Some months ago, my fellow shakuhachi craftsman and friend Jem Klein asked me to write a book on how to play the shakuhachi. He wanted to be able to offer my book along with the sale of his shakuhachi and thought it would be good for me as a teacher. However, I really didn’t want to create a book at the time because I felt that live lessons or videos were much more effective. When I expressed this to Jem and other people in my life it was pointed out to me, in various ways, that everyone learns differently and that a book can act as a supplement to live lessons and videos. It was also pointed out to me that some will want to get started with a book and then decide if they want to take a live lesson. Advised and encouraged, I set out on the admittedly daunting task of cobbling together my first book.
In it, I largely stay focused on how to play the shakuhachi. I also answer some of the most common questions people ask in lessons, such as, how to acquire a shakuhachi, how to care for them, and so on. Sticking with tradition, all of the notation is in Japanese Katakana and I explain how to read it. There are also high resolution photographs of my lips for the embouchure and of me demonstrating how to hold the shakuhachi. Lastly, there are some simple exercises and 28 folk songs with a link to free mp3’s of each. UPDATE 2020 – I now have a free video series demonstrating the essentials of how to play the shakuhachi which you can find here (this replaces the free live lesson since making the Bell Shakuhachi has left me with no time to teach).
It was quite a learning experience creating my first book. I hope some of you find it to be a useful and a welcome addition. Thank you to my friends for encouraging me to do this. RO on, Jon~