't want to use the whistle really as the full expression seems to come from the connection of the persons ability to tell the story via the embouchure. Whilst it allowed me to play a scale straight away, it already could not match the colour of the single notes I managed from time to time without it.
So I'm sure you wont be surprised to hear that my greatest success so far producing a full steady note comes from nowhere. I cannot pinpoint yet why I have a dozen failures to a couple of inconsistent warbles and then finally, after going through that sort of ratio a few times out pops a solid fat gorgeous ro (thanks for the note names Kiku) which I am able to sustain and move to tsu and sometimes even re without too much loss.
But alas, I maybe able to repeat this one or two more times before I end up back with no notes at all.
On reflection I think that
1) although I am consciously blowing soft, it is still too hard.
2) Focus on keeping a very small embouchure opening drifts away and I get it too large while searching for the sweet spot angle.
3) My lips/brain have no memory what so ever yet.

My expectation is that I will not get to consistent,well tuned 5 notes for at least a couple of months and that does not bother me. If it takes 3 weeks or 3 months so be it, I realise there are slow periods and hopefully faster ones when a few pieces come together at once. I have learned over the years the rewards are sweeter when the basics have been learned well so hopefully I can keep this in mind all the time.
In an effort to keep the thread interesting for future tenderfeet, I will try to only post significant progress on previous advise and real problem areas I hit along the way.
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2014-05-21, 09:26    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Your first point about "blowing" is interesting 'cos I think it is more useful to use the word "breathing", since it is I think subtly different. Sometimes I found the note weak because I wasn't "breathing" hard enough across the utaguchi, pushing with my diaphragm.
Also, make sure you are aware of how well you cover the holes with your fingers….even a tiny leak will mess up your efforts even if all else is totally perfect.
You'll be surprising yourself for years rather than months as you develop.
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kongwee
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PostPosted: 2014-05-22, 07:15    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Keep blowing it. Okay
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Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: 2014-05-24, 18:05    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Day 1 Tuesday 20th May 2014
1st goal = achieve a note.
1.5 hr Got some notes sometimes and sometimes the tone was strong.
No idea how in tune they were or how I got them.

Day 2
another 1.5 hours achieved less notes and less often but stricter pattern to breath control and embouchure was probably still progression without luck of day 1

day 3
Got notes straight away but not as strong and stable as my best to date but felt some consistency. Still spent more time overall in silence but felt some stability and strength at periods through the session gave it a break after 40 mins and picked it up later.....
Much more success in ratio of achieving a note over all as opposed to not getting a sound but rarely was there any strength to maintain or change note. Total time 2 hours.

day 4
2nd goal = Get consistent with Ro and Tsu with a tuner building strength and full sound.
Achieved a tone on all 5 note 80% of the time. may be weak most of the time and stronger going up, weaker coming down. Forgot to use tuner...doh!

Day 5
Used tuner this morning but made the video without it just to concentrate on 30 seconds of noise. So no tuning concentration on the video really, just wanted to put out my current stage for some welcome advise. Positives are that I can get a tone (it is a bit better than through my lap top microphone but I’m aware it is not good yet). I want to know how it can become stronger and more stable so any advise if you can see the embouchure or breathing. I also feel like i’m honing in on a better embouchure position against the flute.
Negatives, short lived immature (obviously) notes and dizziness.
Is there anything you can see that I need to stop straight away because it is a bad habit?

Here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWr14lO9JsU&feature=youtu.be
I hope it is not too painful to see it through Crying or Very sad
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kongwee
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PostPosted: 2014-05-25, 09:17    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

You could buy some beginner books come with CD and train from there.
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Plume Blanche
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PostPosted: 2014-05-25, 11:50    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

After only 5 days it's good.

Record as often as possible and listen to the result.
As you must know it, with wind instruments we hear not the same thing when we play, when what the others hear when they listen to.
And listen to what we play allows to realize better where are the problems.

Goes on ! Okay
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Wolf
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PostPosted: 2014-05-25, 17:18    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

It takes a while before you get a strong sound. The red flag in your last post was dizziness, which means there’s something wrong in the breathing, probably a lot of air getting lost needlessly. The goal is to get a steady focused stream of air, pushing from the diaphragm, not the chest.
A tip that has helped me a lot is to hold your hand in front of your mouth, maybe 10cm distance in between and blow on your hand. This way you can feel the amount of focus of your air stream. Make this focus as small as possible. The lips play a really big part in this and it should help you overall with stronger notes, longer breath and avoid getting dizzy.
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2014-05-26, 12:17    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Looking at your video I'd say "Sit up!!"
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Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: 2014-06-03, 21:45    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Thank you for your comments.
As my tone and embouchure become more consistent and successful, I have hit a fork in the road.
I notice,
1)Sometimes I get a real strong tone where the air speed seems fast and the shakuhachi is full of volume and vibration can be felt in my finger tips.
2)Other times the tone is not so full and although from my air support the air speed should be the same, I think my embouchure / angle has not allowed the same volume. On these occasions, difference is not intended in my approach and its hard for me to detect whats changed.

The things is that the fuller sound is harder to keep control of on higher Otsu notes than the less full sound.
I would have suspected the fuller sound to be the way to go had it not been for the fact control was easier the other way.

When I read this back, it feels like it has the hall marks over blowing when I talk of the full sound. But actually I don't think that is the case....its the same support but I hit a sweet spot with embouchure and angle. Strange this does not allow the same or better control as I play up nearer toward Kan.

Is this common ? I guess they have to merge at some point but.....
is it better to keep going on the advanced control of the range hoping the tone will catch up ?
or stick with the tone hoping the range will catch up?
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2014-06-04, 22:36    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

Tenderfoot, are you aware of the "Mujitsu and Tairaku's Shakuhachi BBQ" website? It's a huge mine of information.
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Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: 2014-06-05, 10:54    Post subject: What is 1st,2nd and 3rd? Reply with quote

felix martens wrote:
Tenderfoot, are you aware of the "Mujitsu and Tairaku's Shakuhachi BBQ" website? It's a huge mine of information.


I am now.
I think I saw it sometime before as well but you know, with limited browsing time I thought the ESS would suffice but it i'm finding it is quite a sleepy place Mr. Green .

I'll take your post as a recommendation and sneak over there now.
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