Workshops for Taiko Groups

Workshop Format:

  • 2-3 hour focused workshop
  • 10-hour Intensive (weekend or week-long)
  • Repertory Clinic
  • Artist in Residence
  • Private Lessons
  • Professional Development
  • Team Building

Workshop Descriptions:

Recommended workshop duration: 1.5-3 hours

Objectives: The workshop offers exercises and drills that strengthen participants’ connection with their own body as they explore their connection with the instruments. Explore how to approach body movement efficiently to develop a strong and dynamic strike regardless of individual drumming style.

Brief Workshop Content description:

In taiko, we often talk about the “ki” with reference to the energy of the performer and stage presence. This workshop explores the “ki” as a force from within your body, an important element that we often overlook. The “ki” is the force that affects your stance, posture, alignment, strike, timing, and the sound you create from the drum. The “ki” enhances your efficiency of movement and core muscle connection. In this session, We will delve into various drills and exercises that focus on breathing, body coordination and beyond. “Ki”, “chi”, energy, “the force”, they are all essentially the same. Whatever you call it, learn to use it to your advantage so you can strike like a Jedi. May the force be with you.

Target Taiko Skills and Achievement:

  • Strengthen participants’ taiko stance in order to enhance the sound created out of the drum
  • Enhance efficiency and fluidity of movement
  • Improve core engagement

Target Skill Level: Open level

Equipment: one chu daiko per participant (preferably betta, workshop content could also be adapt to naname), one shime

Video: Video from Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational 2019
 This workshop offers exercises and drills that explore the ergonomics of fluid movement in naname choreography. ManMan will showcase the process of creating and utilizing movement to generate momentum for a powerful strike.

Brief Workshop Content Description

Propelled by the quest to find fluidity in movement, this workshop provides a space for participants to enhance their sensitivity with naname choreography. In this session, we will search for full body awareness and connection between ourselves and the taiko by exploring in depth body mechanics and breaking down techniques to generate a rich sound while moving around the taiko. Through all this, we will enhance our vocabularies and tune into our natural flow to find full dynamic expression within naname choreography.

Equipment: chu/nagado daiko with naname stand

Recommended workshop duration: 2-3 hours
Videos: Youtube Playlist
Objectives: This workshop is an introduction to various drills and exercises that enhances drummers’ listening skills, bachi control and dexterity to intergrate the funky polymeter base-beats. A naname movement drill will also be introduced to strengthen soloing vocabulary and help students feel comfortable playing with the polymeter base beat.

Brief Workshop Content description: “Quitiplas in the Pocket” is a solo improvisation piece on the Naname (slant style) drums created by ManMan. It has interlocking polymeter base-beats, adapted from the Venezuelan Quitiplas music, that is played on various shime daiko. Participants will be learning the polymeter base beat with body percussion, which provides a new listening and playing experience. ManMan’s approach creates new pathways that deviate from the classical music approach, as the body percussion exercise help participants to internalize the music and playing with a groove.

Target Taiko Skills and Achievement:

  • Create a safe and inclusive platform for practicing challenging rhythms and skills as a group
  • Strengthen participants listening skills through playing multiple musical parts with their body (i.e. body percussion)
  • Soloing comfortably with polymeter base-beats
  • Playing together as a group and in a groove

Target Skill Level: Intermediate level. Alternatively, workshop materials can be adapted to beginners level with some music/percussion/dance background.

Equipment: Chu daiko with naname stands, 3-4 shime daiko

Recommended workshop duration: 2-3 hours

Objectives: An innovative approach to practicing rhythm and multiple instrumental parts simultaneously to enhance listening skills and understanding of the music. Participants will use body percussion to practice shime and kane parts of “nageai”/”mikoshi bayashi”, playing and singing two instrumental parts at the same time.

Brief Workshop Content description: “Body Bayashi” is a body music/dance piece created during the San Francisco International Orff Courses based on the kuchi-shoga (phonetic musical notation of traditional Japanese drumming) of “Nageai/Shichome/Mikoshi Bayashi” – a basic pattern from the festival music of old Tokyo, as learned from Kenny Endo-sensei. Through learning this dance, participants will internalize and embody the interlocking relationship between two instruments simultaneously. The exercise can be applied to any taiko piece to strengthen listening skills and enhance understanding of the musical nuances.

Target Taiko Skills and Achievement:

  • Deepen the practice of kuchi-shoga,  the art of “if you can say it, you can play it” or “say it the way it supposed to sound”
  • Enhance sensitivity in dynamics in the drum “melody” and timbre of the drum sound
  • Strengthen listening skills especially on hearing how two musical parts interlock with each other

Target Skill Level: open level

Equipment: 2-4 Shime daiko and atarigane (instruments are optional), speaker for audio playback with iPhone  

Recommended workshop duration: 2-3 hours
Video: Youtube Playlist

Objectives: Most Odaiko training takes a predominantly loud, aggressive and forceful approach, this workshop takes on a different direction that embraces the power of gentle and graceful qualities. Participants will explore various avenues of expression through creative movement exercises that highlight the diversity of the instrument and celebrate the unique identity of the drummer. Participants will learn about their bodies and how to use the space around them to create a portrait of their relationship with the Odaiko, and their fellow drummers.

Brief Workshop Content description: Using highlights from “Gliding Dreams”, a choreographic piece that uses rhythmic, patterned, and improvised movement-driven drumming. We will explore a graceful approach to the Odaiko. Together, we will use a series of singing and creative movement exercises while playing Odaiko to communicate an image, convey an idea, or express a feeling. Through a guided exploration of body relationship to Odaiko and to your fellow drummer(s), these exercises aim to help participants finding their unique voice and connection with their body.

Target Taiko Skills and Achievement:

  • Enhance posture, balance, and coordination
  • Strengthen musical and movement creativity
  • Build confidence and self-exploration
  • Develop spatial awareness, and ability to utilize and connect with the space around our body

Target Skill Level: Open level, recommended for those who are open to and enjoy movement exploration.

Equipment: Odaiko (3 person per odaiko)

Recommended workshop duration: 2-3 hours

Videos playlist from various Taiko FUNdamentals workshops:  Youtube Playlist

Objectives: Studies have shown that our learning abilities are maximised within a fun and supportive atmosphere. Through a series of songs and games on the taiko, Taiko Fundamentals focuses on developing the participants’ musicality level, creativity and sense of originality in an inclusive environment while learning the core elements of the art of taiko.

Brief Workshop Content description:  In this workshop, we will experience a series of games and activities that strengthen ensemble listening skills, develop rhythmic sensitivity, opening up creative avenues, while enhancing stage presence and group interaction. Every human soul is musical given an inclusive platform that unlocks our inner musicality. Through the use of musical games, body percussions, songs, and movement, we will experience how to uncover our intuitive musical ability without even trying.

Target Skill Level: Open level (youth and beginners welcome!)

Equipment:  Ideally have 1 Chu daiko per participant but ok with less. Various types of drums are also needed, e.g. 2-4 shime, 1 odaiko, 3-4 okedo (optional), 2-4 uchiwa daiko

Recommended workshop duration: 10 hours

Videos playlist from various Taiko FUNdamentals workshops:  Youtube Playlist
Objectives: Through a series of FUN songs and games with taiko drumming, Taiko Fundamentals focuses on developing the participants’ musicality level, creativity and sense of originality, while navigating through the realms of the art of taiko. This professional development workshop will explore teaching the art of taiko through the Orff Sculwerk approach focusing on:

  • Establishing an inclusive environment for learning
  • Exploring new approaches to keep students engaged
  • Utilizing games, songs, and movement to teach taiko concepts
  • Nurturing a fun and musical classroom
  • Inspiring team work and collaboration
  • Enhancing group cohesiveness
  • Developing rhythmic sensitivity and stage presence

Brief Workshop format: Let’s go back to school! In this highly interactive workshop, we will ALL be students! Through singing, playing games, dancing, and of course, playing taiko we will experience how the Orff schulwerk approach leads students to discover their innate musicality. Each set of activities will be followed by a short discussion and Q&A about the teaching techniques, and we will close the program with a creative session to conclude our learning experience from the professional development intensive, along with a longer discussion to reflect on how our experiences in the workshop can translate to our own classrooms. A guided sharing session led by each participant will also take place during the workshop.  

Target Skill Level: Taiko teachers, leaders who would like to explore the art of teaching, any taiko players who are enthusiastic about learning a creative approach to improve their technical skills, musical skills, and teaching skills.

Equipment: Ideally have 1 Chu daiko per participant but ok with less. Various types of drums are also needed, e.g.  4 shime, 1 odaiko, 3-4 okedo (optional), 2-4 uchiwa daiko