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Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons)

 
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shawnhow
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PostPosted: 2011-12-28, 03:24    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

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Hello there!

How are you? Namaste.

I'm Shawn from Singapore. I just bought a new guy's yukata, and I was bored so I made this video of my own practice session:
A beginner's feeble attempt at Hifumi Hachi Gaeshi (after self-learning it for 5 months)

With Reverb added in post production
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DrDPtjEzhk

Without reverb (original audio)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgB4qjL5-PE


Just a quick note:
If you are writing a research paper, I know it is tough to find someone to provide you with a beginner's clips, so here it is. (*smile*) You have my permission to use this video clip for your research, whether it is educational research or musicology research, or other forms of research. This video clip is not copy-righted. It is Creative Commons compliant. Please feel free to criticize my playing in your research paper. It is after all, merely a shakuhachi beginner player's raw video footage of a regular practice session. Many parts of this tune have been played wrongly, many parts have been forgotten and simply made up as I struggled along to play this tune. In my mind, I just wanted to get to the end. Many times during playing, I was very tempted to stop playing and stop the recording, but I did not do so, because I wanted to treat this practice session as a Sui-Zen (blowing meditation). Watching this video of myself playing also serves to help me see and hear my own countless mistakes, which may help me to improve in subsequent practice sessions.

I learned this tune from the score from Katsuya Yokoyama's book + cd set: Shakuhachi Koten Honkyoku

I would really appreciate any kind of comments (both constructive and critical are very welcome). Thanks in advance!

Happy New Year!
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shawnhow
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PostPosted: 2011-12-29, 12:05    Post subject: My sincere apologies Reply with quote

Dear all

After receiving a private message from an individual in this forum, I realized that I may have offended some sensitivities by posting the link of my practice video here. I really appreciate your constructive criticism. (*smile*) Thank you for alerting me to this situation.

Makoto-ni, moshi wake gozaimasen *deep bow*

My sincerest apologies if I may have offended anyone. I should have been more culturally sensitive to everyone. I read that in the old days, shakuhachi teachers may forbid their students from performing for others without permission from the school. And this tradition may still be practiced today. However, please pardon me, because I do not have a teacher. There are no shakuhachi teachers in Singapore. (*smile*)

However, I'd just like to clarify something: it was never my intention to "show off" by posting a video here. I only posted it to provide a genuine qualitative data source for any researcher who may wish to look at what goes on in a self-learner's practice session. It is relatively easy to find videos of great shakuhachi playing (like the many other wonderful videos posted in this forum), but I found, it may not be so easy to find videos of beginners on Youtube who are willing to give away a video and let/encourage you to formally criticize them in written research papers, so I just thought I'd be a "mad scientist" and film myself and give this video away to anyone who needs a research video that you can criticize to your heart's content. hahaha LOL

For example, a grad student in musicology may need to compare a self-learner beginner's playing of Hifumi hachigaeshi, to another student (who has been taking lessons with a shakuhachi master) playing the same tune, in order to analyze the differences. Well, your research paper may then help to convince others that it is far better to take lessons with a shakuhachi teacher, instead of just self-learning. That's where this video may be useful if you plan to write a research paper like that. (*smile*)

So, to all the people who hated my video, I'd like to say a big "thank you!" Honto-ni, arigato gozaimasu! *deep bow*

It proves that my video is so bad that it is "good" enough to be used as an example for criticism. That was what I wanted to achieve in the first place. Yatta! I did it. hahaha LOL

From this little episode in this forum, upon self-reflection, I realized three things (autographically speaking):

(1) Despite the fact that I was not looking at my own practice session as a musical performance, but as a session documenting a beginner shakuhachi player's phenomenological experience of internal turmoil as he struggles to "play through" no matter what happens, once the video is on Youtube, others may perceive it as purely a musical performance; albeit a very flawed one (which I admit it is. hahaha).

