Taiko Set (all levels)
The practice and performance techniques of playing multiple taiko with be covered in this workshop, among them: stance, grip, basic grooves, independence, soloing, traditional Japanese rhythms, and accompanying. 16th note back beat, Brazilian, Cuban, and patterns from Kotobuki Jishi (Tokyo Lion Dance drumming) will be covered.
Solid Shime Daiko Playing (all levels)
Good shime daiko technique will improve your technique on all sized taiko. This class will concentrate on the intricate shime daiko techniques and patterns found in the lively festival music of Edo Bayashi (Tokyo festival music). This technique is quite refined and has applications to all sized taiko. Emphasis will be on timing, playing with precision, grip, sound, nori (groove), and relaxing.
Soloing, Improvisation, and Ji (all levels)
One of taiko’s major roles in traditional Japanese music is as an accompaniment for theater, dance, and other music genres. In kumi daiko the art of correctly propelling the music and supporting the soloists through solid ji playing (base beat) are often overlooked. Basic kumi daiko ji patterns as well as patterns from traditional music will be explained. Internalizing the beat, soloing within a group context, timing, and performing as a soloist will also be covered. Spontaneity, phrasing, and thematic soloing will be introduced. A great improvised solo will not only raise the energy level of performance but transport everyone to another place. Explore the creativity you have within yourself.
Jack Bazaar Primer (intermediate)
Start learning this advanced naname (slant-style) piece with the composer/choreographer. As a copyleft work, Jack Bazaar is free to be used by you and your group, performed, and changed as desired. https://k–b.org/compositions/jack-bazaar
“I performed Jack Bazaar at the National Theater of Japan in 2013 as part of the first American ensemble to join the annual Nihon no Taiko concert. I dropped my bachi. Let me teach you how to do it better! If you get a chance, please take a look at the piece in advance… I love questions!” — Kris Bergstrom
Naname Improv: Named Phrases and Zones (intermediate)
Learn how to incorporate original phrases in a Matsuri-style solo, and one approach to jamming with a beat.
“When I started playing taiko, I hated improvisation. I didn’t have the necessary building blocks nor the tools to assemble them. Now I love it and I’m excited to show you what changed. I’m also excited to learn where you are with improv and what challenges you face.” — Kris Bergstrom
Move! (all levels)
This is one of Kris’s favorite workshops; challenging for brain and body with an emphasis on achieving a musical/choreographic experience. Taught like an exercise class, a brief explanation of a movement concept is followed by fast-paced drumming to music, building to a satisfying ending phrase. Beneficial for students of all experience levels.
The Wonderful World of Chappa (beginner)
Have you ever wondered what you can do with chappa? Instructor Shoji Kameda will welcome participants into the wonderful world of chappa and introduce them to the immense potential that chappa hold. Participants will learn patterns and technique to develop their chappa playing and are strongly encouraged to bring their own pair of chappa.
Omiyage (all levels)
Are you looking for an exciting ensemble piece that you can play with your group? Omiyage was written by Shoji Kameda and refers to the traditional Japanese custom of gift-giving. Omiyage is a celebration of the love of taiko, the excitement of seeing taiko for the first time, and the open, sharing attitude that is North American Taiko. Learn Omiyage’s chudaiko naname part.
Advanced Chappa Techniques (advanced)
Unlock the full potential of chappa in this advanced workshop! Participants will work with instructor Shoji Kameda to advance their chappa skills and take them to the next level! Participants should have some familiarity with chappa before going into this workshop and are strongly encouraged to bring their own chappa.
Bujin is one of Amanojaku’s trademark, most exciting pieces, composed by leader Yoichi Watanabe. Using an abbreviated version, you will learn how to execute the characteristic movements and patterns of this piece!
Introduction to Conversations (all levels)
Learn Isaku Kageyama’s arrangement of the shime-daiko ensemble piece “Conversations,” one that incorporates elements of Hogaku, Edo Bayashi, and World Percussion to represent a conversation in the universal language of music.
Mark H Rooney
Taiko Communication (all levels)
This workshop emphasizes the connection and communication between taiko players while giving groundwork for improvisation and soloing. Exercises are designed to increase one’s skills in interacting with, listening to, and being aware of your fellow taiko drummers as you play. We will explore listening skills, vocabulary expansion and other aspects of soloing within a kumidaiko context.
Katsugi Okedo – Playing and Movement (all levels)
“Katsugi okedo” refers to the style of playing an okedo daiko while it is slung on a strap over the shoulder and allows for the versatility to move about while playing the drum. This style based on Korean drumming and made popular by taiko artists like Leonard Eto and Ryutaro Kaneko has become very popular for its ability to cover a lot of area and perform complicated rhythms on both sides of the drum.
An introduction to this exciting style involves various techniques for hitting the okedo, exercises to practice with and a focus on how to move while playing. Available to any level of player including those with little to no experience playing this style.
Call & Response for Naname Chudaiko (beginner)
Basics for performing on naname chudaiko including warm up exercises, relaxation, grip, and stance. A practice piece will be taught based on Kenny Endo’s “Odaiko Kakeai Kihon Kyoku” (OKKK – Call & Response Basics for the Odaiko). Time to develop a solo within the context of the piece will also be explored.
