Koto performance – Reflection

Hello, we had a koto concert recently, and we played 六段の調べ(Rokudan-no-shirabe).

六段の調べ is a very traditional Japanese piece that are separated into six big sections. For the concert, we’ve only played up the the 3rd dan, but it was very interesting to learn about the traditional Japanese piece.

My areas of focus in this piece were the third dan, where you do the sixth and the fourth presses. I worked on pressing the notes hard enough and be stable. Also, to release the note at the right timing. My another focus areas were the shan. I payed attention to lift my hand up in order to play the shan stronger and to sound better. However, my biggest areas of focus were the カケ押し in third dan. I practiced the last three lines over and over again, to work on the timing of turning 巾 (thirteenth notes) from A to B notes. Also, to turn the tuning back to A as soon as possible so that I could play the next 13th notes soon.


I think over many practices, I’ve improved a lot on playing 六段の調べ. Something that I did to practice this piece which went effective was to first play the whole piece. Then, find you the part that you’re struggling with and break them into little sections. Practicing only the focus areas over and over again. This worked best, because you get to see where your weaknesses are, and focusing on small areas can help you improve more efficiently.

Next time, I think I can improve better and prepare better by increasing the amount of practices. I can practice more often, and maybe try to memorise it so that I could play it much more fluently. I could also be more careful on the rest, because I think I need to slow the tempo a little bit more slower.


Overall, I think the performance went pretty well as a class. We cooperated together with each other and we didn’t make many mistakes. I think what went well was that everyone played it strongly and powerfully. Also, the pull was pretty succesful. We pulled it at the right moment together. However, there were some parts when we sort of speed up the piece. I think we can improve on making sure the tempo is the same from the top to the end. Because we kind of messed up on the speed, I got a little bit confused and sort of speed up as well. We can improve on this problem by listening to each other more so that we make sure not to speed up the tempo. Individually, I think I met my expectations, because I barely made any mistakes, but next time I would practice more on the presses. I will improve on playing the presses more effectively and fluently. However, I think everyone did an amazing job at the concert:)

One thought on “Koto performance – Reflection

  1. Thank you for some very nice comments, Wen-yu! I very much feel that you have a good idea about the importance of identifying focus areas on working intensively on them. Repetition and slow practice are some of the most important ways to practice, but as you move on you will see that it is also good to be creative and think about new ways to practice. Memorization is also good. Presses are sometimes the most difficult part of koto playing, and getting them right and to the correct pitch is very important. I think that you have done a great job with Rokudan and look forward to playing the rest of it with you next year. Keep up the good work!

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