Monday, December 12, 2011

Bamboo Dreams Concert and Workshop Photos

David Wheeler gave us an amazing workshop and concert. I’ll talk about it more in my next post but for now, here’s a few photos from the events.
Instruction at our all day shakuhachi workshop. David working with Barbara and Mike.
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About Ready to start the concert
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Wayne from our Meetup group got this wonderful photo!

Also check out our web site:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

David Wheeler and Satsuki Odamura - Haru no umi (Spring Sea)

David Wheeler and Satsuki Odamura - Haru no umi (Spring Sea)

Composed by Miyagi Michio (b. 1894 - d. 1956), a blind koto teacher in the Ikuta school. The 1929 duet for shakuhachi and koto, Haru no umi (Spring Sea), has proven Baroque-like in its performance practice, for it is often heard played by the violin, with koto or piano accompaniment. Its style equals the French composer Claude Debussy in his most oriental moments

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December’s Gathering Updates

We had our Monthly gathering of the Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends this Saturday, December 3rd at the Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place.

There was just a couple of us there this month but we still had a wonderful time. We started working on a new group piece called Hamachidori which translates into English as Song of the Seashore Bird (Plover).

(Beach Plovers)
Year: 1919
This piece was composed for Shakuhachi by Hirota Rutaro

The words:
On the beach beneath a blue moon night,
birds cry out, searching for their parents.
They emerge from the land of waves.
Their wet wings the color silver.

Such grief from these birds, crying in the dark.
Crossing the sea, seeking their parents.
They disappear into the land of night.
Young beach plovers with silver wings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Riley Lee performance in honor of Kim Walker, the Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

A recent performance by Riley Lee which was in honor of Kim Walker, the Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The song is Azuma Jishi.
Plus a performance of some bassoons.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shakuhachi Workshop

The Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends has the great honor of Internationally recognized shakuhachi master and scholar David Wheeler (Kansuke II) providing an all day Shakuhachi workshop.

David will present a basics workshop for everyone, a couple of level-specific mini-classes, and even private lessons.

Saturday December 10th at 7:00 PM at the Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place
4425 North Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Specific start and finish times will be posted shortly. If you’d like to attend please let me know so I can insure we’ve got handouts for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bamboo Dreams An Evening with the Shakuhachi Japan's Bamboo Flute Transcends Time and Space

image001> The Shakuhachi is Japan's traditional vertical bamboo flute with five finger holes. It is an ancient instrument, yet due to its versatility, it has a uniquely contemporary appeal with a broad-ranging repertoire that transcends the constricts of time and space.

> Internationally recognized shakuhachi master and scholar David Wheeler (Kansuke II) will be presenting a concert of solo pieces, introducing and performing works of secular and spiritual music spanning 400 years from the classics of the 18th and 19th centuries to modern works of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Saturday December 10th at 7:00 PM at the Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place
4425 North Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Sponsored By the Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Michael “Chikuzen” Gould, master Shakuhachi performer and teacher, Profile/Bio

Michael Chikuzen Gould studied the Shakuhachi (Zen Bamboo flute) in Japan for 15 years under renowned masters Mr. Yokoyam Katsuya and Mr. Taniguchi Yoshinobu. He earned the title of Dai-Shihan or Grand Master in 1995. He returned in 1998 to teach at wittenberg University and the University of Michigan. Gould is currently based in Cleveland Heights, Ohio where he teaches privately when he’s not touring. Gould has published several Cds and instructional books for teaching shakuhachi. On his latest Cd he is accompanied by Buddhist Shomyo chanting. He has toured extensively in the U.S. and Japan, and is currently teaming up with Chieko and Kuniyasu Iwazaki for a two week concert tour.


About Lessons: Chikuzen Studios offers individual shakuhachi lessons and occasionally sponsors workshops and retreats. For details about the types of lessons offered, see:

Beginners as well as experienced players are welcome.
Contact Michael Chikuzen Gould to arrange a lesson or get further information.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shakuhachi glossary 101


Here’s some basic 101 shakuhachi glossary terms. More to come!