Call & Response for Beta Chudaiko (beginner)
Basics for performing on beta (upright) chudaiko including warm up exercises, relaxation, grip, and stance. A practice piece will be taught based on Sukeroku Taiko’s “Miyoshi Daiko.” Time to develop a solo within the context of the piece will also be explored.
From Spoken Word to Taiko (all levels)
Participants will learn 1 taiko piece based on written work/spoken word. Participants will develop a written work based on a common topic, arrange it musically, then transfer it into a taiko composition.
Fundamental Body Awareness (beginner)
During this workshop, you will explore body awareness through movement exploration that addresses body alignment, breath, using Butoh imagery, and moving through space. Modified for beginners, or for Taiko players who are looking to learn basic body awareness. Starting with gentle contact improvisation exercises to establish relationship of your body to your bachi, to your drum, and, most importantly, to the ground.
Advanced Body Awareness (intermediate / advanced)
This workshop is open to participants with previous movement experience. Through various movement exercises that will bring focus and awareness to how you move, your movement pattern/habits that you want to enhance, change, or get rid of. This workshop is also about expanding your awareness of your body and space so that you can improve your performance presence.
Advanced Movement and Choreography (advanced)
Open to players with some previous movement experience (dance, martial art, etc.). Expand your Taiko playing and composition to encompass more movement. Based in fundamental dance techniques and styles, it will expand your movement vocabulary for Taiko performance. Starting with a warm-up exercises to connect you with your body and its capabilities, we will experience/experiment with creating choreography that: travels (move across space), moves between/around the drums, moves bodies in ensemble, and is created in collaboration with others; learning longer phrases of movement, as well as learning how to take weight in the hands. Be willing to be open, to be creative, to be uncomfortable, and to take risks.
Odaiko Fundamentals (beginner)
Form, Power, and Grace. This workshop will cover head isolation and stance, joint alignment and sequence, palm orientation, different Odaiko grips. Other topics will include grip and bachi angle (does it feel good/or sound good?), turning from the hips, upper body torque or no torque, and adjusting the arms flight path accordingly.
Advanced Odaiko (advanced)
This is our workshop! In this Hands-on workshop-with discussion, we will jaunt through the content from ‘Odaiko Kihon/basics’, address specific questions, and look at supplemental power sources/accessing chi, resistance breathing voice, posture, eye-and -facial postures to access energy pockets… Time permitting, we can explore the topics of -accenting dynamics with facial proximity, subtle changes in head angle, ideas for building the energy of phrases. Which parts of the Solar System helps you play Odaiko?
Naname Fundamentals (beginner/intermediate)
Whip, torque, and the absence of tension for resonant ‘ka ra’ and strong ‘don’.
In this workshop participants will bring out the sounds of the skin and fuchi while working on stance, palm orientation, elbow flight paths, and different approaches to grips. Add power through acceleration, relaxation, and torque and practice ‘Boomerang’ strikes, scissors, backwards locomotive…
Participants will use Stuart Paton’s composition ‘Tsubasa’ as a vehicle for also exploring range of motion, grip, initiating the movement, dynamic range, koshi, chi…
Hachijo Daiko (all levels)
Hachijo is one of the taiko world’s great playing styles. Powerful and graceful, the form lends itself to both rhythmic and movement expression. Because of its simple nature, there is no limit to what two people can create together using just one drum. In this workshop, participants will learn the fundamentals necessary to play in the Hachijo-style, and will be guided through drills and exercises designed to help become a thoughtful taiko player.
Yodan Uchi (all levels)
Composed by one of the first kumidaiko groups in Japan (Sukeroku Taiko of Tokyo, formed in 1959), “Yodan Uchi” means hitting on 4 levels and is one of the most exciting and popular styles of taiko. Participants will learn the fundamentals and drills essential to playing Yodan Uchi, along with patterns to use as starting points in your own arrangement!
Tonbane-Isamigoma (all levels)
Isamigoma is one of the classic pieces in the Osuwa Daiko repertoire composed by master Daihachi Oguchi. He created Tonbane Daiko, based on Isamigoma for children and adults to play together, so whole families could experience the joy of playing Taiko. This is a great piece for festivals, for accompanying marathon runners, and for many other occasions, since the length of the piece and the drum arrangements are very flexible. Since there is a Shinobue part also, Fue players are also encouraged to participate in this workshop.
Rhythm Training for Taiko Players (all levels)
In this rhythm training class, we do many exercises using various Ji patterns with a combination of accents and phrases from famous exercise books. We learn to harness them into soloing, and last and most important, exercising to develop the good groove which will help any existing repertoire.
