Monday, May 23, 2011


I had another lesson with Michael tonight.  Side note:  being steeped in Japanese martial and Zen traditions, I don't know if I should call Michael by his name.  The dude is a Dai Shihan after all.  It is a strange thing in the West.  I have just as often run into people who avoid title as I have those who would be offended if they are not used.  Sometimes, I have encountered both perspectives from the same person.  Either way, he is my teacher, I am greatly appreciative of the time he takes to guide me.

Back on topic...

I know I have to practice more, but things are going well.  I am starting to use meri notes with both shading and half holing in more and more songs.  I am able to most of the tings he has me try, but I can sense that it would be even more productive if I had a lesson in person.  (someday)

We looked a bit at Etenraku but then began working on a honkyoku piece called Sanson no Yugure (Mt. Village at Dusk).

I echoed hom phrase by phrase.  In each phrase we stopped and discussed some of the unique stylistic elements that are not captured in the score.  It involved trills, vibrato, and other notations.  This is clearly something that would be ridiculous to try to learn properly without one on one guidance.

What is especially interesting are the notations in some of the phrases.  Rather than describing a technical detail, some describe a physical scene, or a moment in time that the phrase is trying to embody.  It is a very different approach to both playing and learning.

Since this was not on my usual lesson night, I have less than 2 weeks before I work with Michael again.

Practice practice.

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