donderdag 30 juli 2009

Learning and teaching

The proces of learning things interests me much, part because of my occupation, but also as a shakuhachi player. What is the right way to learn it? and is there one right way? On the shakuhachi festival in Leiden it was special to experience different teaching style's. Some more strict, some loose, some above you and some besides you, so to speak. Personally I like to informal style of teachers and I use that mostly in my work as well. But sometimes a more srict or direct approach is essential.
What is learning? Forcing your master experience or knowledge upon someone else? Or is it stimulating the inherent personal potential? Does one has to be tought to play like him\herself or like the teacher? Well I believe this difference in style of teaching had a lot to do with culture and 'the way it is' done in a given time. None is best perhaps, each has its merits. Well I can't say that I like being shouted at or scolded during a lesson, which can happen in Japan, I heared. I believe in a more humane appoach which is fortunately more common in the west.
Maybe the 'best' way is the way which brings you the closest to your goals and desires. It all depends on your desires then! For learning the flute I believe the 'west' is a good place: there are less strict rules, no playing forced in one school en more options of various teaching ways. As well many resources are available on the net. Mr. Kurahashi told me that playing Dai Kan notes was highly uncommon in Japan some time ago, it wasn't tought or tried. Only few did it. Now he told Dai Kan was a sound a beginner could make, so the pace has probably gone up on the learning curve. The most hard thing to do can't be speeded: getting a personal full tone.

Kurahashi playing Kyorei (part of concert)

One good lesson was Kurahashi told: do no forget your beginners sound when getting better. It is the soft, breathy tone and is pretty!

dinsdag 28 juli 2009

Summerschool report 2009

The European Summerschool 2009 held in Leiden was great! Many great teachers were present. Plenty of workshops about songs, technique's, about Kyoktaku, about meditative playing and improvising were present. It has been four days of hyper exposure on playing, flutes, and lovers of this flute. I really enjoyed it a lot. Especially the vibe and energy which was present.

Although the players were from many country's (Bulgaria, Czech, Ireland, US, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain and Holland) all the people had one thing in common: this interest in the shakuhachi. Most of them very true to themself and authentic.

I believe the mix of contemplative, meditative, contemporary, truly original and various traditional pieces made this year a great succes. It was very inspiring to me and I'll post more about my findings about the concept of 'learning' shakuhachi and one's way with this flute: one's own way, the traditional way or the 'highway'.
Maybe if lucky I'll post more footage or soundclips.

maandag 20 juli 2009

European Summerschool 2009

Next week I will take part of my first big event like this European Summerschool held in Leiden, the Netherlands. I'll probably post some of it after the summerschool. Various teachers and workshops will be held, just as concerts and lectures...
Please join it if you like! For some more exposure:

European Shakuhachi Summer School 2009 in Leiden, the Netherlands.

This year's European Shakuhachi Summer School will be in Leiden, the Netherlands. It will be the first shakuhachi summerschool in Holland and it will be organised by the Dutch Shakuhachi Society KAITO together with the European Shakuhachi Society.

The date of the summerschool will be 23, 24, 25 and 26 July.

To read more details see here.

maandag 13 juli 2009

Super Phat Taimu !?

In this last contribution of my Malaysian travels, I'll post about the shakuhachi I made myself. You could call it a super fat Taimu! I made it from a big bamboostick lying around. It was in poor condition, a bit moldy and too wet. That ony made it easier to work on it with my old swiss army knife. A few blisters were the price, a lot of fun and a shakuhachi which was extremely difficult to sound. I succeeded to make 3 Ro's out of it, which were dull and uninteresting... On the picture you can see the difference with the Yuu which I took as a model, and the self-made one. Nevertheless it was fun to do and make me consider how difficult it is to make one which sound ok, how difficult it would be to make one which sounds great?? Well in respect to the Taimu's my creation better not be named that way. By the way I left it there, so when you visit Pulau Tioman, Juara village and John's place 'Riverview', you maybe will be able to make more sound out of it then I did. This place to stay is highly reccomended!

Sometimes I read on the forum about the zen and meditative aspect of playing the shakuhachi and therefore not needing good flutes. For me meditative aspectis a part of playing, but the potential of a flute as well. I like to make nice sounds, and learn to play pieces they can sounds. The meditative attitude is less orientated to development or learning the flute itself (it is probably orientated to learning more about oneself). Well I like developing in the field of the fluteplaying itself even more. So back in Holland I can go back to exploring my newest acquisition: a 1.8 Gono Gyokusai II. This is my best 'gem' until now.

Jungle Improv

Hi there, back to post some more! This time an improvisation I have done in front of a large bamboo vegetation. I dunno if it is Madake, but it was the only patch I saw growing in the Taman Negara Jungle. Here is the vid:

Even a Gecko adds soms nice touch to the end.
I played it on my Yuu, which is pretty travelsave.