Learning Online

Hello all, I am very interested in learning the Shamisen but I cannot find a teacher in my area. I am worried that if I learn only online it would be possible to develop bad habits or learn incorrectly. How difficult is the correct way to play the Shamisen and how much better is it to learn in person?

For example, with the violin I have been advised that it is very hard to learn online and that it really is important to have a teacher to work with. Is this also true for the Shamisen?

Thank you for any advice.

Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from doing something that interests you. I was in the same boat as you and I said, “screw it, I’m doing it.”
Yes there were challenges but I’ve been playing for three and a half years now. Bachido has a few awesome videos on form so dig in and have fun.
Oh and curse the naysayers.


Tsugaru is the punk rock of shamisen. DIY Baby!

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I understand your concern and it’s legit . Access this website for info that will help worh these concerns - but don’t let it stop you . Get familiar with your shamisen and enjoy but got a lot access to classes on the school site until you can find a teacher .

There is no good reason you can’t learn violin online. There are some very lovely tutorials and how-to’s out there to guide you. If anything, I’d say the amount of free and low-cost resources available would make it way easier than shamisen which is an investment even on the “lower” cost end.

A lot of times practicing in front of a mirror can help with “bad habits” like posture. If you get a decent beginners book, you’ll be alright. I’m not saying an in-person instructor wouldn’t be better, but it’s not wholly necessary for learning. I know this wasn’t the advice you were looking for exactly, but if you’ve got a will there’s a way to learn, regardless of people’s apprehensions or prejudices about learning “properly.”

My source is playing violin and having formal instruction and watching online instruction done for the same instrument when schools were closed during pandemic. Don’t let in-person instruction gatekeep your passions. Violin is a very rewarding instrument if you put the time and effort in.

Edited to add: I have only just started shamisen so I don’t have a lot of helpful advice specifically for shamisen yet. Hopefully someday. Good luck! :blush:

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Christopher Took’s Tsugaru Shamisen Fundementals on youtube seem like a great way to avoid bad habits on general while learning. I know when my shamisen comes in I’ll be going over them religiously til I get the hang of it.