This term is used by Fukuda Teruhisa to invite us to play some honkyoku with flutes of different lengths (1.8, 2.4, 2.7) using transposed parts in order to play each piece in unison. He calls it “harmonisation of the breaths”. He wrote special versions of Honte Choshi and Yamato Choshi for this practice, with the idea of mixing the specific colours of each flute to enrich the global result.
I borrowed this term to give it as name for special sessions I have been organising from time to time with my students to play shakuhachi together. These are meetings where we meditate and play together. They are no lessons or rehearsals, even though we sometimes play from notation (Fukiawase or standard versions of honkyoku). It is a moment to blow together and inspire each other, to be in the “here and now”, listen, feel and experiment. It is different each time. Everyone can give a suggestion and feel free to participate actively or silently. Because silence is also part of music.
Teaching or not Teaching
As a teacher, it is a very rewarding moment. I usually lead the beginning and the end of the session, but I don’t teach. It feels really nice to encourage the creativity of my students and it makes me happy to hear what they can do and dare to experiment when they are not in the student-teacher setting anymore. Quite amazing sometimes!
Last session was on Tuesday June 25, this is the way I chose this year to get my students together to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer (last year, I had organised a students concert in Rotterdam). Speaking of summer, it was actually 37ºC, which is quite abnormal for Holland, and we sweated a lot! I was very happy that so many of my students came to participate to the session, travelling from different parts of Holland, even Germany. I shared with them my experiments about my “chakra meditation with shakuhachi” and I think they liked it.
What happens during these Fukiawase sessions could not happen during a regular lesson, nor a rehearsal. It combines at the same time spontaneity, freedom, concentration, playfulness, full awareness and creativity. Definitively artistic skills.
I received so much energy that evening – the energy of 11 shakuhachi blowing together – that I could still feel it in the following days. And I needed it. I have been so much struggling the last couple of months with my artistic life, that I was quite low in energy. If I start to doubt myself again, I can think back of this session and feel the energy stream again. Thank you all.