NEWPORT COAST — The two instruments, which were passed around for students to check out, looked like a pair of bamboo sticks with a column of holes down the front.
These Japanese bamboo flutes, or shakuhachi — originally used by monks as a meditation tool to practice breathing — were brought in Tuesday by Kojiro Umezaki, a master of the instrument, for students taking part in a young composers workshop at Sage Hill School.
Sage Hill junior Natalie Kobsa-Mark, who plays the Western flute, was trying to line her fingers up on the bamboo instrument's holes when Umezaki challenged her to make a sound.
Trying to figure out how to blow into the reed-less flute, Natalie made several attempts before the faint sound of air being blown through the bamboo could be heard.
"That's pretty good," Umezaki said.
Nearly 20 music students, all but one from Sage Hill, gathered at the workshop to hear Umezaki and Colin Jacobsen talk about intercultural composition.