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my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing
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Lance
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PostPosted: 2011-07-11, 21:20    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

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Chris N. said "Any idea of improvisation may come from the slow increase in my own ability and repertoire, but I would be cautious to avoid the idea that I could suddenly improvise from nothing"

Is that the case with others of you? "cautious to avoid the idea that I could suddenly improvise from nothing" . Since I don't study reading shakuhachi music or memorizing songs, ALL I do is suddenly improvise from nothing.. I would think that such 'noddling around' would be a common way to learn, and enjoy, the shakuhachi. How many of you pretty much ONLY practice songs? Does anyone else LOVE the idea of 'suddenly improvising from nothing' and practice that way?
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Christian Grobmeier
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PostPosted: 2011-07-11, 21:41    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

I try to learn everything I can from my Sensei. This consumes all of my 2 hours i practice each day. I could even practice the double amount of hours.

To learn composing is as complex as to learn interpreting. The time you need to learn it, is lost for your practice. As I don't want to compose in the next 10 years, I simply try to learn interpretation after all traditions I can learn.
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CharlesKoeppen
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PostPosted: 2011-07-11, 22:46    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Lance wrote:
Does anyone else LOVE the idea of 'suddenly improvising from nothing' and practice that way?


I find the thought of improvising from nothing intriguing. I would love to see what it sounded like. But the fact is I've heard many varieties of music and my playing patterns are going to be influenced by that even if I try to avoid it. For instance, if I try to "completely improvise", I'll recognize some fragments as being similar to a song I've heard. Sometimes I'll go with it and mimic the song some more and sometimes I'll consciously avoid the melody that's in my head to let it flow to more "improvisation". The worst mistake is to have a note or transition between notes be stubborn and start practicing that. It might actually be good practice, but it spoils the practice of creating improvisation.

I improvise mostly with a drone because not only does it serve as good ear training, it's very meditative that way and is relaxing. But I also turn the drone off and work without it for a few days on occasion, that's to avoid feeling like something is missing when I'm in a practice environment where the drone is not available. I'll often use this as a long tone practice by tending towards dynamic shapes that I'm working on. I try to keep it down to less than 1/2 hour per 1 hour practice session, but sometimes will go over and be almost all of a practice session with only a minimal amount of running through songs at the end. Sometimes I go the other direction with it and will only go through the long tones minimally and spend most of the practice session working on a song.

I kind of think that excess at either end of the spectrum is something to avoid, but as Oscar Wilde said, "Everything in moderation, including moderation".
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Chris Northover
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 06:11    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

What I was trying to say is that as a beginner, not only on the shakuhachi but in learning to play anything musical, I see technique as important, and having spent some time trying to play the shakuhachi in the wilds of Suffolk by myself I feel the need to get feedback from a teacher. I don't dismiss the idea of improvisation, who knows what lies inside my own head, but until I can actually get a satisfactory sound.......I can already hear Lance saying "Any sound is a satisfactory sound".
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 07:15    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Good observations, Chris. Regarding the previous comment that contains this quote:
<He told me, ‘If you think about technique, it won’t be the real thing.’ He told me to just forget about technique. Throw all that away. It’s only playing, and continuing to play that has meaning. That’s it.”> You can only forget about technique after you actually master it; otherwise, you are always dealing, inevitably, with you technical limitations. That doesn't deny that at any given time
<"Any sound is a satisfactory sound"> If you fully show up in the moment, one note is enough, but only after you have mastered technique can you actually "get out of the way" and let something other guide your hands, free of limitations. Of course there's degrees of this, and the path is endlessly humbling.
There is no such thing as "improvising from nothing"... when you improvise you simply restructure your past experience into a creative and fresh flow of ideas, but it's always based on "something". If you want to improvise a conversation, the more language you know, the better. If you knew just a few words of a language, you'd be very limited. In music it's the same, and technique is at the top of the list. We always improvise within a language. I can always tell, for instance, when a South American Quena player is playing a Shakuhachi. It still sounds like Andean music! The same with classically trained musicians and that vibrato that is so not Shakuhachi! If you want to play Shakuhachi, you might as well learn it's language, and there's no question that a teacher is invaluable in that regard. I personally feel that playing an instrument without knowing it's tradition and history is a disrespect to it's Spirit.
Ultimately, though, I always remember what a crazy friend used to say all the time: "opinions are like assholes... everybody's got one"...
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Chris Northover
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 19:34    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

I'm sorry to see such polarisation of ideas when it comes to the question of teacher or no teacher. As far as I'm aware there's no law that says to play the shakuhachi you need to see a teacher. I admire the confidence of someone who can develop without one but I don't have it myself, probably due to my lack of experience. I can't see a teacher very regularly but have chosen to make it a priority for me to see one now and then to short cut any problems I might need to solve. But thqtt's just me.
Why don't we all agree never to discuss the topic again, and those who want to see a teacher can see one while those who don't want to see a teacher don't see one. Teachers are out there if you want to find one, even if only once in a blue moon. Teachers will say it's a good idea to see a teacher but I wouldn't read anything sinister into that, any more than I would think it strange to hear someone say don't see a teacher! It's clearly an emotive issue.
I would say anyone who picks up a shakuhachi gets my vote!!
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andy carter
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 21:24    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