(2) I read that Sui-Zen (blowing Zen) is ultimately about replacing the "Self" with "No-self": transforming the "Ego" (which means "I" or "Selfhood" in Greek and Latin) into "Selfless-self". Only then can "awakening" be experienced. I hope to continue this Zen practice and experience "no-self" one day. (*smile*)

Disclosure: I am not a Buddhist. I am a Christian, but I am very interested in the idea of "No-self" in Zen meditation, and in Sui-Zen during the playing of Zen honkyoku pieces.

(3) During my practice session, my "Ego" or "Self" kept surfacing to tell me "I am no good", "Stop playing now". My "Ego" or "Self" was very self-conscious of what others might think, how I'd look infront of the video camera, how the audience would react if I were to post this video online, etc. But there was another voice urging me to "play through until the end" and "be sincere when playing each note, no matter how bad or good it sounds", and "don't linger at a note if the tone sounds good to you, move on", and "don't rush through a difficult part, try to play it properly". This other voice also makes me feel very "socially connected to the shakuhachi community at large somewhere out there". Interestingly, I found out from this TED conference video http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html that our left-brain and right-brain are capable of having conversations with each other. Perhaps that was what I was experiencing. (*smile*)

Q: Has anyone ever experienced "nothingness" (a.k.a. "openness" or "emptiness") or "no-self" or "awakening" during your shakuhachi playing or teaching? (are they the same thing or different things anyway?) If so, can you please kindly describe and share your experience?

Thank you, everyone!

Happy New Year! May everyone have a wonderful 2012!
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-12-29, 18:25    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Dear Shawnhow

I saw nothing wrong in your videos and not at all in posting them here on the forum.
If I am to advice you on anything, a mention about your level in the title of the youtubu video, such as practice video or anything that indicates your level, could have been a good addition. In that way novices will know what level this is at and perhaps be inspired by your progress.

Otherwise I do hope the pm was a nice message. It worries me a little to read that pm's are sent to tell others what to do or not to do. Of course it is a subject we have to deal with some times, but it would be nicer in public.
Please read the forum announcement in the "Read First" forum. It is important we remain respectful to each other's work.

Happy New Year everyone!
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-12-29, 22:09    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Shawnhow, your publication of this video inspired me. I think it is great if a community can be supportive and its possible to oneself as not PERFECT but with ones struggles and bad playing :-)

I haven't done, it but after I saw your video I was tempted to try to record myself, make a little video, and let other see it. It inspired me to practice more and gave me energy. Traditional music schools have students concerts, but maybe recording video is the nearest we can get to challenge ourselves to play in front of an audience when we don't have a dojo around the corner....
I live in Norway and take classes with my american teacher through skype.

I include a picture from my first public concert ever, this summer on the swedish island Öland, btw: The audience are not swedish, those are pigs Razz


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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-12-29, 22:25    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Jarle Jivanmukta wrote:
The audience are not swedish, those are pigs Razz

]


What's the difference? Very Happy Rolling Eyes Question Question Question Okay Mr. Green Mort de Rire

Shawn, you may record and post anything you want without fear of criticism in "The Playpen". I have moved the post. "The Playpen" was created with the aim of allowing beginners to post their questions, comments, or in this case, recordings on the forum and receive helpful comments from the more experienced members. Or commiseration from the other beginner's. On previous forums and mailing lists it was common for beginners to post and be shot down by pedantic members. This led sometimes to the beginner leaving the forum/list, which may be counter-productive.

I don't know the nature of the PM you received but posting in "The Playpen" is a way to get your message across without inciting negativity.

Hopefully! Okay
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x moran
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PostPosted: 2011-12-29, 23:17    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Kiku Day wrote:
It worries me a little to read that pm's are sent to tell others what to do or not to do. Of course it is a subject we have to deal with some times, but it would be nicer in public.
Please read the forum announcement in the "Read First" forum. It is important we remain respectful to each other's work.


Shawnhow,

Very nice of you to post your links here. You must be practicing with a lot of effort and attention.

Being a student and being in the playpen, I'll share with you a few things my teacher Bill Shozan Schultz, keeps reminding me of:

Your meri notes are very good.

