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my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-03-01, 12:58    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

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Kiku Day wrote:
\
Chikuzen, do you mind linking to the post with the claim that a the student without a teacher has a "wider range of learning experience"... then it is easier to follow...



Seems like Chikuzen latched onto this post Kiku. 党いつも! Embarassed

RickM wrote:


Okay, well, here's my take on not having a teacher. It's kind of like being self-educated in that the self-educated person will often have gaps in his knowledge and probably will never realize it, because he doesn't know what all there is to be known about a subject. But what he likely does have is a wider range of learning experiences that give him a knowledge and understanding that are unique to him.
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2012-03-01, 16:17    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Yes... very common and, from my vantage point, utterly misguided point of view. The "self-educated" person is basically cozily sticking to his/her little nest of conditioned responses and habits. Only a teacher can expand your technique by modelling new ways and passing them on skilfully and hands on. Only modelling and learning from different teachers will you get a true "wider range of learning experiences".
I speak from experience because, being an obsessive multi instrumentalist, and having played music professionally for almost forty years, I've made different choices with different instruments. On those that I chose to be "self educated", I can play fairly well and I do have "my own" sound that may be "unique to me", but I know I'm extremely limited in my range of expression and technique. Those instruments that I'm very serious about (Shakuhachi, Djembe, Guitar, Sitar), I've made a point of traveling and studying with more than one teacher, ideally in their country of origin... for years (three in Japan, three in India, Africa, Spain, etc...) I can assure you the difference is enormous! (and I still have "my own" sound).
Again, though... ultimately... there's only one rule: whatever works for you!... John Lee Hooker was (mostly) self taught and he certainly kicked ass (despite obvious limitations)
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Daniel Ryudo
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PostPosted: 2012-03-01, 18:03    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Interesting what Chikuzen said about studying one sect in depth, as I suppose that is what I've been doing, as I continue to learn Kinko Chikudosha honkyoku pieces and sankyoku (shirofu notation) after taking a junshihan menkyo( after about six years study) and then a shihan menkyo (after another seven). Still have only played about 60 sankyoku pieces out of the approximately 120 in our repertoire. I can't imagine going through that many pieces in just a couple of years as some have done but then I'm not doing shakuhachi full time nor am I prodigiously musically talented. I have gotten some quite different training doing the occasional workshop with Yokoyama Katsuya's group over the years, which has been good experience too, but I probably listen to too much rock n roll in my free time so I haven't yet heard or tried to imitate all the styles of shakuhachi. Maybe my chance is coming up in Kyoto this June. Very Happy
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2012-03-01, 19:10    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Yes, I get it now. Thanks, Tairaku.
I think Chikuzen's opinion is correct for the vast majority of us. There are exceptions of extremely musical people (as Pepe mentions). but they don't belong in a normal human category. So yes, for most of us we need teachers that have a background knowledge of years and years (nor to say centuries) of trial and fail and experiments of playing. For the vast majority of us we take the shortcut when learning from a teacher.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-03-01, 23:48    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

One of the first things James Nyoraku told me when I started studying was that shakuhachi is a Buddhist instrument, which is a good thing because you need several incarnations before you get anywhere with it.
Mort de Rire
Or something like that.
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Daniel Ryudo
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 03:16    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Several incarnations are definitely necessary, at least in my case, as even for the 60 some sankyoku pieces that I have played, many were rushed through, at the instigation of my sensei, so that if I was thrown into a room with a koto or shamisen player and told to play a particular piece I'd probably only do a decent job on half of them, if that... I have to agree with Kiku that those extremely musical people don't belong in a normal human category. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) keeps track of such folks so one day we'll know where they're really from. Then there are people with Williams syndrome who can sing operatic arias in more than thirty languages. And the synesthesiasists who can experience different pitches in various colors or flavors. I'm just waiting for my suppressed savant potential to come to the surface Cool
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chikuzen
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 05:55    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

