I can’t believe it’s already one year I’ve been writing this blog. When I started it, I had no idea I would like it so much. I didn’t have much expectations, just wanted to try and see. One year later, I’d like to thank all my readers for their support, nice comments, reading, listening. If you like my music and stories, please don’t hesitate to follow me by entering your e-mail address on the website. You’ll receive my posts as soon as they are published. Please also check regularly the pages, I post new music there from time to time.
Keep on reading, I have a little surprise for you today…
I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. My motivation for writing this blog was to share my shakuhachi journey and its diversity. And to help to get more people to know about the Hijirikai school (Sainte-Ecole) created by Fukuda Teruhisa.
A lot happened in this year 2017, that you can find back in my posts. The main topics are practice, teaching, meditation and dementia.
In the practice section, you’ll find tips for practicing shakuhachi. In the Repertoire or Music sections, you’ll find information about the pieces I’m teaching and some recordings. When I was a student (and still now when I study a new piece), I was always looking for information and recordings, so I thought it would be useful for my students to have access to this kind of resources. It’s by far not complete, I’m still working on it. The recordings you’ll find are practice recordings. They reflect where I am in a piece at the moment I’m practicing it. They are not perfect, neither is the sound quality. They are also useful for me to listen back and improve myself, so that I can replace old recordings by new ones.
I like to use different lengths of flutes, to explore the connection between a specific flute and a specific piece. There is no end of it, the journey is the goal, and the journey is great.
I teach my students the music of the Hijirikai repertoire and you’ll find back in my way of teaching what I write in this blog. It’s who I am. I’m very active in teaching in the Netherlands because I’m happy to give the possibility to people to learn this amazing instrument. I also offer the possibility of Skype lessons, although I prefer personal contact, but they can be very helpful too. I’m always impressed by people trying to learn playing shakuhachi by themselves because it’s so difficult. However, for the traditional pieces, the oral transmission is still the way to learn the music, beyond the notation.
I came to meditation through shakuhachi. This year has been the real start of a consistent meditation practice for me. Shakuhachi speaking, I notice it helps me to deepen my understanding of the honkyoku and improves the quality of my performances. I’m planning in the coming months to write more about this topic and become more active in this area with group sessions and performances. To be followed…
If I had one key word to give to summarise this year from the meditation point of view, it would be “acceptance”. 2017 is the year I understood the true meaning of this word. Acceptance is seeing the things the way they are, it is seeing the reality in the present moment. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the way the things are. But in order to change them, you need first to be able to see them truly.
Don’t be perfect, be yourself.
Acceptance helps me to improve myself and my way of playing. It teaches me to know who I am, without judging, but positively working on my weaknesses and my strengths. It’s a great feeling when you perform and a good remedy to frustration.
It implies trust, honesty, courage, humility, and letting go. It is not easy, but it brings so much back!
I have so many stories to tell each time I come back from the dementia care house ! I first started telling them orally around me and noticed rapidly that my family and friends were very interested, surprised, and wanted to hear more. So I decided to share these stories with more people, via this blog. It’s also a way to give back a memory to people who are losing theirs, so that we can remember them even though we don’t know them, and to give them a place in our daily “outside world” they don’t belong to anymore.
These visits are inspiring and heart warming. If I try to remember my first visits in 2014 and compare them to now, I’m convinced they have improved the way I’m playing, especially in terms of concentration and expression. Although I still never know what to expect from the patients, I’m less destabilised by their reactions and can read them better. And I see more and more the positive effects of the shakuhachi on them.
Here is my little surprise for you today to celebrate this first year anniversary: a video of me playing my first composition for shakuhachi, Fukurō (ふくろうorフクロウ, Owl). It is part of the puppet show “Hands up!” by Lejo, running at the moment. It was an inspiring collaboration. When I was asked to play shakuhachi for Leo’s new scene, I didn’t expect to end up writing my own music! Although I didn’t choose the theme, I could find a strong connection to my personal world and especially to the highlight of 2017, my trip to Japan!
The music isn’t free of rights, so please respect the authors rights. I hope you enjoy!
See you again soon on my blog 🙂