Shakuhachi: Japanese Bamboo Flute
by Masayuki Koga / Book and CD – 152 pages
An Excellent Teaching Guide for Learning the Shakuhachi, written by a master shakuhachi player!
“There is a secret to excel in playing the shakuhachi. Blow not intensively, but from your heart. Although technique is secondary, it helps to express your true self. If we are natural, we make fine sound. If we have an open mind, our sound will be mellow. If we have right attitudes toward life, our music will be acceptable to everyone. Take care of your sound as you would care for your self.” – Masayuki Koga
Highly recommended! This excellent teaching book starts out very simple and basic and evolves into more advanced teaching; making this an excellent book for beginners, intermediate, and possibly somewhat advanced players as well.
The best part about this book/cd set is that on the cd, Masayuki Koga plays the pieces as shown in the book. He starts with very simple exercises and pieces of music for the beginner, then moves on to more advanced pieces. Hearing his timing and tonality, and learning to play along with him, is an invaluable way to learn. It is like having a teacher in your home with you. Koga is an absolutely amazing player. Listening to him is a direct transmission in itself!
In Koga’s words from the Preface:
“The Shakuhachi is one of the most difficult instruments to play. As the teaching of this skill is one of the oral traditions of Japanese culture, there is little text for the student to refer to. Therefore, I have attempted to compose a practical book for teachers and students. The first part of this manuscript is for the beginner. The second is for the advanced student. The third part contains a short history of the shakuhachi, including a comparision with other relevant musical histories.”
The book has three parts:
I. Fundamental Techniques
II. Advanced Techniques
Here are some of the contents of this book/cd set:
Fingers and Hands
Basic Five Notes and Fingering
Low and High Register
Meri and Kari
Application of Advanced Techniques
Names of the Fingering
Classical Music / Honkyoku
List of Principle Honkyoku
Microtones and Original Shakuhachi
There is also much more in the book than is listed here.
Shakuhachi Master Masayuki Koga studied the flute extensively in his native Japan, working with master teachers including Master Kazan Sakai of the Tozan School and the Kinko Master, his father, Kiichi Koga. From 1967 through 1970, Masayuki was the youngest member of the esteemed Ensemble Nipponia, a 20 member orchestra established to promote the works of contemporary composers such as Minoru Miki and Katsutoshi Nagasawa. In 1972, he was invited to perform in the United States, where he found genuine interest in the shakuhachi and Japanese music. He moved to the U.S. the following year, living and teaching in San Francisco.
In 1981, Masayuki founded the Japanese Music Institute of America (JMI) to introduce the highesty quality of Japanese classical music to the U.S. Since then, JMI has fostered the appreciation and study of traditional Japanese music and modern world music.