The problem with playing so many sankyoku pieces is that you become a sankyoku playing "being". The mentality and way of doing things is so much different then a soloist. I'm not bashing that if that's your goal, but that's the thing that the historical legacy has left us. A sankyoku mentality doesn't need to know or have anything to do with "buddhist" music. Would be better for you to meditate and than study honkyoku. The road to honkyoku leads to self referencial playing, not upholding any tradition beyond a certain point. And the tradition will help you but then limit you according to it's built in devices.
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chikuzen
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 06:38    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

I don't think several incarnations are neccesary anymore. However, in Japan it's the "50 dollar a note 20 yr. plan" for sure. Well grounded but well grounded forever. Professionals in sankyoku learn not only the shakuhachi part but know the koto part and the shamisen and the voice. So, "learning" and "being able to play a song" have different levels of meanig. A teacher knows this. The teacher may have confidence that you have a certain level of ability and IF you practice a piece for a certain peroid of time, you'll be able to play it at a certain level. Even top level pros in Japan, if they really want to play an ensemble piece well, will practice that piece for up to 6 months with the other players before a big event. That's what "top level" means. Learning the shakuhachi part and playing it at "some" level with somebody is a different thing. So thik about it, you are talking about 60 pieces? Ok, you learn 10 pieces at 6 different levels of difficulty so you can play each piece at the same level. After that, you have to play with somebody again and again to learn their idiosyncracies and develop something special between the two of you. It's called "specialization". This level of specialization isn't what is approached in getting a Shihan. It's way beyond that. Look at why why Kwasuke Junsuke didn't give David Wheeler his name and shihan for a long time. The level is very different. I don't know the realities involved but the level he held David to was very very high. In contrast, the Yokoyama school is very strong in it's solo music and in playing modern music with the koto, but not at all in in tradition of sankyoku and kokyoku. Yokoyama didn't even teach most sankykou himself but had his other students do that. So, when people ask me , if they want to specialize in samkyoku, I would send them to David as he is a specialist. If they like honkyoku, the Watazumi Yokoyama line uses a larger variety of sounds and works much better. Depends on what your goals are. Of course, as far as the human experience goes, you can have the ultimate humans spiritual expeirence from day one even though you can barely get a sound. It's not that after you play for 20 years you R going to have a great "spiritual" experience or be aligned more "spiritually". That's a laugh. Like meditation. It could happen day one, or it may happen after 50 years. In the big picture, one day and 50 years are the same thng. You will probably be a much better shakuhachi player after 20 years but what you experience is measured differently. Commitment, for even a moment is one key. Becomg self referencial is also another great goal in that it requires total commitment each moment.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 07:23    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

If you check out this link there is some very beautiful honkyoku playing. Maybe it's David Wheeler.

http://www.shakucamp.com/japan-eng.html

(edit) I just checked, yes it's Wheeler. Even if he studied a lot of gaikyoku his honkyoku is also great.
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chikuzen
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 08:21    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

I never said they weren't great. I said the variety of sounds is limited. There are great sounds and great players in every sect. I was talking about variety. For example, the word "mura iki" is used in the kinko sect but it has a very different meaning when coming from the expereince of playing "mura iki" in the Yokoyama sect. In my opinion, there is no mura iki in the Kinko sect. It is relative but the reality of the difference in the sound is real. When I was in Boulder listening to Yamaguchi Goro play, thet tanslater used the word mura iki to explain his sound, but the sound that came out was not mura iki to me. For my students, I have a very clear defintion of what the word mura iki means. Yamaguchi Goro did not use mura iki as he had an operation on his neck early in life and he couldn't blow that with the high air speed that creates the turbulance for mura ii. He was, still great, at what he did.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 08:29    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

