ZEN FLUTE AS A PRACTICE
The recorder as a Baroque instrument
is not now and never has been of
interest to me. In fact the first
time I had one in my hands was when
I investigated the box containing a
rosewood recorder that had been left
to me by Morgan just before she passed.
It lay in a beautiful antique box
with a shelf below and a double door
on the top, probably originally intended
as a tabletop jewelry box. I opened it
and examined the recorder within. There
was a plastic recorder in the bottom
section, and a very well-made rosewood
instrument in the top, which had the
number "1960" stamped on each of the
three parts -- I assumed this was the
year it was made or the manufacturer's
I could make out a name also stamped
on the parts -- "von Heune". I went
to the browser and googled the name.
There was, indeed, a von Huene
recorder company located in Brookline,
Massachussetts, so Barbara and I
called them that morning and spoke
to Emily in customer service.
I described what I had in the box,
and she asked for the serial number
of the hand-made instrument. Now I
understood the number on the parts,
and said, "1960". She left the phone
momentarily, and returned to it in
a matter of less than two minutes with
the information about who had purchased
it back in 1987, a full thirty years
She told us something about the model,
which is no longer made, and gave us
the history. Then she said that she
could not guarantee the sound of a
thirty year old unplayed instrument.
It might be great, it might be terrible,
because an instrument like this, made
of fine hardwood, should be played
and cleaned and oiled regularly to keep
it in good condition.
I told her that I'd never played a
recorder. She said, "Can you get a
sound out of it?"
I struggled it together and tooted
on it a few times, then suddenly it
seemed to come alive of itself, and
I was playing all sorts of sounds on
it, but nothing like the Baroque
tootlings I remembered should come
out of a recorder.
"First of all," Emily said over the
phone, "the tones are very sweet and
I can tell you that you have a very
good instrument there. Secondly, you're
playing it as if it were a
"Is that okay?" I asked. "I mean, will
it ruin it?"
"No, no," she replied. "Lots of people
play it in a wide variety of ways.
Modern recorder artists aren't all
Baroque music enthusiasts and there
are many very avante-garde compositions
for the recorder now."
I learned quite a lot about the care
and feeding of a fine hardwood recorder
from Emily, who studies at a conservatory
near Frankfurt in Germany, where many
of the very best recorders are made
along with the American-made von Huene
recorders which have a world-class
She also told me that I would probably
appreciate the Alto recorder as the
instrument of choice -- that the soprano
was somewhat limited in repertoire
and function, and that I might even
prefer the deep tenor, and recommended
that I buy a few plastic recorders to
feel my way through this idea.
I bought a Yamaha alto at Foggy Mountain
Music in Grass Valley that day, and went
into the studio with that and Morgan's
soprano von Heune rosewood instrument,
and cut an album with my friend, the
legendary Grammy-winning sound engineer,
Then a second album emerged, and a
third, and a fourth and a fifth and
sixth and seventh...
I quickly realized the potential of
this instrument as a tool for
transformation. It had the effect of
producing a profoundly transportative
sound environment and a decidedly
strong and deep reaction on those who
heard it both in person and on
Youtube.com, where we posted a few of
the cuts from the albums I'd made over
the week, one album per day.
The music came easy to me. Although
I'd never played the recorder, it was
the same for me as the sax, transverse
flute and guitar -- my Parallel
Universe Personae or PuPs had helped me
to instantly master it, as anyone
with a Beacon could do.
I also noted a very strong healing
effect and had the idea that if plastic
flutes could do this, perhaps the wood
flutes would have an even deeper effect.
I kept in mind that the deepest secrets
of natural magic held by the Druids
was Tree Lore...
The upshot of all this is that I
ordered on approval four fine hardwood
recorders, one in pearwood, one in
boxwood, one in maple and another, one
which had appealed to me when I looked
on their website, the Rippert model
in Grenadilla, a very hard, dense darkwood.
The next day, a large package arrived,
within which were the four recorders.
I spent the day testing each one against
the other, looking for the best total
The result was that I kept all four,
because it turned out that each of them
had a definitely different effect,
especially in the area of spirit healing.
I also noted that the breath was
controlled in different ways by different
woods, and that the breathing was regulated
and trained even better than in the case of
the plastic flutes, which were pretty good
for that purpose to begin with.
The pearwood had the closest sound to
the Shakuhachi and .
The boxwood was similar in its vibrations
and timbre to that of the Turkish Ney.
The maple reminded me of the sound of
early hardwood flutes I'd heard, and the
von Huene Rippert made of Grenadilla -- that
was really something! It had an otherworldy
sound and was by far the most responsive.
I researched it and discovered that
it is described as "the best recorder
made, bar none," by several very famous
recorder artists. I had to agree.
The instruments had arrived next day air.
It was Thursday when they came by UPS.
By the end of the day I had decided to
hold an impromptu House Concert in my
barn on the following night, so we made
a few phone calls to friends, and Jewel
and Lee went down to Sacramento to pick
up 40 brand new and very comfortably
padded folding chairs. I was sure we'd
have at least that many guests, and we did.
We videotaped the event, which is available
on DVD, and at the same time we put it over
our private passworded video channel to a
few friends who were unable to attend in
I was stunned at the reaction, although
I knew we really had something there...after
two and a half hours of Zen Flute music,
people did not want to leave. When they
finally did file out, they did so silently,
as folks will do having just spent some
time in meditation or Satsang.
I'm on the eve of my second Zen Flute
concert, with my friend Tito Rios,
who plays a terrific classical guitar
and has had many concerts with his wife
and performance partner, Petra.
I can now see several values to the
recorder if played as a Zen Flute:
1. It helps to naturally condition and
train the breath in a relatively safe
way, as compared to the stringent breath
training practices of certain types of
spiritual practices, without the need for
2. The Zen Flute has a profound
transportative effect on both the
player and listener alike.
3. The Zen Flute can be used to
demonstrate the direct personal effect
of PUPs, which is the almost instant
mastery of the instrument provided by
contact with the Parallel Universe Personae
who are able to play it through the player.
4. Zen Flute sounds are definitely a good
source of spirit healing. Different woods
produce different effects on a variety of
physical, mental and emotional ills and
may assist other healing methods such as
allopathic, naturopathic, homeopathic,
medicine wheel and acupuncture techniques.
5. The Zen Flute opens gateways to other
dimensions and realities and makes possible
a better connection to Parallel Worlds.
6. Integration and stabilization of Parallel
Universe Personae are definitely enabled by
listening to and playing Zen Flute as a
disciplined spiritual practice.
7.The Zen Flute is fun to play, and the
music produced by it is quite enjoyable.
8. Hardwood Zen Flutes are profoundly
better than plastic ones, although if
plastic is all that's available or
affordable, they'll do the job.
9. Zen Flute music opens the space and
softens the membranes, making the Beacon
Practices easier. It can be used while
on the Beacon or while wearing one of
the stronger amulets.
That's my report so far. Stand by for
more experiments and training techniques
as they appear in the aethyrs!!!
for information, lessons and more go to-