Sixteen reasons why the shakuhachi is a great instrument and why playing the shakuhachi is a great activity (in no specific order).

  1. The sounds of the shakuhachi are beautiful, meditative and mellow.
  2. The shakuhachi can produce a tremendous range of tone colours and variations of pitch.
  3. The shakuhachi is a flute, universally appreciated (almost all cultures have flutes).
  4. The shakuhachi increases the ability to accomplish multi-tasking.
  5. Playing the shakuhachi stimulates the mind, keeping it young.
  6. Playing the shakuhachi stimulates both right and left sides of the brain, leads to creativity.
  7. The shakuhachi is transportable, affordable, waterproof. Can be taken bushwalking/hiking/camping. It is a part of nature.
  8. The shakuhachi is aesthetically pleasing to sight, touch, smell, and especially hearing (the ‘unifying sense’. (eg. “Sight isolates, sound incorporates”. Vision dissects the entire panorama; one can only look at the one thing at a time. Yet one hears all of the sounds around one.)
  9. The shakuhachi is environmentally sound. It is made entirely of renewable resources. Tom Deaver (shakuhachi maker) once said, “Everything that comes in and goes out of my workshop can be put onto my compost heap”.
  10. Playing the shakuhachi is also environmentally friendly. It does not require electricity. It does not pollute the air, water or earth.
  11. The shakuhachi is close to nature in materials, in look and feel, and in its sound. Playing it brings the performer closer to nature too.
  12. The initial difficulty in playing the shakuhachi helps develop discipline to accomplish long-term goals and patience.
  13. Playing the shakuhachi also reduces the desire for instant gratification and an attachment to always ‘succeeding’.
  14. The shakuhachi has a tremendously long tradition. As a predominantly oral tradition, it has been highly valued over countless generations. In an oral tradition, what is not valued enough to internalise and transmit is lost forever in a single generation.
  15. The shape of the blowing edge/mouthpiece makes it necessary for the performer to become part of the instrument. The performer and the shakuhachi literally become one. The result is a rich rang of tone colours, subtle pitch variations and dynamics unmatched by any other wind instrument.
  16. The shakuhachi tradition is a long one, which is not only musical. It is also steeped in the wisdom of Zen Buddhism. In this way, essential questions, for example, “What is it all about?”, or “Why?” are addressed.