Q9: Which playing guides and books do you recommend?
A: The two most comprehensive playing guides for shakuhachi are Christopher Yohmei Blasdel's Shakuhachi: A Manual for Learning and Masayuki Koga's Shakuhachi: Japanese Bamboo Flute. Not surprisingly, these are also the most expensive.
For the beginning player, an excellent and affordable manual is Yoshinobu Taniguchi's How to Play the Shakuhachi: A Guide to the Japanese Bamboo Flute. This edition comes with a compact disk keyed to the practice exercises in the book. It was written for a course in shakuhachi offered by Mr. YoshinobuTaniguchi who was visiting professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Also available, is a four-CD set and sheet music by Taniguchi-sensei.
Very popular and highly recommended
are three excellent instructional videos in English by Bruce Huebner.
Volume 1 - KINKO Shakuhachi for Beginners
Volume 2 - Kinko Shakuhachi and Jiuta Ensemble
Volume 3 - How to Play Kinko Shakuhachi Honkyoku:
Most of the playing guides listed in the Sourcebook are well-written, oriented to the beginner, but vary in their approach to the instrument and its traditional music. Of special interest is John Kaizan Neptune's Shakuhachi: A Tozan Playing Guide. It is the only volume that goes over Tozan Ryu notation. All of the others deal with Kinko Ryu notation.
For those interested in making as well as learning to play the shakuhachi, I recommend my own book on the subject as well as Elmer Takeo Kudo's Kinko Shakuhachi: One Maker's Approach which offers detailed information and numerous photographs detailing the craft of the instrument.
For general background, you might consider the Annals of the International Shakuhachi Society - Volumes 1 & 2.
Click here for a complete listing of shakuhachi playing guides.