- But in addition to bending your chin down also try (gently and subtly) to move the shakuhachi slightly up, so the shakuhachi is actually pivoting on your chin. It takes a while to learn how to do this gently but its part of the whole idea of the Japanese striving for the most _efficient_ way of creating a sound or a note.

- Pivoting the shakuhachi successfully and gracefully also requires that you are not pushing the shakuhachi too hard into your chin.

- Rest the shakuhachi on your chin as lightly as possible while still maintaining a steady and strong sound. (As Perry says below, you are already cultivating a good, strong sound.)

- The other thing you can do to deepen your meri notes is (while gently dipping your chin and gently raising the shakuhachi slightly) is to play that meri note slightly to the side of the blowing edge, so there is less distance from your lips to the edge of the utaguchi. The motion moving the shakuhachi at more of a 45-degree angle than just an up and down 90% angle.

- And yet another idea about deepening your meri notes is to play them slightly softer, so you have contrast between the bigger natural notes of the melody and the darker flat notes of the melody. (Yokoyama Dokyoku people have another way of approaching meri notes played more loudly, but it is good to learn the quiet playing as well as the loud playing.)

Experiment with these ideas and ideas that certified teachers give you. See how they work for the kind of sound you want. I'm just offering some ideas and experiments for you to play with. Discard if they are more trouble than they are worth.

--> And to the person who pm'd you, please write some comments on my Facebook site Shakuhachi Beat so I can openly discuss with you who can post videos and where they can post them. I would like to have that conversation. Very Happy
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Last edited by x moran on 2011-12-30, 03:17; edited 1 time in total
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2011-12-30, 00:20    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

shawnhow wrote:


After receiving a private message from an individual in this forum, I realized that I may have offended some sensitivities by posting the link of my practice video here. I really appreciate your constructive criticism. (*smile*) Thank you for alerting me to this situation.
..


Hi Shawn, I just took a look at your videos and for what its worth, I didn't see anything that appeared culturally insensitive. In fact like Jarle, I found them inspiring and impressive. You have quite a strong tone at your level of playing.
Quote:


(3) During my practice session, my "Ego" or "Self" kept surfacing to tell me "I am no good", "Stop playing now". My "Ego" or "Self" was very self-conscious of what others might think, how I'd look infront of the video camera, how the audience would react if I were to post this video online, etc. But there was another voice urging me to "play through until the end" and "be sincere when playing each note, no matter how bad or good it sounds", and "don't linger at a note if the tone sounds good to you, move on", and "don't rush through a difficult part, try to play it properly". This other voice also makes me feel very "socially connected to the shakuhachi community at large somewhere out there". Interestingly, I found out from this TED conference video http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html that our left-brain and right-brain are capable of having conversations with each other. Perhaps that was what I was experiencing. (*smile*)

Q: Has anyone ever experienced "nothingness" (a.k.a. "openness" or "emptiness") or "no-self" or "awakening" during your shakuhachi playing or teaching? (are they the same thing or different things anyway?) If so, can you please kindly describe and share your experience?


I have experienced all of this during shakuhachi playing, making, performing and other activities that require deep involvement. It's all one thing to me. You may be interested in reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book, FLOW. His theory states that people are most happy when they are in a state of "flow" — a state of complete absorption with an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in a "zone" or in a "groove", the kind usually associated with artists, musicians, dancers etc...it can also include any non art activity such as performing surgery or ordinary household chores. As long as the person is deeply involved, flow can happen. Hours will fly by and feel like minutes.

Jarle, your audience looked genuinely attentive. I had an audience two weeks ago that actually nudged me during my performance Shocked.



Quote:

Happy New Year! May everyone have a wonderful 2012!

Happy New Year to you too!
Namaste, Perry
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-12-30, 00:55    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Perry Yung wrote:


Jarle, your audience looked genuinely attentive. I had an audience two weeks ago that actually nudged me during my performance y


Dogs are an unpredictable audience. I have experienced them going into a trance while listening, full blown hysteria, and most memorably, I was playing with my eyes closed and felt something warm. Fido was pissing on my foot. Bannir
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2011-12-30, 01:28    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Perry Yung wrote:


Jarle, your audience looked genuinely attentive. I had an audience two weeks ago that actually nudged me during my performance y


Dogs are an unpredictable audience. I have experienced them going into a trance while listening, full blown hysteria, and most memorably, I was playing with my eyes closed and felt something warm. Fido was pissing on my foot. Bannir


That's beyond cultural insensitivity. That's reverse speciesism Shocked !
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shawnhow
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PostPosted: 2011-12-30, 05:14    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments.

