6 good reasons to learn shakuhachi

6 good reasons to learn shakuhachi

1. It is a very special instrument: its sounds is unique and will open a new world for you.

2. It is a deep breathing training: bringing your awareness to your breath is relaxing and a deep breathing training is very good for your health. It will help you find a quiet moment for yourself.

3. It is a challenging instrument:

  • physically: to get a sound, to keep it, to get the proper pitch.
  • mentally: to go on and don’t give up because it’s more difficult than what you thought. You can do it.
  • energetically: it’s a mirror of your energy level, and it will help you to improve it.
  • spiritually: you’ll have to let go of your self and accept what is given by the flute. Playing the old traditional music is a spiritual act.

4. It is a very old tradition, which reaches people deeply.

5. It will improve your concentration in your daily life.

6. It will bring peace in your life. And you’ll be able to share this peace with the people around you by playing shakuhachi for them.

Online Shakuhachi Performances

The Covid-19 pandemic has initiated new activities in my life as a professional shakuhachi player, which is to perform online. I had some resistance at the beginning of the pandemic and it took me time to surrender to the situation… and start performing online.

And now, I’m really liking it. It is very different from physical performances of course and I do miss the direct interaction with the audience, but it feels special to be connected at the same time to people sitting in different places in the world. And there is sometimes even a more personal interaction with the audience through the chat than during a real concert.

This keeps me going. I’m not waiting anymore for the “old situation” to come back, I don’t believe it ever will. So I’m building up with what is possible for me here and now.

So I’m very happy to announce my next online performances!

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Online Meditations 2022

Did you know that my weekly online meditations, which I started in May 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic with the purpose of staying connected and blowing together for better health in the world, are still going on?

Every week on Wednesday, we blow shakuhachi and meditate together for 20 to 30 minutes on Zoom (10 to 15 minutes Chakra Meditation and 10 minutes RO-buki.).

During the sessions, the focus goes inwards. You connect to your body, to your inner peace through your breathing and blow with full awareness what your heart tells you (solidarity with the world’s sufferings, healing, compassion, love, emptiness, silence,…), uniting your sounds and efforts with those of the other participants. 

“A group of people coming together in a state of presence generate a collective energy field of great intensity.” (Eckhart Tolle)

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6 Shakuhachi Practice Tips for Busy People

When you have little time to practice shakuhachi, what should you do to make progress and be happy with your practice?

Here are some tips to help you. Let me know which one you find the most useful!

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The Sound of Nature and Shakuhachi

A Shakuhachi Podcast

In July, my student Christof Zürn, creator of Music Thinking, interviewed me for a podcast about shakuhachi. You can listen to it here .

Earlier this year, we prepared the interview with having an improvisation session in nature, that we recorded.  Christof mixed some moments of it in the podcast and I published a short video on my YouTube Channel.
We had fun with the geese flowing by, pieces of trees falling on us… We also played Kyorei together. Watch it here:

Shakuhachi belongs to nature

A few days after the podcast was released, I found a very interesting paper about Japanese music, written by Akikazu Nakamura. I already had the deep conviction that honkyoku music takes another dimension when played outside. This paper confirms my experience and gives some very interesting insights about Japanese music, that are important to know in order to improve one’s understanding of playing Japanese music. Here is a short summary and analysis of Nakamura’s paper.

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New Music for Flute & Shakuhachi

What an honour to play music composed especially for you!

Duo Satsuzen
© Pierre-Alain Balmer

We (Duo Satsuzen) have been waiting for more than a year (because of cancelled concerts due to to the Covid-19 pandemic) to perform the two new compositions we received in 2021!!

Ellipse, by Elizabeth BROWN (commissioned by the Hijiri Shakuhachi Foundation for Duo Satsuzen) and Ginyo, by Atsuki SUMI (dedicated to Duo Satsuzen).

Two compositions using different lengths of flute (C-flute, G-flute, shakuhachi 1.8 en shakuhachi 2.4), opening the possibilities of subtle variations in tone colours and volume.

It was such a special experience to share this beautiful music “live” with the audience of the “Temple de la Servette” in Geneva (Switzerland) in April.

Watch them back here:

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Deep Breathing Meditation

What is your relationship with your breathing? Do you ignore it, train it, observe it?… Has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your awareness about your breathing in any way?

Blowing the shakuhachi is a deep breathing training. Over the years, I notice that my breathing’s awareness and quality have improved, and as a result, the connection with my breathing has increased my inner peace, my ability to manage my emotions, and more generally, my feeling of happiness.

Since February 2022, I give live meditation sessions of the app Insight Timer. I share with the participants the deep breathing meditation training in relation to the musical tradition of shakuhachi, which combines the unique sounds of the flute with inspiring music.
Being connected with people from all over the world at the same time is really special.

These sessions are FREE, so don’t hesitate to follow me and attend my sessions!

You can also train by yourself anytime, listening to my audio meditations on the app. Keep reading to discover how.

Subscribe to my blog here and don’t miss any post:

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Let’s Celebrate Milestones!

When comes the end of the year, let’s take a moment to look back, reflect and celebrate accomplishments!

Shakuhachi Milestones

What milestones did you reach this year? What new pieces, techniques, did you learn? Can you be grateful to yourself for your efforts? (and your teacher’s?)
Even holding on to your practice is already an accomplishment. More, (more pieces, techniques, etc.) is not always necessary.
Or was it blowing RO? Gaining in awareness? Listening to yourself? Releasing excess tensions?
Is there anything related to shakuhachi, even small, that can you celebrate?

Other milestones

Think about your work, your personal life, your social life,…, what milestones can you celebrate?

Do Less

Doing less can also be an accomplishment: what things, thoughts, did you let go of that didn’t serve you anymore?
Did you make space for new things, or just made space for… more space in your life?

Five Milestones

Could you pick up (up to) five milestones and celebrate them? What were the five most important things for you this year?

Allow me to celebrate with you my top 5 shakuhachi milestones!

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Stress and Shakuhachi (Part 3) – Practices to reduce stress

I don’t know for you, but for me 2021 is being even more challenging than 2020. Or is it that, thanks to my meditation and shakuhachi practice, I become more and more aware of my own stress? And others’ stress as well?

In any case, I would like to give a follow up to the two posts about Stress and Shakuhachi that I wrote last year (Part 1 and Part 2).

In those posts, I wrote about the stress you can experience while playing shakuhachi (or any other music instrument) in front of others (teacher, public performance,…) and how to practice to reduce it.

In this post however, I’d like to address how the wisdom of shakuhachi can help you in your daily life to become aware of your own stress… and work on it.

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Shakuhachi Secrets

There is something mysterious in shakuhachi, mysterious and profound. Is it in the sound? Is it in the notation? Is it in the music?
I remember the lessons with Fukuda Teruhisa sensei, when we were avidly listening to his explanations with the hope of understanding the music and the notation a bit better. I am not talking about how to play the piece technically. I am talking about how to play it properly and uncover its secrets. It could sometimes seem unclear because it asked us to listen even more carefully to our sensei, to the music and to ourselves. Playing shakuhachi is a quest towards one’s self. It is much more than making sounds with a flute.

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Hélène Seiyu Codjo

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