This is Koga Sensei's advanced teaching guide for players approaching master level in study of the shakuhachi. This book explains how to breathe properly, blow naturally and concentrate the mind while playing. It provides a detailed account of the physiology involved in blowing shakuhachi with a focus on the correct ways of holding the tongue, positioning the lips and shaping the mouth cavity and throat. Also discussed is the important role of the diaphragm as well as abdominal and back muscles in proper breathing technique and the function of the lower brain in this process. Koga explains the relationship between physical energy in our body and its manifestation as sound emerging through the shakuhachi. This volume is the culmination of Koga's thirty-five years of experience as a player and teacher of the shakuhachi. The second part of this volume, takes us through the honkyoku piece Shika no Tone (The Distant Cry of Deer) phrase-by-phrase, complete with Koga's instructions, accompanying CD and annotations for notation, pitch, head movement and fingering.
"The extremely important core of music or even of our life is; expansion for freedom. Freedom to play music without chain or any restriction. In order to be free we need to open our mind and body. However it is easy to say but, it is difficult to do. Then how to open up our whole body depends on how steadily and concretely start and keep going forward to reach our goal step by step. That is about this book from my 50 years experience.
"We start from basic breathing, simple posture and gradually we check each part of the body some are visible (we say outer-muscles), some are difficult to see or touch (inner muscles) including organs like throat, inside mouth, diaphragm, and back-muscles. In order to check our whole body since we have around six hundred muscles (it is plenty), so we need to do gradually therefore, you could open and read this book wherever you feel comfortable (You don’t have to start reading from first page; just open the book and enjoy that page. And when you feel start reading from the first page, then that is the time to organize your idea of managing the whole body. But don’t force yourself because it is good to maintain the free-attitude for anything."
Masayuki Koga is a teacher, composer and virtuoso performer of traditional and contemporary shakuhachi music. He received a shihan (master's credential) from the Tozan Ryu in 1964 after studying many years with Master Kazan Sakai. A former member of the Nihon Ongaku Shudan (Ensemble Nipponia), Koga has recorded several albums of contemporary and classical shakuhachi music. He is founder of the Japanese Music Institute in San Francisco.
65 pages. PG-6
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