Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Good Looking On-line Metronome

simplebestmetronomeI’ve been trying to build my tempo/rhythm skills. So I thought about going old school and getting a metronome. Then I came across this on line one that looks and works just like a real one.

I’ve tried digital ones but it helps me to have the visual of the the swinging arm.

This site has a few other links and things but big and in the center of the screen is a real looking metronome. There’s buttons down the right side to let you choose speeds from 40 BPM to 200!

If you’d like to try them out here’s their link:

Also don’t forget to check out our Shakuhachi group web site at

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Videos from 2012 Phoenix Matsuri Festival.

Kokin Gumi & Friends (Jim Thompson on Shakuhachi) performing at the 2012 Phoenix Matsui festival. Our group met up there to here the performance. Also the Matsuri festival is very cool stuff overall.

Don't forget to check out our web site at .

Friday, February 10, 2012

Good Days and Bad Days!

 To start with I’ve been playing for about 6-7 years now and feel like I’m doing well. I’ve got a small repertoire of songs I will do in public. I practice about 30 minutes most mornings and more often than not about 30 more either at lunch time or in the evening.


My lunch time paying is done in a local park so I can get used to performing in front of other people. I find a comfortable place and open my binder and run through my songs. Starting with Choshi, then Tsuki gusano yume (drean of moon grass), then into Azuma no kyoko, hama chidori and kojono ysuki. I’ve just recently thrown into my play binder Sanya. Normally I make it through my lunch music, sometimes well done, sometimes ok.


Here’s a bit of what I experienced today. Almost all of my playing started out so weak and thready I stopped playing and went through some scales to try and reset my embrasure. I’d have things going well for a bit then I’d lose it again. Especially the top end of Kan and meri notes, so chi meri and hi were REALY rough!


Ok, so I’m not asking for advice. I’m just saying that even after 7 years of fairly devoted practice, some days the shakuhachi can be humbling. So tomorrow morning, I'm back out for an ealry Saturday in the park and going at it again. 


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Had our February shakuhachi gathering, playing, instruction and party.

We had our February 4th Shakuhachi Gathering at my home in stead of our normal Scottsdale location. We basically had our normal agenda of mentoring and instruction but then we also had a party.

I live up in Cave Creek with an amazing few of mountains from our front porch. The space we used for the instruction was big enough for us to play flute without any issues. The room has great acoustics.  Steve and Howard, two new members to our group joined us. We had 6 players attend our gathering and it felt like everyone had a great time.

We also had some time for those who wanted to show off a bit and play for each other. Howard who normally plays the native American flute did a few songs for us.

My wife Bina made us some food for our party. Yummy stuff!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Go see Kokin Gumi & Friends at the 2012 Japanese Matsuri Festival

Kokin GumiThe The 28th Annual Matsuri Festival of Japan is on February 25-26. Featuring exhibits, demonstrations, arts and crafts, children's activities, bonsai displays, Japanese food, and 3 stages of live entertainment.

One of the performances if by a group called Kokin Gumi & Friends. Music with Traditional Japanese Instruments including Shakuhachi. Their performance is at 3:30 on the Plaza stage, lets all meet up there and see their performance.

There is so much more to see and do all day. check our there web site at Also it's FREE! You can also check out Mark Zemnick's site for photos from last year. . Again so much cool stuff to see. I'll be there most of the day and hope to see you at the Kokin Gumi performance.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The International Shakuhachi Society Info

 The International Shakuhachi Society is a world forum for people interested in the Japanese bamboo flute. It enables players, teachers, composers, ethnomusicologists and hobbyists to share information with a wide and sympathetic audience. On average they have over one hundred full time members.

Check out there web site at:

 The site contains special features and tools for members to track their collections, create Bio Pages, and list Events. We are working towards allowing members to contribute to many portions of the site.
The society focuses on the following topics:
The history of the Japanese musical instruments shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen.
The history of the Komuso monks.
The history of music compositions: Zen music, classical chamber music, modern music.
The notation and playing techniques of the various schools.
Information about musicians and recordings.A Komoso
Are you looking to meet other players in your area, access additional content, or contribute to the site? Then consider becoming a member. Dues keep the site alive and growing.
This site is a catalog of historical information, not a store. To purchase a shakuhachi or recordings, or find information about current musical events please visit our Sites & Events tab. We cannot advise you on where to find copies of recordings or sheet music since we don't know either. Unfortunately most are out of print. Your best bets are - Meijiro.
For an ongoing discussion of shakuhachi related topics check out the Shakuhachi Forum.
The information at this site has been compiled from various texts and contributions of our members. We have done our best to keep the information accurate but there are probably many errors and omissions, both historical and philosophical. With our member's help this site will constantly improve in quantity and quality.