It has been a while since updating, I have several to do, maybe I will have a blog marathon today…Maybe.
Either way I will start with Shakuhachi. I am finally making some progress with my studies. I played a small bit of Summertime, I have been working on, for my Sensei’s opinion. He was pleased. He said he can not play like that with my use of “blues” notes. Japanese do not “hear” that way. He gave me an example of him copying me. It was different. He says he does not do well with Jazz either. He is a very good traditional player but new stuff and improvising, not so much. It really is more of a reflexion of his limitations than my skills but, I will take it anyway.
On the traditional front, I am finally almost finished my first full honkyoku zen Komuso song. What is even cooler is I am reading it, and not playing from memory. When I was a music major I was lazy, I would always end up memorizing the song I needed to play rather than just read it. I was almost going down that path again with this. However I ran into problems after a small break from class and had to repeat sections from here or here when Sensei pointed. Oh boy, I thought, this is embarrassing. Ok, I need to crack down and memorize these written Katakana notes. It was a vast improvement to my piece of mind once I did that. It will open larger venues for me, later. For now I am just pleased I can read the score I am on. When I look at it I think, oh snap, can read this scratching, how cool is that!
Another thing to do with the shakuhachi but not musically. I have been wanted a place to put my shakuhachi when they needed to be stored or set down. Finally after much thought and some effort I design and built a couple of stands from Bamboo. The Bamboo I gathered from a small grove next to a Buddhist temple.
With very minimal tools I made two racks. One for me, which hangs on the wall. Another for my Sensei, I notice when he has several out he just lays them on the top of his piano. With the rack it will be neater and safer from rolling.
I have been giving some thought to my Shakuhachi pilgrimage for next year on my two year anniversary of playing. I am thinking I may go to Kyoto , to a different temple instead of back to Wakayama. Maybe that will be my thing, every year a different Komuso temple.
Next week I am off to Nara. There I will meet with a real life Komuso Monk. He will show me around and I will get some low down on the Life and times of a modern-day Komuso monk. I am interested to know more of how the Zen aspect works within this sect.