  • Atari To strike a finger hole
  • Furi A rapid meri/kari head dip.
  • Kan Upper register
  • Kari Blow by putting the chin up, to raise the tone
  • Komi Buki Big breath, the pulsing characteristic of playing.
  • Meri Blow by putting the chin down, to lower the pitch.
  • Muraiki Blowing so as to create a windy, roaring, effect
  • Nayashi To begin pitch meri and rise to standard pitch
  • Otsu Low register
    Suri Glissando
  • Suri age A slide upwards
  • Tsuyutoshi Cloth for wiping the bore
  • Utaguchi The sharp blowing edge of the shakuhahi
  • Yuri Vibrato

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends Have a New Gathering Place

The Phoenix AZ shakuhachi friends have a new gathering place. We will be meeting in a space located in the Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place, also known as SNAP. If you'd like, check out their web site .

Since 2007, Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place classes have included Yoga, Tai Chi, Swing Dance, Zumba, Belly Dance Basics, Calligraphy, Cards for the Season, The Art of Writing Poetry, Everyday Gifts, Communication 101, Private Music Lessons and "Music on Mondays" for adult amateur chamber musicians. SNAP was the 2010-11 studio home of Natium World Dance with troupe leader K-Lee.

Summer Youth Camps have included Trapeze Camp, Art Camp, MBL Performing Arts Program Camp, and Camp Jam.

In addition to classes and camps, SNAP has sponsored many special events.

All of this will and their location being closer to central Phoenix will help our shakuhachi group to grow and offers us a venue to showcase our music. The space also let's us host shakuhachi concerts and workshops.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ipad Zen Brush Shakuhachi Notation Images

Hello All,

I’ve been working with a program on my ipad called Zen Brush. Very cool program and I created these shakuhachi notation characters with it. Little by little I plan on doing a whole set of Kinko notation characters.  More to come…….

Ro  Tus-meri


Tsu   Ray 


Chi  Re

Thursday, September 1, 2011

About our August Shakuhachi Gathering

four_Shakuhachi_flutesAlong with the 2 people from our Meetup group there were also 3 others who were going to attend and several  maybes. We ended up with 4 players and had a great time. We used the Honkyoku piece Choshi to talk about reading notation, fingering and styles/schools of shakuhachi playing. We also talked about types of shakuhachi flutes. My wife even made us a Asian noodle salad for lunch. Great time!

Our next gathering will be on the 24th of September. Hoping to see a few more new faces!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Core Spirit of Shakuhachi

Taniguchiby Yoshinobu Taniguchi

The spiritual core of shakuhachi manifests itself in what I will call the yureru oto, [Translator’s note: a dynamic fluctuation of the tone] which also mirrors the essence of Zen. Nowadays, most sects of shakuhachi – Tozan, Kinko and current Meian, among others – have forgotten this exquisite yureru oto, which exists in the space between the notes and is what compromises the soulful sound of the shakuhachi.

One must not attempt to play the notes of a shakuhachi song “accurately” or “skillfully”. Playing only the precise pitches prescribed by the notes on the score leads to boring, soulless playing that neither expresses the spirit of the music nor the heart of the player.

Instead, the traditional lifeblood of the shakuhachi is to let each note vary subtly within its permissible scope. This expresses the soul of wabi, sabi, and ma, and leads to the yureru oto. [Translator’s note: wabi can be thought of as an austere, refined beauty, sabi as a solitariness combined with age and tranquility, and ma as timing, or the delicate interval or emptiness which exists between the sounds.] Playing only the average pitches will extinguish these elements, and the soulful sound of the shakuhachi will be lost.

Expressing the sounds that exist between the notes is also the traditional lifeblood of the shakuhachi, and is what helps give rise to the yureru oto’s exquisite reverberations.

It takes a long time and much effort to develop these qualities in one’s playing. During this time, trial, error, and original experimentation are key to success. Five or ten years may pass yielding little progress but much frustration and confusion. At the point your heart and soul become free, however, satori, or “enlightenment”, is experienced, and you think “Ah! It was so simple all along!” At this moment, that which was hidden becomes obvious, and that which was difficult becomes easy. The player and the sound become one, resulting in a deep, profound sound that resonates in the spinal column and touches one’s soul.

Every sound of the shakuhachi can be expressed in a multitude of ways depending on the brilliance of the player’s soul. Thus, all life is study, and this study is dynamic and alive. Your experience of the shakuhachi’s sound never stops evolving.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Shakuhachi (Japanese Bamboo Flute) Hobby Web Site

rsz_shakuhachiCharles Koeppen who setup the Facebook group called Shakuhachi (Japanese Bamboo Flute) Hobby Group now has a new web site called Shakuhachi (Japanese Bamboo Flute) Hobby Pages. The link to his new site is
His site is well organized and has a lot of good information. It’s worth checking out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

27 August Shakuhaci Get Together

Hello all, we had our last get together on the 9th of July and our next get together will be on the 27th of August from 10:00 A.M. to about noon. 

