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How to play a koto

Point 1:Sit seiza-style correctly on the floor.

Sit down and open your knees to the width of your waist.
Make space about the size a couple of fists between your knees.

Straight up your hipbone and spine, and support with your abdomen.
Relax your upper body and shoulders.
Please have an image that your spine straight up from the center of your pelvis.
Breath calmly.
This is like yoga position.

Sitting down correctly first is VERY important.

Point 2 :Be ready to play the koto

Please sit down positioning yourself 45 degrees to the koto.
A position that your backbone comes on the extended line from the edge (ryukaku).
This is the right position you sit down.

Next, please stretch your arms over the koto naturally.
Please be careful not to twist a waist, not to spread out your elbows.
And keep your shoulders horizontally.

Bend your right hand softly in a circle, and place your left hand on strings with fingers together.
When you play a string far from you,
do not bow, but bend your upper part of the body from a waist
until your hand reach the string naturally.
Sit up straight and support your upper body
with your belly and thigh well.

Now, do you have the same posture as the photo above?

Point 3 :Place a music stand (fumendai)

When you look at a music book, please be sure where you place a music stand.
If you put the stand the right side, your neck becomes the bent posture.
Keep your correct position, straight your face,
Place the stand straight from your glance.

Point 4 :How to play the koto

Wear the koto picks in your thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Bend your hands softly in a circle. Do not strain yourself and take it easy.
Pluck the strings with the edge of picks correctly, then you will make beautiful sound.

Click the photo below and you will see the moving image (MP4)
(Download free player: Quick Time)

The tone varies depending on the thickness and the shape of picks.
Try many ways and enjoy different timbres, it is fun!

Point 5 :Place your fingers

In the beginning of your learning, you play the koto mostly with your thumb.
You may wonder where you put your index and middle fingers then.
Bend your hands softly in a circle and place your fingers on a string together.
Put your third and little fingers on a string and support it.

You play the strings,

when you made an error,

then bend your right hand in a circle softly, and replace your hand again.

Point 6 :How to play with your index and middle fingers

When you play with your index and middle fingers,
bend them inward (to the left of the koto).
Then the corners of your picks hit the strings at a good angle,
they sound good and beautiful.

Point 7 :Some techniques are introduced here in the moving image.

(Download free player: Quick Time)

chitsu koro rin ten ♫♬♪♪ (oral instruction)

sha sha ten ♬♪

sara rin ♫♪

Play with your left hand.

When you practice oshide
(to tense the string with your left hand to tune or change sound),
your left hand fingers may hurt.
We show other tips to reduce your pain.
Please refer here.

Hope it helps your practice.

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