You've got to teach me how to make muraiki I still haven't figured it out. Sometimes I make "noise". Shocked Mr. Green Exclamation Question Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 13:03    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments on sankyoku, Chikuzen, which were quite to the point, and good to mull over. I'm certainly not interested in becoming a sankyoku playing "being" and I realize that every time one plays a sankyoku piece with a different koto or shamisen player or several players that it becomes a different experience as one has to adjust to the rhythm and way of playing of those musicians. I made that comment about sixty sankyoku partly in response to Justin's post on doing extensive work with sankyoku in a two year period which I don't think is possible for most of us mortal beings, though I'm not doubting his statement. So in terms of experience playing sankyoku pieces in ensemble a number of times with the same player or different players then my repertoire would go down to about ten or fifteen pieces that I've played fairly regularly or spent some months training seriously with a koto player for a concert. My goal is not being able to play 60 or more sankyoku and I'm not actually learning them from my sensei anymore (who did race me through about 60 of them), though he'll criticize my playing and correct me on a sankyoku piece prior to a concert with his group. For the last couple of years, after only visiting my sensei infrequently (mainly for our group's yearly recital) for a number of years after taking my shihan license, I've started learning honkyoku from him on a regular basis, which I enjoy playing more than sankyoku, though I have come to appreciate sankyoku a good bit more in recent times than I did before. I do have another weekly lesson playing with a koto/shamisen player, which has going now for about three years; so, yes, trying to play consistently with one person and develop something there, and so to keep working on the sankyoku pieces. But we do have muraiki, at least in Shika No Tone; our version of Tone is different from Yamaguchi Goro's.
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PostPosted: 2012-03-02, 16:08    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

That's funny Brian. After learning how to play mura iki one of my students said with a somewhat disappointed grin, "great, now I'm a noisy shakuhachi player".
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PostPosted: 2012-03-06, 18:45    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Let me make sure that everybody on this forum understands that the below posts by me are/were not aimed at anyone particular - especially not a single person! That would be something if all I wrote would fit onto one person!!! I think that is quite impossible.

If anything.... I was actually thinking of my own immature attitude a long time ago - although I am not licensed. Firstly my own attitude of which styles were good and bad and then secondly when I began studying ethnomusicology my own attitude to the shakuhachi history! Embarassed
But I have seen these kinds of attitudes of various degrees in many people! So please - it is not about any single person!

Thanks and sorry if I did not make that clear!


Kiku Day wrote:
I know I am getting out on thin ice....
but I must admit - even though I do come from a school that does not give out licenses - I sometimes do think some people get licenses too early.
I know that being outside the system, I could risk sounding either jealous, bitter og just mere stupid... but I think one should consider very carefully whether the player in question is not only a good player technically and of course musically, but whether the person is mature enough in the shakuhachi world to have such a title. Some times I see people where I think "that person wasn't ready musically" or sometimes I think " that person i´wasn't ready in personality".... but that is SOOOOOoo subjective and very hard to put into system.. in fact very knotty. Imagine if a jealous teacher blocks a student getting his license even though the student is ready. In that way it is way easier to say ; When you have gone through this repertoire you can get this license etc. But then somehow it risks making the license less valuable.



Kiku Day wrote:
I agree on the driving license thing! That is a good analogy. We all begin out as beginner teachers! And it actually feel really good to take the small steps where you think: "Hey... that advice I just gave came from the experience of teaching I have built up!"

What I meant with the word "maturity" is somewhat the way you place yourself in the shakuhachi scene and history - as well as the maturity in teaching and performing. In some way you will always be a little brick in the whole picture - while some do have tendency of, what Brian described as "obsessive compulsive disorder, ego-mania" etc. An excessive need of quick recognition as the greatest, a narrow-minded view of the shakuhachi, its history and what is right and wrong. That kind of thing. It is hard to avoid it all together - I had aspects of all the above myself (even not licensed)... you get over it (most of the times) - and it would be nice if the shakuhachi world had enough time to wait for that kind of "big head" phase is over.... but then it will be such a subjective judgement.... so I don't even know if I can recommend to follow what I am writing..... Embarassed Laughing Rolling Eyes


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PostPosted: 2012-03-06, 19:20    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Kiku Day, what are you drinking tonight?
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PostPosted: Today at 12:21    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing

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