I'd like to invite anyone who even thinks they might have an interest in the shakuhachi to come by, everyone is welcome.

A couple of our members went to the Shakuhachi Camp of the Rockies and will be discussing that experience. 

Chuck Peck

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


My first public recording. This is a piece called Choshi it's one of the original meditative pieces also known as Honkyoko. I’m playing this on a 1.8 Japanese shakuhachi flute.
Choshi Honkyoku by chuckpeck56

Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Gathering Scheduled for Sunday the 10th.

Reminder, the next gathering of Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends will be Sunday July 10th.
Shakuhachi players of all levels are welcome, even if you've never played but are simply interested in knowing more about the shakuhachi come join us.

Contact me if you'd like to join us, there's no cost and again everybody is welcome.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May’s Phoenix Arizona, Shakuhachi Get Together!

stone pathWe had our May shakuhachi get together yesterday, what a wonderful time. There’s still only 3 of us but I’m hoping for more in the future.

Just as learning the shakuhachi is a long term investment so is building a shakuhachi community here is the Phoenix Arizona area. Both are more more of a path then an event.

June looks like a very busy time for us, so we’ll have our next get together in July on Saturday the 9th. Please pass it along to others how might enjoy joining us then.

Our time together was a mix of catching up with each other, what we’ve been doing since we’ve last met, of course playing shakuhachi and a lot of talk about the Rockies Shakuhachi summer Camp that is getting closer. Two of us are attending the camp and hopefully next year we can get a couple more. This is an amazing event for shakuhachi players of any level. While there I’ll be posting updates to this blog and face book via my android phone.

Best wishes to all and please pass this blog onto others who might enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reminder: Our Next Gathering, Saturday 28 May at 10:00 AM

AZpanAnother reminder, the next gathering of Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends will be Sunday 28 May.
Shakuhachi players of all levels are welcome, even if you've never played but are simply interested in knowing more about the shakuhachi come join us.
Contact me if you'd like to join us, there's no cost and again everybody is welcome.

Moving From Flat to Correct Pitch

Shakuhachi101Most new shakuhachi players play flat so learning how to get the correct pitch is really important.
So here’s some ways that might help you to move from too flat to correct pitch. As a new player you want to correct your pitch as soon as possible. It’s very bad to get in the habit of playing flat, much harder to correct when you’ve been doing it for a long time.
To start with you need to know what pitch is correct or you’ll never know when you get there. Get a recording of someone playing individual notes at the correct pitch or use a tuner. They both serve a different role. The recording lets your hear what the correct sound is external to you and the tuner will let you know when your sound is correct.
Try doing exercises to learn how to increase your ability to bend the pitch up and down. the initial way is with a head tilt that should change the angle of your flute in relationship to your mouth/lips. Be careful tilt your head only, don’t move the root end uf the flute up and down.
Them try changing the pressure of the flute against your lips. If you’re jamming the flute against your lips this can cause your flute to be flat.
The next reason and this is a big one, there’s a chance that you are not blowing hard enough and with insufficient diaphragm control. When beginners are flat it's often because they are not blowing correctly. Your breath should be from deep in your chest and stomach. This goes hand in hand with having a good embrasure.
Speaking of embrasure, simply by tightening and loosening lips, no head movements you can change the pitch. Try playing a note for example on ro:and then by tightening and loosening lips, (again no head movements) change the pitch. This is not easy but it will help you develop a lot of control.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Video of WATAZUMIDO DOSO ROSHI (1910-1992)


"So in that sound you have to put in your guts, your strength and your own specialness. And what you are putting in then is your own Life and your own Life Force. When you hear some music or hear some sound, if for some reason you like it very well; the reason is that sound is in balance or in harmony with your pulse. And so making a sound, you try to make various different sounds that imitate various different sounds of the universe, but what you are finally making is your own sound, the sound of yourself."

