Thanks again for the awesome lesson today! I think you struck the perfect balance between explanation and playing/practice, and I love your teaching style. You’re a very good teacher, and I look forward to our next lesson! (more kind words from students below)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free one-on-one shakuhachi lesson over video chat
If you need an instrument please consider my Bell shakuhachi
Embarking on a journey with the shakuhachi is full of discoveries and challenges. I’ve made it my priority to help people overcome all of the obstacles they might face when trying to learn the shakuhachi, particularly the initial hurdles of acquiring a quality instrument for a reasonable price and making one’s first sounds.
In lessons we explore the distinct regional Edo period honkyoku schools. These schools inspired shakuhachi masters such as Higuchi Taizan, Watazumi, Yokoyama, Jin Nyodo, Nishimura Kokku, and others. I also share the many exercises and insights which I’ve gained over the years from both teaching and making shakuhachi.
In the beginning, the focus of lessons is usually on making sounds and troubleshooting various aspects of playing the shakuhachi which includes posture and holding the shakuhachi. Then the focus of lessons shifts more to the playing of the honkyoku. I keep an ever vigilant eye on all aspects of my students playing offering key advice to help overcome common “growing pains” and to overcome plateaus.
Lessons are one-on-one and a full hour long. They can be taken whenever someone likes and they never expire. The Seien Ryu from Fudai-ji are the first honkyoku that I teach. I also teach the Kichiku ryu, Kinpu ryu, and Oshu and Echigo region honkyoku. Additionally, I teach select pieces from the repertoires of Jin Nyodo, Watazumi/Yokayama Katsuya, and Higuchi Taizan’s Myoan-ha.
My students doing some teaching of their own
Words of thanks
Thanks a million, Jon! That hour yesterday saved me years of learning and gaining confirmation (confidence). Knowing that I’m on the right track, rough around the edges tho I might be, enables me to concentrate on enjoying playing. I played both of your flutes today and they remind me each time I do just how lucky I am to have them.
Your help is amazing, and my dominant ‘left-brain’ translated your very last line, of your last message, to a very enjoyable an productive session this morning. The ‘physics’ aspects of Shakuhachi are so important to me as I begin this journey, and I feel I have a very clear vision of body posture, head position, diaphragm, to ensure optimum airflow to my lips. Embouchure is a process and I feel there is progress understanding and feeling what the goal is.
Thank you for the class! I know the road is long and the journey ahead of me with the Shakuhachi is going to be very difficult. I am learning many things through the process, however, The Shakuhachi is an amazing instrument. It is almost as if an extension of our being with all its moods, turbulence, longing for solitude and peace. One day things play so nice and the others as if back to ground zero.
The goal is not to seek perfection or to entertain as much as it is to overcome the self, the ego, the inner voice that keeps on telling us all what we can not do instead of all what we can accomplish. Thank you for being my teacher. Thank you for being kind and patient with my slow learning. You are a very kind soul Jon. You do not make me feel bad when clearly my ability to play is so jarring.Peace!
I’m making progress daily with the exercises in your book. I realized that if I start with the otsu exercise then it makes the kan exercise much easier for some reason. I’m getting pretty consistent sounds in kan, and I’m getting better with the octave jumping exercise too. My kan notes are more windy than my otsu notes, and not nearly as nice, but each day I can play them a little quieter and a little less windy. I totally see how important just having a very small opening between your lips is, and how the pressure in your mouth is the key.
Thanks for an enlightening session! The devil is in the details as they say… As a visual artist it makes me think [about how] I could spend a lifetime learning just how to draw a perfect circle, or even a truly straight line. Each song, Life, moment etc., even the simplest, is so grand it contains a universe. Tremendously appreciative of this moment. Deep deep deep Bow
At least three times now you have honed in on problems I was having with the sound of my flute and suggested corrections that were immediately effective, with lasting result. Nothing I could have read in a book, or gained from listening to a Master player would have solved these difficulties, and I doubt I could have solved them on my own. I certainly had tried. It takes a good teacher.
I have been trying to play for a little more than a year (with a teacher) and yours is the first decent explanation I have gotten on achieving Kan. I experimented with the tighter lips and higher pressure and saw an immediate result. THANKS!
You are a great teacher. You actually helped me with my embouchure for bansuri (indian side-blown flute). The large bore and larger mouth hole makes it difficult. Your instruction is helping me think about lip shape and pressure in order to make improvements.
Yay! I made a note. Now I gotta go do it again and again. Thank you so much for the lesson… I love it so far even if I can’t make it work constantly =-) *progress!!!
You are responsible for helping me make my first sound on my new Shakuhachi. Thank you sir!
You are a very good teacher. And thanks for the tips. Bless ya! :)!