Shakuhachi in the Time of Global Pandemic

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog, and it’s getting on three years since I first launched it. I originally started this blog to record my path as a beginning shakuhachi player, and over the past three and a half years or so, I have made a fair amount of progress.

I met many obstacles along the way, such as severe thumb pain that caused me to change hands; to play with my left hand on the bottom rather than the right. That change took about six months, and coincided with covid lockdown.But I’ve gotten past that now, and can play “left handed” comfortably now.

The lockdown caused me some motivation issues, and I struggled for a while to practice regularly, going sometimes for a couple of weeks without picking up a shakuhachi. But I’ve made a lot of progress in the past few months, notably learning Shingetsu, one of my favorite pieces, at least in the version played in the Zensabo style, which is very slow and moving.

So, for now, I’ve learned the following pieces:

  • Kyorei
  • Hifumi cho
  • Honte no Shirabe
  • Yamato Choshi
  • Sokkan
  • Shingetsu

And I am currently learning Kyushu Reibo.

I’m starting to feel comfortable with this music, and I’ve gone well beyond just learning the notes, and am paying much more attention to things like dynamics and flow when I practice. It’s a fascinating journey.

One Reply to “Shakuhachi in the Time of Global Pandemic”

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