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!

2 opmerkingen:

Erin zei

Yes, we've learned a lot and yet also discovered a little of how much we don't know when it comes to playing the shakuhachi, eh? I agree that ist definitely good to keep it light, have fun and, I think, in this way we can best enjoy the complexity and depth of this fascinating instrument.

Bas Nijenhuis zei

Yes! like I also try to live life: light and have fun...but both: life and the flute can be 'hard' and also discovering how little we know indeed...
Fortunately a little can be a lot.