I am a bit confused with this spirit thing it sounds to me like for example if you play guitar there is only one way to play it and if so what way would that be.I have made my own flute and I have leaned to play my own way perhaps I should call it a cornish flute and not a shakuhachi I had no idea that not following tradition was being disrespectful.it makes me wonder with that attitude how can music evolve
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 22:18    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Chris... so far this thread seems like a really good and respectful exchange of ideas... nothing to be sorry about.
Andy... to begin with, note that I started that sentence with "personally". What I meant is that I apply that rule to myself. There is no judgment for what any body else may do, and that's why I included the last remark... However, let me explain a bit more... The guitar is not a "traditional" instrument, but you can play it within a tradition, and then the same would apply... If you want to play the blues, it would certainly behoove you to listen to B.B.King and John Lee Hooker... If Classical... Bach, Beethoven, etc. If you develop a passion for the style, you will naturally want to know more about it ... the more you know about it the deeper your experience and expression of it is, and the more you can find your own voice within that tradition, which may very well sound "untraditional", but it's solidly based on a knowledge of it.
The "disrespectful" bit, again, is personal, and I'm coming from a place of having traveled and studied extensively within traditions that are considered in their place of origin, to a certain extent, akin to "sacred" music... for example: the Bata drums in Cuba, the Djembe in West Africa, the Mbira in Zimbawe, the Sitar in India, the Shakuhachi in Japan. A hippie banging happily away on a Djembe in the park can be a pretty painful, and even offensive, experience for someone deeply steeped and dedicated to that tradition. Both sides of the equation are understandable (the hippie: "hey man, don't be so uptight... I'm just expressing myself and we're all having a good time"... the drummer: "why are you blabbering away on that sacred instrument from my culture that you know nothing about?).
So... while I'm "encouraging" studying the tradition, I'm not "discouraging" anyone from anything. Andy, I think it's absolutely great that you have the commitment and patience and motivation to make and play your own flute... In the end of the day... all that counts is your relationship with the instrument and what it brings to your life, and that will be different for each one of us.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-07-12, 23:39    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

J. Danza wrote:
A hippie banging happily away on a Djembe in the park can be a pretty painful, and even offensive, experience for someone deeply steeped and dedicated to that tradition. Both sides of the equation are understandable (the hippie: "hey man, don't be so uptight... I'm just expressing myself and we're all having a good time"..


The sad thing about those hippies banging away in Central Park is that they think they are actually playing African music. Real African music has amazing polyrhythms. The hippies just bang out 4/4 for hours and it is Rolling Eyes Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad Bannir
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Chris Northover
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PostPosted: 2011-07-13, 14:52    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Hey, Andy, I've got it! A shakupasty...... Looks like a shakuhachi but contains rich and nourishing traditional Cornish ingredients.
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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2011-07-13, 15:00    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

J. Danza wrote:
I personally feel that playing an instrument without knowing it's tradition and history is a disrespect to it's Spirit. Ultimately, though, I always remember what a crazy friend used to say all the time: "opinions are like assholes... everybody's got one"...


Pepe, I guess that makes ignorance the hemorrhoids of opinion.
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Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fûyô
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andy carter
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PostPosted: 2011-07-13, 16:45    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

like it Criss shakupasty might not have any spirit but can sure give a nasty dose of heartburn
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andy carter
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PostPosted: 2011-07-13, 18:25    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

you know I really don't want to dis japanese culture or tradition and I think if you have the time and a teacher available then great but I haven't . I started making side blown flutes as a hobby about three years ago and I came across a site (Erik the flute maker) and I bought a side blown oriental flute which is tuned the same way as a shakuhachi.Erik has a u tube clip and he explains very briefly about the traditions and so I set myself the task of trying to make one myself.The flute in my picture is one of the best I have made so far.It is about 6 cm short and only has just over half of the second register.Its not even made from madake its a bamboo called phylostachys edulis .I wouldn't even know how to pronounce it but unless I can make a better one or find the cash to buy one it will have to do.I play this flute when ever I have spare time and I love it. the music I make comes from within me its not traditional far from it but I seems to get good feedback generally even from japan. I will continue down this path and I will see where it takes me .Meanwhile respect to all those who play shakuhachi and I hope it gives the same sense of enlightenment as it does me ( ps to chris sorry for missing the h in your name)
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HORST XENMEISTER
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PostPosted: 2011-07-15, 03:00    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Teacher vary imprortant. We say "Meet the Teacher".



This is not aktual "Best Way".

BEST WAY is to realise "Meat, the Teacher".



But to not meet the teacher nor to realise meat is teacher is worst way. Not wurst way for this is BEST WAY. End of history.
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Jim Thompson
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PostPosted: 2011-07-15, 21:07    Post subject: my 2 cents about the whole teacher thing Reply with quote

Well said, Horst. I agree.
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