- Watazumi Doso Roshi

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Next Gathering, Saturday 28 May at 10:00 AM


The next gathering of Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends will be Sunday 28 May. Shakuhachi players of all levels are welcome, even if you've never played but are simply interested in knowing more about the shakuhachi come join us.
Contact me if you'd like to join us, there's no cost and again everybody is welcome.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos Tsuru no Sugomoris at Phil Gelb's dinner series

One of Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos’s Tsuru no Sugomoris at Phil Gelb's dinner series, April 16, 2011

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Komuso Zen Priest Playing Shakuhachi

Komuso Zen Priest Playing Shakuhachi

Play Meris Lower… Lower…


Most new players don’t get meri note low enough. So this 101 tip is to take time in your practice and work on bending you note lower and lower.

If you’ve got a tuner, great use that to see where you  are, how low you’ve gotten. You need to get to the point where you can move to a meri note and feel it naturally. Most meri notes will not be as full sounding as a natural note but during your practice concentrate not just on pitch but keep in mind the note’s quality. Play them until you get the most beautiful note you can get, low, a bit breathy and even by its self, a beautiful sound.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tuner App For Android Devices


gStrings is a chromatic tuner application for android. It will let you tune any musical instrument, such as the violin, viola, violoncello, bass, guitar, piano and wind instruments. Its free as in free beer, available for download through the android market.

Also here’s the creators web site:

I’ve been using it and its as good as my KORG TM-40 tuner.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Next Gathering is 23 April at 10:00 AM

The next gathering of Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends will be 23 April. Shakuhachi players of all levels are welcome, even if you've never played but are simply interested in knowing more about the shakuhachi come join us.

Contact me if you'd like to join us, there's no cost and again everybody is welcome.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shakuhachi glossary, Meri & Kari

Shakuhachi glossary 2
Kari, in shakuhachi music, is both a property of a note and a technique. To play a note kari means to play it with raised pitch, relative to playing the note meri. In addition to sharpening the pitch, playing a note kari also modifies the tone color or timbre of a note.
The usual technique to play a note kari is to raise the chin, increasing the angle and distance between the embouchure and utaguchi (blowing edge).
The opposite of Kari is Meri where the chin is lowered to and the pitch becomes lower.

Site link(URL) changed!

Hello All,

The link (URL) to the site has changed. it's now

Best wishes,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shakuhachi 101, Embouchure

The very first thing to learn about the shakuhachi is embouchure. I believe this because if you can’t even make a bad sound you get discouraged pretty fast.
The general method of making sounds with the shakuhachi is sorta like making sounds with a beer bottle. With a shakuhachi and a beer bottle you’re blowing a stream of air across the far edge of the opening. Many beginners get light headed from blowing the shakuhachi. This tends to happen because the embouchure is too big and inefficient. It takes a lot less air to play than you’d think at first.
Your embouchure should be somewhat like a smile but obviously without completely closing your lips.  The edge you’re blowing across is called the Uta-guchi and the opening in your smile should typically be a little smaller than the cut curved edge.
Also the horizontal slit in your smile should be small vertically, you’re trying to be precise about the air your blowing. If you’re not quite getting it, try watching how you look like in a mirror as you play,
One last tip, most new players, play flat, sometimes to the point that they think the flute is out of tune. Most times it’s not the flute, really! Keep trying to push the tone up or even get a cheap electronic tuner to see where your at.

Shakuhachi 101 Topics

I will be starting up a series of post called “Shakuhachi 101”.
What will be in these posts are not the definitive statement on any of the subjects. The posts will be geared to new players who are looking for a simple very basic overview about the subject. I have no belief that these posting will answer all your questions or even 100% correct by everyone’s interpretation. I hope they will be a value to some.

New Shakuhachi Forum

There’s a new Shakuhachi forum. It’s called the ESS Shakuhachi Forum. The ESS Shakuhachi Forum is a place to interact with the world shakuhachi community on a variety of shakuhachi topics.
The link to this new forum is

The old forum  is now an archive only site. Posting has been disabled but the archives are available to all.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends is and is not!

Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends is:
  • A place for any level shakuhachi player to share tips and help others.
  • A place to get help and support from other shakuhachi players.
  • A place to hopefully build some friendships with other players.
  • a place where hopefully we can play songs together.
Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends is not:
  • A place where you’ll receive lessons from a professional shakuhachi teacher.
  • A place that should be your only source of shakuhachi learning.
I truly believe learning to play the shakuhachi on your own is a very difficult path. Even if you can not find a local teacher, I recommend taking lessons with a professional teacher over Skype or some other remote method.
With that said, if the only place you get any help learning the shakuhachi is at our get-togethers, that may be your path and we will do what can be done to help you along.
Best wishes,
Chuck Peck