Last week, we had the Mandolin Symposium here in Santa Cruz. It’s an event where mandolin enthusiasts from around the world come to learn from some of the greatest mandolin players in the world. I believe this was their 10th annual event and was a great time as usual! (I didn’t go, but almost all of my mandolin friends go every year)
It would be so awesome to have a similar event for shamisen! After all, there are these intensive camps for mandolin, violin, shakuhachi, taiko and so many instruments. Why not shamisen as well?
So here is my proposal!
When: Late June, 2015.
Being after graduation, any college attending Bachido members will be able to come.
Where: Tokyo, Japan @ Shamisen Katoh.
This location gives everyone a chance to experience Japan (exciting for members who have never been, or only go rarely), and Tokyo is a very convenient place to hold the event.
- Tokyo is where we all fly into.
- Plenty of english speaking hotel. (For those who have some difficulty with the nihongo)
- Oodles of sightseeing locales. Plenty of things people can do after workshops.
It would be held at Shamisen Katoh’s concert hall, Chitoshan. Katoh san is really excited about this event, and wants to do his best to help make this first-ever shamisen camp a wonderful time for all!
What would happen?
I’m envisioning a five day camp (similar to the mandolin symposium)
Day 1: Meet & Greet. Attendees can meet each other, make connections and jam. Perhaps an initial workshop thing could be done this day too
Day 2~4: Hours and hours of intensive workshops with subjects ranging from fundamental techniques to learning chords! Perhaps some instructors will want to share their unique techniques as well!
Bonus: At the end of every workshop, students could get a short private lesson with the instructor. Just enough time for them to see your abilities, give you feedback and suggest things to work on.
Day 5: (Forgot to mention in the video) a NEW TAIKAI! It would be a two-part taikai.
The first half would be a non-competitive show-&-tell style section just like what we did in Misawa this year - Anyone can go up on stage and perform anything they’d like to the supportive audience watching.
The second half would be a competitive style taikai with awards. What’s different from the normal shamisen taikai? Unlike tsugaru shamisen taikai, which requires everyone to fit into a tsugaru structure or form, the new Bachido taikai would encourage creativity and bringing out your full potential. Like to play shamisen with chords and groovy beats? Go for it! Being unofficial, it would be low pressure with just a sprinkle of friendly competition.
Afterwards, the Intensive Shamisen Camp is over. People would be free to spend more time in Japan, perhaps take more lessons with the instructors or go back home.
That’s about it! I’m planning a year in advance to give everyone time to prepare or apply for grants if need be, so I hope you would be able to join us next year!
Katoh san and some instructors are already very excited about this proposed event, and what we need to do now is figure out what attendance would be like.
So this is where you come in! For this event to continue planning, there is only one question you need to answer:
**Would you like to come? **
Furthermore, assuming you want to participate and have the time/finances, could I expect to see you there?
If so, please let me know as soon as possible!
Once I get a rough estimate of how many shamisen enthusiasts would likely come, I can continue writing more instructors and propose these ideas with them.
I believe this would be a very inspiring and educational event for anyone learning shamisen with a passion. If this is you, I hope to hear from you!