How to Play the Shakuhachi Free Video Course

close-up of shakuhachi embouchure how to play shakuhachi

In my free, four part video course, I go into every fundamental aspect of how to play the shakuhachi. In the first video, I’ll show you how to safely hold shakuhachi of various lengths. I’ll demonstrate how proper posture or ‘form’ is essential for playing your shakuhachi. In video two, I show you how to position or ‘align’ the shakuhachi on your face in order to make a sound.

Video three has me going in depth on how you’ll form your lips our embouchure for playing your shakuhachi. Then in video four, I share with you how to play the higher, second register of the shakuhachi, which is known in Japanese as Kan.

Throughout my videos I clear up a number of misconceptions about playing the shakuhachi. For example, I bust the myth that you’ll need to develop extra-human lung capacity in order to play your shakuhachi.

My videos cover far more than what was possible in my previously offered ‘free 1-hour live lesson’, thus they replace it. Plus, you can play them back as many times as needed, pause, or even watch in slow-mo (soon to be ad free via Vimeo, so no more YouTube ads interrupting your practice). I wish you the best and thank you for untrusting me with teaching you. Enjoy and happy learning, Josen

How to Play the Shakuhachi Free Video Course

1. How to Hold Shakuhachi

I also give a more in depth look at:

2. How to make a sound on the shakuhachi

In this video, we look at your alignment and playing angle, and how they both affect your pitch and tone. First, I show you how to make a sound on the shakuhachi by lining-up the sharp edge of the utaguchi or ‘song mouth’ with your lip opening or air stream, also known as the embouchure. Then, we look at your playing angle, how you might approach different types of shakuhachi, common mistakes beginners make, and how you can grow in the direction you want with your shakuhachi sound and playing.

3. Shakuhachi embouchure – forming your lips to play shakuhachi

I’ve gained insights into shakuhachi embouchure from years of helping countless people with getting their first sounds and improving. We all have unique anatomies, we often strive for different sounds, and our shakuhachi usually vary as well! This video focuses on some of the unifying principles which apply to every approach I’ve seen for playing the shakuhachi.

4. How to play Kan – the higher register of the shakuhachi

In this video, I show you how to play the often illusive higher sound of the shakuhachi called Kan. This is the second register of the shakuhachi, sometimes incorrectly called the second octave. I also give a close-up view of my lips and Hara or ‘abdomen’ while playing. As I say in the video, the Hara is truly the heart of shakuhachi playing; it works together with your lips to get each and every sound on your shakuhachi. For example, to get Kan you’ll typically generate more power from your Hara and focus it at your lips with a smaller opening.

After going over these videos I encourage you to check out my shakuhachi note charts, after which you can move on to my free guide on how to play your first Honkyoku, title Kyorei.

Feel free to reach out if you’d like to begin studying with me directly.