Saturday, March 13, 2010


"Okuda’s teaching is based on ‘old-fashioned’ Japanese concepts, in which the pupil is expected to imitate the teacher’s playing. That, however, is not the whole story: whenever I studied a honkyoku piece with Okuda, we would go through it phrase by phrase, with him explaining the new techniques involved. Then, in order to get the shape of the piece, we would play it through together what seemed an unlimited number of times. Each time, Okuda played the piece slightly differently. In the beginning I found this frustrating – just when I thought I had it right, Okuda would come with a surprise! After a while I simply accepted this as part of Okuda’s pedagogic method and just tried to play along as best I could. Much later I realised that this was the most efficient way to learn the true sprit of honkyoku and the instrument itself, and thus it enabled me to improvise on it." - Kiku Day

My teacher Morimasa Horiuchi has used a similar teaching method. Most interesting is the variabilty in approach for a honkyoku over time. To play that moment who you are, how you are. Changing as the seasons. The other week we played what could only be described as a Winter Choshi. To play along with the changes, well, that opens your ears, it opens your heart.