I’m uploading a series of informal videos (with some tips) that may help one play honkyoku by heart. For me, playing by heart has brought me deeper into the sound than I ever achieved over my decades of playing by the notation. I can’t say how true that may be for others. Try these out and see. Please see John Singer’s Youtube playlist KINKO RYU HONKYOKU SERIES for a more masterful performance of these honkyoku. For the notation, see Blowing Zen Honkyoku.
playing by heart
A Honkyoku Secret
I began my latest book, Blowing Zen Honkyoku with the secret I found to playing honkyoku… playing it by heart. In Chinese, 心 xīn: the heart; heart; mind; feeling; intention; centre; core. Playing by heart permits you to close your eyes and devote total awareness to the sound until you touch the essence of sound… until you become the sound. Playing by heart also invites greater awareness on the breath.… Continue reading…
Find the Zen in the blowing
I imagine everyone is naturally both over-rigorous and under-rigorous… just in different areas, according to their natures. It is when over or under rigor causes pain for us that it becomes problematic. The pain we feel is a symptom of the loss of balance into which we have fallen. We yearn for balance, even if we don’t know it.… Continue reading…
Music for Those with No Musical Talent?
Yes! This is true for the Buddhist Honkyoku. What you do need, however, is to pay attention. Yet, you don’t even need to do that. Of course, if you don’t really listen to what you are doing, you will not enjoy what you are doing. This makes playing Honkyoku a practical means of training watchfulness in non-stimulating situations. Paying attention when there are no environmental conditions to trigger need, desire, fear, or worry is most useful, I find. The bonus: your improved listening ability (mindful watching) naturally taps into your hidden musical talent, much of which centers around listening!
By the way, playing honkyoku by heart is the most direct way of “playing music without playing music”. This is Taoist wéi wú wéi (为无为) or “doing without doing”. (see chapter 3)