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Five Minutes

 
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CharlesKoeppen
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PostPosted: 2011-08-03, 20:32    Post subject: Five Minutes Reply with quote

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I started a Blog a couple months ago and thought members of this forum might find the latest article interesting. http://shakuhachi-enthusiast.blogspot.com/2011/08/five-minutes.html

Or, if you don't feel like clicking the link, the copied content is:

Five Minutes
There is one lesson I had over a year ago with Geni Skendo that I still think about often during every practice session. Near the beginning of the lesson, during the warmup exercises, Geni instructed me to play a particular exercise for five minutes. After a minute or so I started losing the tone and abandoned the exercise in an attempt to find the tone again. Geni immediately asked what I was doing. When I explained, he pointed out that it is very important for effective practice to complete the exercises I set out to do, that five minutes isn't a long time, and to continue the exercise to completion.

In subsequent practice sessions I noticed that unless I consciously timed myself I very seldom would continue any exercise for a full five minutes. Experimenting, I started practicing Ro-buki making it a point to check the clock and make note of the start time, when I felt like I must have been playing for five minutes I'd check the clock again. After many runs of this experimentation, the results were almost invariable that I'd find considerably less than five minutes had passed.

What in the world was going on? Did time slow down while I was practicing Ro-buki? Ignoring the obvious connection of the relaxing shakuhachi tones to perceptual changes that I believe may also be a contributing factor, it became apparent to me how much energy it took to play shakuhachi. A good part of my reasoning that five minutes must have passed was based on how fatigued I had become during the less than five minute interval.

The observation of how much energy goes into five minutes of playing shakuhachi combined with the fact that many traditional honkyoku are five minutes of duration or longer, Western classical pieces often exceed five minutes, and even a few repetitions of Japanese folk-songs or Western popular songs will take up a good portion of a five minute interval, serves to point to how important it is to build the stamina to comfortably play shakuhachi for five minutes. I can't say that I've developed the discipline to always work on an exercise or Ro-buki for a full five minutes, and I'm often amused how I almost always, I believe subconsciously, find something to interrupt me during the practice of the common "beginner" piece, Kyorie, that is usually about 10 minutes in duration. However, those words from Geni about the importance of continuing an exercise for a full five minutes were very profound and enlightening, and aside from improving my own playing, have given me a great appreciation and insight to how much energy the shakuhachi masters are putting into their brilliant performances.
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Charles Koeppen
Kingston NY USA
Visit my shakuhachi website http://shakuhachi.atspace.cc
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Stefan Emich
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PostPosted: 2011-08-03, 21:40    Post subject: Five Minutes Reply with quote

An interesting read, so true. Thanks for sharing Charles!
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"To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable." Ludwig van Beethoven
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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2011-08-04, 12:54    Post subject: Five Minutes Reply with quote

I’ve found stamina to be less of an issue when playing honkyoku than when playing gaikyoku, which can be quite lengthy with occasional torrents of notes played at a clip that sometimes leaves me breathless and fatigued. However, through practice my stamina has gradually improved as the result, I think, of an enlarged though at times still elusive "sweet spot" which makes sound production more efficient, a better developed embouchure, and more relaxed breathing.
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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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Itamar Foguel
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PostPosted: 2011-09-29, 00:05    Post subject: Five Minutes Reply with quote

thanks Charles that was an interesting read.
Back in August i was basking on the streets of Toronto at the afternoons here an there... basking is a very challenging thing to do in many aspects.
I was playing 30 minutes almost straight whatever came into my mind, improvisations, memorized folk songs, honkyoku... i was playing until i felt dizzy and my hands go numb and then i stopped for a break.

Those sessions improved my stamina greatly.
the difference was also the fact i was not getting bored since i was on the street, looking at people passing by. If you meditate or concentrate on something other then the fatigue of the body and dont get bored things would get a lot easier.
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PostPosted: Today at 13:48    Post subject: Five Minutes

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