Lydia Snyder completed her master’s degree in Ethnomusicology in May of 2019 at Kent State University in Ohio. Her thesis entitled “Voicing Mother Nature: Ecomusicological Perspectives on Gender and Philosophy in Shakuhachi Practice” was funded by a competitive university grant that allowed her to participate in the 2017 Seiha Hōgaku-Kai summer school in Tokyo, and the 2018 World Shakuhachi Festival in London. She received an additional grant from Kent State University to fund her recent research in Germany and attend the 2019 European Shakuhachi Summer School in Lisbon. Lydia’s love of the shakuhachi began during her undergraduate studies at Hiram College, where she triple-majored in music, studio art, and theatre arts, with an overall focus in Asian arts. She has studied shakuhachi under Micheal Chikuzen Gould and Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. Lydia is 3rd generation German and is pleased to marry her interests in both the Japanese shakuhachi and German culture.
In this paper, I examine the teaching and learning styles of German shakuhachi players, with emphasis on beginner shakuhachi players and their teachers to understand what draws German communities to this instrument and if there are any observable pedagogical differences. Interviews with students and teachers included questions such as, “how did you learn about the shakuhachi and why did you want to study/teach it?”, “What is your understanding of the flute’s origin and traditions?”, and “Do you practice any of these traditions?” I ponder issues of appropriation, authenticity, and preservation vs. globalization and change. I also discuss the complex relationship between German cultural values, music, and national identity, including the shame German’s feel about their own folk music due to its use as Nazi propaganda during World War II. Finally, I explore where the shakuhachi fits into Germany’s identity as a multicultural and musical center for Europeans and the world.