Any tips for a beginner teaching himself

Hey guys trying to teach myself shamisen. Any tips for a newbie thanks

Hi. Here are my three tips : 1. videos, 2. videos, 3. videos… You can try to find score books of your preferred style to complete your knowledge.

Kyle’s book Shamisen of Japan and the excellent tutorials on this website.

Any particular style you’re interested? Like Patrick and Bau Li have said, videos and those offered here are very useful, but to offer any tips as to where to get materials or even playing tips it’d help to know what you like to play.


Use the school house resources.


Tune in for Kyle’s live streams.


Watch and listen to people playing.


Keep playing.


Thanks for all the tips

Hi Casey. Like you, I am also self studying. Bachido lessons are great, they have been immensely helpful in getting me started. I listen to the music a lot and have actually been able to pick up some parts just by listening to people play. This is my first musical instrument ever so you can see how Bachido helps.
And yes, like everyone else says, VIDEOS. haha. What I do is I have some empty notation paper with me and when I watch a video of someone playing I try and write down the notes. Then I will play along while watching the video. Is it ideal? No. Do we have an abundance of choices? No. (haha)
Is it the coolest thing when you learn to play a full song? YES!
I recommend listening to Takahashi Shikuzan Look him up on youtube or itunes. He plays Tsugaru however his music is very slow and deliberate, really wonderful listening. There are three albums, I only have two. One is with a lot of traditional songs (yellow one) the purple one is just music. (same cover, different colours)

Hope this helps a little bit!

I am classical trained musician so my view is certainly influenced by that style of pedagogy. Though, I must say it has served me well to learn shamisen by myself.
My take about beginning shamisen is to just practice holding the bachi and plucking open strings for 10 minutes a day, for 1 - 2 weeks. You could certainly change pitches occasionally with the left hand, but the main focus is to get familiar with holding the bachi, plucking the strings with moving elbow, switching between strings, down/up strokes in tempo, while keeping the shoulders relaxed and spine straight.
I did watch many video for idea about holding bachi, and posture.
It might sound boring. However, it’s truly boring, if one doesn’t work on all the aspects involved in producing a sound from an instrument. After that, start to play simple pieces and start practicing the left hand technique. Essentially it’s the same way how one learns western string instruments - one learns how to bow first.


If I had any to add, focus on the sound. Doesn’t matter if you play fast like Kevin Kmetz or precise like Reigen Fujii, the sound and the journey that sound brings you through is the most important. Just play, listen to your sound, and the journey will bring you to amazing places!

Thanks for extra tips, will look that person up :slight_smile: good to hear I’m going the right way about things as I’m mainly concentrating on bachi technique and making sure got that down before properly using my left hand. So is nice to hear others did the same thing