Best beginner learning materials?

Hello Bachido community!

I’ve been very interested in the Shamisen over the past two years and I’m eagerly awaiting the day ShamiBuddy’s are back in stock so I can place my order. I know Bachido has a wonderful assortment of learning materials available but I’m not sure where I should begin and what direction to go in with my learning (once I get a shamisen). Is there a recommended place to start that includes a natural progression in difficulty/learning or do I piece together different materials?

Thank you very much!
Mantis

Hello and welcome Mantis!

I’d say start with the Shamisen crash course provided here. The individual song lessons in the Bachido school are very nice, and a good place to go from there. Another option is to grab a score book and try learning a few songs on your own. I personally did a mix of both. YouTube is always an option as well, as there are a number of tutorials and guides there.

If you’re lucky enough to have the time/money/geographic proximity, you could always try to find a teacher as well.

Well as @MeanOwl said, the crash course on bachido is pretty amazing, i did the free crash course and @Kyle_Abbott is good at teaching, he has charisma, i would recommend you the crash course, in other hand you can check some tutorials on YouTube but most of them will make you buying a program, right now I’m using Aoyama Ryu all in one for Tsugaru shamisen.
But mostly would recommend you video tutorials as bachido crash course.

I’m pretty new myself. Got the Shamibuddy last year, about this time. I’m in a pretty remote location, so finding a physical teacher/class is a nonstarter. (I’d be shocked if there was another shamisen player in my town)

The crash course is a good place to start. I struggled a bit trying to figure out where to go next. I found a few tablature sources, but the hardest part is sorting out some of the timing/rhythm, when you’re not familiar with the tune.

I need to have a little bit of variety / new material to keep myself interested, so that was a bit of a struggle, figuring out what next.

I ordered Kyle’s book off of Amazon - mostly for the hardcopy tablatures in the back. Again, nice to have as a physical reference. Same issue though - tablatures aren’t great if you aren’t familiar with the tune. There’s a couple songs I’d picked up, but never could get to sound right because my timing and rhythm were wrong.

Which is what brings us back to the Schoolhouse videos. The schoolhouse lessons are a pretty solid place to go next. You get both the sheet music as well as the videos, and that goes a long way towards solving the timing issue.

Also finding some good “easy pieces” to practice on are nice. Kuroishi Yosare Bushi (the crash course song) gives a lot of different techniques to try and practice, but it has some really long phrases that I still struggle with memorizing and doing properly.

Yasaburo Bushi is the next lesson I bought. It’s really good for a basic song. The tune is catchy, it’s traditional, and it’s not as complicated as Kuroishi Yosare Bushi, as there’s only three main sections (the second one repeats for however many verses you want to play). So as a noob, I feel pretty good being able to say I know one complete song now! Yasaburo Bushi was one of the songs in the Shamisen of Japan book, but the videos made learning it much easier.

Kuroda Bushi is the third song I’ve been working on. Again, it’s pretty simple. But it sounds good. And you can build up on it if you want. Downside, it’s popular so there’s a bunch of variations that might not match the arrangement/tablature you’ve got. I think Kyle did this as one of the online classes on Youtube last summer, but I found out about it too late (and haven’t yet joined the patreon to get the back catalog of material).

I really like the format of the schoolhouse classes for that reason. Having the play-alongs for the different sections at different speeds makes it much easier to build up the muscle memory to start playing it faster and putting together the full piece. And then you get the “Here’s how to fancy-up this song with some extra techniques…” when you feel like leveling up.

@Brandon - what is Aoyama Ryu? Sounds like a practice app; what platforms is it available on? I may have to look into this…

1 Like

Oh Aoyama Ryu is style i think, theres a person that teach shamisen, there’s some materials from him that i think as a begginer is pretty helpful if you don’t have where to start, and i mean is a phisical material.
Ya as you say I think Kyle Abbot material is the most friendly for non japanese people, since he knows how to teach and his charisma, makes you keep getting interested.