vrijdag 16 oktober 2009

When beginning this blog I thought of doing it for tracking my lesson-tips, techniques and my own progress by adding recordings of my playing. The latter I have done -a little-  and the former not at all. I post about techniques in my first posts, but not after that. In general the blog has a more wider view on the journey of learning. Nonetheless I will post today the things that helped me the most in learning getting better at playing.
One of those things is the 'technique' of not blowing. I've read this somewhere on the net, and is about not blowing air out to get a tone, but getting the tension up in your abdomen and let the air get out controlled. It is more pressuring the air out, while the lip-opening defines the air speed. More open: lower speed, more closed: faster speed and thus making the difference in otsu or kan. Try imagening blowing a balloon, that feeling in your belly is what I mean.
Another thing I found helped me is blowing with this pressure on to my hand from 10 cm distance and try to focus the air like a tube of air. I feel a small circle on my hand. When I don't change anything in the blowing and replace my hand for the flute: tadaa! instantly Kan register without any effort (beside the balloon-feeling).
This way I succeed to blow kan and otsu as long a normal breath duration (blowing through your lips without flute).
Blowing this way I got kan in an okay matter, playing it more and more, seems to train my embouchure and lips. The smaller I can get the opening the easier it seems to play higher kan notes. For higher kan notes one thing has to change: more air speed. giving more pressure in my belly wasn't working: it was already pretty solid. So the mouth- opening should close. Well that comes with practice and time.
While I play kan that way, in a more focused like way, I tried blowing Otsu that way as well: a smaller opening of lips, but with a little less pressure. Otsu became more effecient in breath; ie you need less breath for the same effect.
The last tip or thing wich I think is most important: have fun while doing it. It is a hobby, not a chore. In this it helps me to just doodle around, not to practice sometimes and play silly things. It also makes it more easy not to set goals but just try and play. Only now in looking back I can see and feel that things get easier and harder: I also feel there is much more to discover!

maandag 5 oktober 2009

more radio

More radio can be listend to here. It is the first of a series dedicated to the European Summerschool held in Leiden. The speech is in Dutch this time, though there might be a change some of the interviews on later broadcasts are in English. The music is international though! Music can be heared from Kurahashi, Gunnar Linder, Vlatislav Matousek and more. I'll post more when more broadcasts have been.
The series will be broadcasted on 'de wandelende tak' (logo above)

zondag 4 oktober 2009

Cause en effect

How things can effect each other is interesting. A reader of my blog posted me about my previous post on my shakublues. Which now is better, maybe due to writing a bit about it. He (or she), Ronen, sended me a nice e-mail about it and posted a post about learning curves he wrote about learning the shakuhachi in general. Learning he experiences goes in stages. This reminds me of a post Michael Gould wrote about learning and floors of a house: you start at the bottom and after some time develop to the next floor, seeing new challenges and theme's on that floor, you couldn't previously see! There is also some scientific evidence that some learning, especially in childhood goes in this way and this is propagated by Prof. P. van Geert, who is a proponent of the dynamic systems view he developed and tested. I recall this because he was the professor of one of my main directions in study. Ronen write very nicely on his site and I recommend it. He also write more on his playing\ learning of the shakuhachi. You can find that here. He post on many more personal subjects though. The only thing though, you actually read the things he write, read his name (real name?) on his site, but never find out who he himself is, quite ego-less and still it is designed around a online identity.