Studying Jiuta and Tsugaru simultaneously

Hi folks!

I’ve been nosing around for a while but it’s my first topic. I have question to those who had expirience taking over several shamisen styles either at once or one after another.

I’ve been a big fan of tsugaru style for many years and it inspired me to try picking up musical instrument for the first time. As it happens, we got no local tsugaru teachers around BUT actual proper courses at Conservatory for Jiuta. They not only have proper class to go to, they also have intstruments to play on, so it was a perfect chance to hold an instrument and start practicing even before buying my own, so off course I joined these classes. I also assumed that practicing jiuta first will make picking up tsugaru later on easier.

Now the problem: I grew to like Jiuta style and have no plans of quitting the classes any time soon, because I enjoy them very much. But obviously I still love tsugaru style about 10 times more and now that my own beautiful tsugaru shamisen arrived, I want to practice tsugaru as well. I have several online courses to learn from, but what troubles me is that difference between jiuta and tsugaru styles turned out to be much more major than I imagined. Difference that seemed trivial (size and weight of the bachi, at what angle you hold shamisen, proper shape your hand has to be in) now seems to be disturbing my practice process. Lately it feels like I am not progressing, but getting even clumsier, and fail to hit strings and such more frequently.

So I’ve been wondering, I am shooting myself in a foot trying to practice both styles at once (my practice schedule is like jiuta - tsugaru - jiuta - tsugaru and so on) and just confusing myself? Or maybe it’s fine and I am just acclimatizing to my tsugaru shamisen that arrived only few weeks ago and is bigger and thicker, with havier itomaki, than shoool’s jiuta I used to play on before?

Had any of you expirience of practicing several shamisen styles simultaneously?

Also, I’ll have school’s ‘exam’ concert in two months, do you think it’s better for me to completely drop tsugaru practice untill then and only drill on jiuta? Or it wont really matter that much and as long as I play shamisen it gets me practice points anyway?)))))

I dont really want to shelf tsugaru style untill I’ll get good at jiuta because it will take a looooooong time, and I also really dont want to drop jiuta classes because they are fun. But I am curious what experiences you guys have and if maybe you can recommend something. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Hey there.

I wrote a long post that was mostly masturbatory fluff on reading. In lieu of that, here’s my advice:

Focus on your practice. Play mindfully. The devil is in the details, however many they are.

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If you have your exams iust into the next few months, I can suggest you to focus on your exams. A lot of years ago I practiced archery and one week befor the competition, justtobchange the material of the arrow holder was a big mess.
I’m studying nagauta and I own a nagauta and a jiuta shamisen and even if very similar, they are anyway different in weight and size. I’ve not too much difficulties because anyway I play nagauta on both on them and above all I don’t have exams.
So, focus on your exam and, later, fully enjoy your tsugaru


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I started learning Tsugaru style using a jiuta shamisen, and the main issue is the physical intensity of Tsugaru style.
The bachi has a lot more slap and strain on the instrument. Smaller instruments wear down more quickly and the skin is likely to break from the bachi.
The style itself requires some different technique from jiuta to produce it’s sounds and speed. If you learn jiuta style, you will need to modify your techniques somewhat later to learn Tsugaru style.

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Thank you everyone for your replies!
I survived my jiuta concert/exam :confounded: and because conservatory goes on break during summer, I’m going to have exclusively tsugaru summer :smiley: