Good afternoon FEA,
I have been given yet another once in a lifetime experience to be taught the traditional Japanese art of Taiko by a professional. Last weekend the International students traveled to Aratama-Bashi to have a taiko lesson. The sensei was actually very close in age with us! I was shocked.
Firstly he wrote some notes down on the board and then struggled to explain them to us in Japanese. He relied a lot on making gestures and funny noises. While my Japanese skills aren’t as good as others, I still was able to follow along!
However, hitting the taiko drum was super exhausting and strenuous. We practiced for over two hours before giving one final little performance. And while I thought playing solo was difficult, but then we were asked to work with two others in groups of three!! Can you say hectic?!
So firstly we rotated playing the drums, as there were too many students compared to a number of available drums. We learned three separate beats and then learned how to stand properly. We also learned how to rotate between three people on one drum. Finally, we performed all of this together at the same time while also shouting commands! Needless to say, this was not as simple as I thought.
Another bonus was that our Sensei had a group that performed for us with another drum and a flute! They were planning to perform this piece at a music festival. It was mesmerizing to see them play in harmony and move in sync with each other.
Finally, I got this fabulous picture of our Sensei playing on the Ou-Daiko! He was also using what looks to be a baseball bat. It takes a lot of strength to beat the drum, and so he takes this very wide-legged stance and hits the drum with a very large stick.
Just a note! If you’re planning to go to Taiko at any point…DO NOT wear a skirt! This was so difficult! I couldn’t take the proper stance that the Sensei did in the above picture! I should’ve asked him where he got those awesome pants!
Until next time! Only a little over a month left!!