Sorry but my work has kept me away from posting over the past month or so.
I want to discuss the struggles that I face as someone who has been playing Shakuhachi for about fifteen months. I've noticed that I made some really nice gains from about six to twelve months then I started to ride a plateau. I'm struggling with my embouchure as regards to the higher register (kan) with the higher notes like chi, hi, etc.... some days I have it and all sounds well; other days it is a total mess. Well, I've decided to really enjoy this plateau instead of being frustrated. I know that it is in there somewhere so it makes it that much more frustrating at times. Here's what I've been doing. I started to play really small segments of music where I'm having the trouble in the hope that lots of repetition will help, and it does to some degree. However, I have also realized that each person, better yet, each body learns at its' own pace and you can only push through so far. You'll notice that you will hit these plateaus and stay there for awhile. You may understand what you need to do intellectually but you can't quite get your body to do it. I understand that this is all part of the learning process but it still is frustrating at times.
So my theory is this: add one piece of rice paper to the pile everyday and one day that pile will be heavy enough to drop through to the next level. So when you are frustrated with your practice in general or if you are having difficulty with a certain piece it's all very simple............play, play, play your shakuhachi daily adding that one piece of rice paper to the pile.