Download a free copy of my shakuhachi fingering chart. This gives some of the common symbols used in kinko and honkyoku notation and a variety of fingerings that work well on jinashi shakuhachi and Taimu shakuhachi which are the flutes I play. Modify as needed as per your own flute and/or your teacher’s instructions.
Are you haunted by the sound of this ancient bamboo nature flute?
Congratulations! This means that with a good flute and a good teacher, you are well-qualified to experience this meditation-based musical instrument for yourself, directly.
Lessons with Cornelius Shinzen Boots provide:
• Free information and guidance in flute selection
• Qualified, patient instruction from a Shihan (professional teacher) level Zen shakuhachi master
• Solid yet flexible curriculum, adapted to your main goals: music, meditation, breath, health, mental clarity, relaxation, nature-playing, etc.
• Clear communication and consistent scheduling
• Focus on sound, aliveness and clarity
• Affordable tuition
• In-person or Skype
“I owe you a deep level of thanks and gratitude. You are a true Master of far more than the Shakuhachi.” –R.J. student since 2014
“Cornelius has been a great inspiration and guide through the world of shakuhachi, Taimu, and deep breathing. I’d recommend him to anyone interested in learning about these flutes, and themselves, from the ground up.” –E.C. student since 2011
“I find it is a privilege to be studying under the supervision of a true artist, an incredible technician, and a tireless pedagogue. His love of the instrument and his musical erudition shine through everything he does. Cornelius has the fearlessness, the openness, the freedom and the dedication of all those who tread the path of “natural zen”, from Hanshan to Ikkyū to Watazumi. If you’re interested in music, Cornelius is your man. If you’re interested in Zen, Cornelius is your man. If you’re interested in both, then look no further: you found everything you were looking for, and probably more.” –Aédàn [author, poet, teacher and shakuhachi student since 2014]
“It was immediately clear to me that Cornelius’ approach to studying a non-western instrument such as the shakuhachi encompassed a wide spectrum. He has shown complete respect for the tradition with commitment and dedication. I have witnessed him explore the roots of shakuhachi with thoroughness and attention to detail.” –Grandmaster Michael Chikuzen Gould [CB’s teacher since 2001]
Shakuhachi is Zen breath music through a robust nature flute. It’s history involves samurai spies and Buddhist monks, and the core repertoire is chant-like nature hymns (honkyoku). It is hand-made from thicker, root-end bamboo, has five finger holes and no mouthpiece. Shakuhachi can be difficult to play, but getting just one sound can truly transport you. Continue to About Shakuhachi Page.
I have explored and practiced Zen, shakuhachi and qi gong since 2001. Before that, I was pursuing maximal musical expression on other woodwind instruments. I hold two Bachelors and a Master’s degree in music from Indiana University (1997 and 1999), and have won competitions and received commissions and grants for progressive, heavy chamber music compositions (2004 to present). Some strengths of my shakuhachi teaching are clarity, detail, depth, patience and adaptability. Particularly for composers or musicians of other instruments, we will find common ground in translating Western musical concepts into the shakuhachi realm. In November 2013, I earned a Shihan (master teacher) ranking from my teacher, Grandmaster Michael Chikuzen Gould, and was given the shakuhachi name 深禅 “Shinzen” (depth Zen or deep Zen). This ranking is within the dokyoku lineage, one of the most demanding and virtuosic sects of shakuhachi study. (Dokyoku includes Watazumido, Katsuya Yokoyama, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, and others.) Continue to full Bio Page.
Because of gravity, there is more blood in the lower part of your lungs. This means, by breathing IN as low as possible, as often as possible, your brain gets more oxygen, your thinking is clearer and your moods can stabilize easier. Extending your exhale completes this healthier breathing style.
Check your shakuhachi ambitions and desires for at least one or more of the following:
• Engage with the sound
• Play the Buddhist chant and nature pieces
• Collaborate with the bamboo
• Play outside–by the trees, creeks, meadows, rivers or oceans
• Deepen your breathing
• Sharpen your clarity
• Master your mind
Fascinated by the shakuhachi but don’t want to take it up? Contact me about private or group Zen sound meditation sessions featuring bass bamboo flutes and Zen meditation instruction.