A new spark!

     My old friend Jon Kypros has outdone himself with his new creation!  He has created a new affordable shakuhachi called "The Bell".  I have been away from playing for some time but when I saw his new creation I was intrigued.  

     He has created a molded flute made of an "eco-composite" that is element resistant and actually looks real in person.  I can't tell you how many people have had to see the mold line on the rear of the flute to believe it wasn't bamboo.  

    I own some very nice flutes and have played some amazing flutes in my time including treasures from Taniguchi's collection and this flute is very balanced and the tone is beautiful.  It has become my go to flute for daily playing.  It is balanced between the octaves with no issues achieving full tones rivaling my professional Senryu jiari flute.

Check out this video below and do yourself a favor... get one while he is still producing them!  http://www.flutedojo.com

Florida Shakuhachi Camp kicks off in just a couple days. I will be posting pictures and info here after the camp. It is beautiful outside and we still have room for one more if anyone changes
If you are still considering coming to camp I need to know by Sept 15 so I can reserve your room. Please email me at brian@floridashakuhachi.com if you have any questions. Thanks!
I commissioned a young lady to draw a komuso print for me to offer for sale for those that are interested. It is on 11"x17" acid free card stock and the actual image is 9 3/4"wx16"h. The cost of the prints is $20usd plus $5usd shipping in the states and $10usd overseas. Below are some pictures of the print with some close ups to show the detail in the print. brian@floridashakuhachi.com

I headed out Friday morning to Cleveland, OH for some very needed one on one time with Michael Chikuzen Gould. After jumping through the airport hoops on the way I finally arrived in Cleveland where I promptly took the train from the terminal to meet with Chikuzen. It had been some time since I had studied with him in person as real life tends to catch up with us all.

When I got there he picked me up at the train station waiting with that big Chikuzen grin I have grown accustomed to seeing every time we meet. We hopped in the car and went to his house for some quick BBQ and went right to playing.

It always amazes me how effective in person intensives with a great Sensei can be. Skype is a great tool to use for weekly lessons but I definitely feel they should be in partner with the quarterly one on one meeting whether it be at a camp or one of Chikuzen's bed and breakfast retreats where you get his attention for one weekend solely.

We worked through some of the pieces I have been working on for some time now including Yamagoe, Yama Tani, Takiochi and others. I love how he breaks pieces down into bits sized morsels you can actually ingest in a useful way.

If you are like me, you have pieces you play and there are always portions that you aren't quite 100% sure about. Sometimes, even using Skype I don't quite get it in total for some reason. Sitting there with him and having him casually observe my playing throughout the weekend gave him the ability to really assess my strong points and week points. Towards the end of the weekend Chikuzen wrote out some "homework" based on what he saw I needed to work on most and gave me some much needed forward momentum.

If you couple all the shakuhachi playing and learning with great food and some casual walks through some of the most beautiful neighborhood parks I have seen in some time with his dog, Casey, you have the recipe for a great shakuhachi experience!!! I really want to thank Chikuzen for his great hospitality and for giving what he worked so hard to learn, so freely. It was a great trip with some great lessons and even better memories!! I don't think it would have been possible to have a more relaxing yet highly productive weekend with an old friend and great Sensei!

I saw Ray Brooks posted on facebook that there was a new version of Blowing Zen with a new chapter and more pictures.  I just received it from Amazon and at first glance it is nice. The paper is better quality and the chapters have pictures as you read to help you envision the characters in his story.  I am going to read it on my trip to spend the weekend with Chikuzen and I will post a review afterwards. I have read the book before and I can only imagine the new additions will make it even more enjoyable.

We will be having the next FL Shakuhachi camp on October 7-9 2011. It is a great time of the year to visit FL and participate in this workshop. It is an intensive weekend of shakuhachi playing in a relaxed nature setting taught by Michael Chikuzen Gould. The price for the camp is $400 and that includes private and comfortable accommodations. The camp is restricted to 7 people so there will be plenty of personal attention paid to all players and their needs.

It will cater to all levels with particular attention being paid to helping beginners and intermediates develop a strong foundation to help them prevent the obstacles which slow most players development down. Please feel free to contact me at brian@floridashakuhachi.com with any questions or comments.

For full details including pictures of thearea and accommodations and schedule, please see: Florida Shakuhachi.