Some months ago, my fellow shakuhachi craftsman and friend Jem Klein asked me to write a book on how to play the shakuhachi. However, I really didn’t want to 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 that everyone learns differently and that a book can also act as a supplement to live lessons and videos. Some also mentioned that some will want to just 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 stayed focused on how to play the shakuhachi. I also answer some of the most common questions people ask in lessons, like 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 show people 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. I’ll also have a free video series demonstrating much of what’s in the book (you can now find the free videos here).
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~