I think I finally get it now, after reading this paper by Professor Victor Sogen Hori at this link http://www.essenes.net/pdf/Teaching and Learning in the Rinzai Zen Monaster…

Hori elucidated that in Zen practice, Mystical Insight can be experienced by means of Ritual Formalism.

So, my take from reading Hori's paper is: the mindfulness in the playing of honkyoku is a form of ritual formalism. Over time, perhaps after many years, Mystical Insight (some may call it "awakening" or "illumination", etc.) may be experienced by means of ritual formalism. And that is Zen practice.

How about you? What do you think after reading Hori's writing? Wink

http://www.essenes.net/pdf/Teaching and Learning in the Rinzai Zen Monaster…
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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2011-12-30, 13:42    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
I was playing with my eyes closed and felt something warm. Fido was pissing on my foot.


Sounds like Fido may have decided to put Csikszentmihalyi's FLOW theory to the test.
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shards
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PostPosted: 2012-01-29, 15:20    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

Kiku Day wrote:
In that way novices will know what level this is at and perhaps be inspired by your progress.



This!! I thought it was wonderful! Seems we both started playing about the same time. I'm so thankful for your videos, they are great and your clarity in kan register inspiring (my constant nemesis).

Thank you for posting this, I'm constantly watching videos of others on YouTube and am very happy to see someone else at my experience level. I have been training almost weekly since August and so your progress is wonderful! Keep it up!

Some of mine experiences and videos are @ dokanshakuhachi.wordpress.com.

Gassho,

Dokan
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2012-01-30, 13:46    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

shards wrote:
Kiku Day wrote:
In that way novices will know what level this is at and perhaps be inspired by your progress.
.... I have been training almost weekly since August and so your progress is wonderful! Keep it up!

Some of mine experiences and videos are @ dokanshakuhachi.wordpress.com.

Gassho,

Dokan

Hi Dokan Good to see you here. You have quite a solid tone for for someone who just started playing since August!

Take care, Perry
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PostPosted: 2012-02-06, 13:53    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

How about you? What do you think after reading Hori's writing? Wink

http://www.essenes.net/pdf/Teaching and Learning in the Rinzai Zen Monaster…[/quote]

Hi Shawn,

I got a lot out of this article. I noticed that you are moving away from a/r/tography for the purpose of your research in music education. I hope to see more of your a/r/tographical inclusions on the forum and perhaps understand more, in time.

Hori writes of the day to day living in the monastery, the discipline and play and dynamic contradictions. I liked the discussion about 'self discovery' or 'development'; and the monastery as a place for learning gradually.

Some reflections on how a western understanding of Zen could differ from that of a Japanese Zen Practitioner.

I attended a lecture by Professor Igal Galili; 'Art and Science: a symbiosis leading to the appreciation of both as a pluralistic culture in science education'.

Prof Galili was describing images of scientists; (I cannot include the examples but xmoran's current display picture would do nicely)

The image of the lone scientist researching away in his studio was the one that stayed with me. Where do these ideas come from? For the purpose of enticing others to study science Prof Galili argued that an image of a community of scientists; engaged in a discussion around conflicting ideas, is more useful. There were lots of examples where scientific breakthroughs were the result of this kind of rivalry of ideas.

I could be going off on a bit of a tangent. Anyhow, glad to share your enthusiasm for critical inquiry.
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PostPosted: 2012-03-03, 07:24    Post subject: Beginner's practice - Hifumi Hachigaeshi (Creative Commons) Reply with quote

A. is a virtuoso, and Heaven is his witness.

The Zurau Aphorisms. Franz Kafka September 1917 to April 1918
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