Yataibayashi – Chudaiko (all levels)
With origins in the festival music of Chichibu’s Yomatsuri in Saitama Prefecture, this hugely popular piece is an adaptation created and developed by the iconic groups Ondekoza and Kodo. This workshop, led by Fumi Tanakadate, the leading protege of the only former member of Kodo living outside of Japan, Kaoru Watanabe, will give participants historical background information to the piece, invaluable fundamental playing techniques, as well as methodologies to improving after the workshop. This workshop has been developed over a decade of teaching Yataibayashi to groups of mixed skill-leveled performers, from beginners to experienced. Focus will be placed on the chudaiko component of Yataibayashi.
Yataibayashi – Tamaire and Shime (all levels)
With origins in the festival music of Chichibu’s Yomatsuri in Saitama Prefecture, this hugely popular piece is an adaptation created and developed by the iconic groups Ondekoza and Kodo. This workshop, led by Fumi Tanakadate, the leading protege of the only former member of Kodo living outside of Japan, Kaoru Watanabe, will give participants historical background information to the piece, invaluable fundamental playing techniques, as well as methodologies to improving after the workshop. This workshop has been developed over a decade of teaching Yataibayashi to groups of mixed skill-leveled performers, from beginners to experienced. Focus will be placed on Tamaire and Shime playing components of Yataibayashi.
Miyake (all levels)
This piece, a modern adaption of the traditional festival music from the town of Kamitsuki on Miyake island and made popular by the iconic ensemble Kodo, is physically one of the most demanding pieces in the taiko repertoire. Taught by recognized Miyake soloist formerly of Kodo, Kaoru Watanabe, this workshop will introduce participants to a five-part training regiment that focuses on stamina, speed, lower-body movement and form- the essential elements to learning this piece properly. While known for its famous low stance and powerful arm movements, this workshop will also address many nuances and subtleties that can add expressiveness and melodic qualities to a performance.
Shinobue Fundamentals (all levels)
The first part of this three-part workshop gives a general overview of the shinobue as well as other types of bamboo transverse flutes used in Japan- the nohkan and the ryuteki. In the second part of the workshop, participants learn some of the fundamentals in playing- posture, finger positions, basic embouchure, breathing exercises, embellishments- as well as a simple song. Finally, in the third section, participants with playing experience are invited to work one-on-one with Kaoru in a low-key masterclass format.
Unleashing Your Inner Genki: How to be More YOU as a Performer (all levels)
For a variety of reasons some people have a hard time expressing themselves on the stage. Believe it or not, many taiko players feel shy! How can we set up an environment where people feel comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone? How can we get beyond forced smiling because that is what we’ve been told to do to something more genuine? Often this starts with building a supportive group culture. Genki is a Japanese word that means happy, healthy, and full of life! We will play games and work in small groups to identify challenges and share tips to showing our “inner Genki” and spirit. We will then divide into 3-4 groups and learn a short composition that involves creating 16 count ‘group solo’ that is performed in front of others with lots of feedback and support. Participants will leave with tools and perspectives to take back and share with their groups. Come prepared to be open, have fun, and learn more about yourself as a performer. This workshop is appropriate for all levels and will include a mixture of discussion, small group exercises, and practice on drums.
Taiko and Community: What’s the Connection? (all levels)
TAIKO and COMMUNITY go hand in hand. In this workshop we will look at three levels of taiko community: within our groups, amongst our groups, and our connection to the larger community around us. Participants will leave with tools and concepts to strengthen their groups at home, an increased knowledge base of the variety of taiko organizations and their purposes, and several methods of how groups outreach and engage the community around them. This interactive workshop is suitable for all levels of taiko players. Whether you’re a solo or ensemble player, or consider yourself a leader or newbie to the taiko community, you’ll come away from this workshop with new friends, a greater sense of connectedness, and tools and knowledge that will help you achieve your taiko goals. “Technical workshops are great for mechanics, but Karen’s workshops deal with the very heart and soul of taiko – the people who play it.” – Jonathan Kirby, Director, Kagemusha Taiko, UK Taiko Festival, and the European Taiko Conference
Drills, Games, and Exercises: Come share your favorites and learn from others (all levels)
As practice leaders we are always looking for new and fresh ways to help taiko players grow. Whether it’s timing, form, movement, dynamics, spirit, or repertoire we don’t get any better unless we PRACTICE! In this workshop we will share how we approach and plan leading practice then we’ll hit the drums and share our favorite drills, exercises, and games. Come with an open mind and be ready to participate. Leave with plenty of notes and exercises to bring home. Open to players of all levels. Not everyone will be expected to share and all content shared will need to credit the source.
Participants will: discuss a variety of teaching approaches, identify strategies for leading mixed level groups, and practice multiple drills focused on technique, timing, and teamwork.
Propel: Multi-Drum Set Playing (intermediate/advanced)
Interested in playing and learning more about multi-drum set? Interested in composing a taiko piece for set for your group? Either way, please come experience Joe’s original high-energy composition, Propel!
Cumulating in a short arrangement of Propel material, we’ll explore the embodied techniques of multi-drum set playing by learning key sections of the piece. Through these techniques we can hope to find greater articulation, precision, and power – as well as reveal what makes taiko set-playing tremendously compelling and fun!
Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced (set experience not required but welcome!)
Uchiwadaiko and Choreography in Forest (all levels)
Based on Joe’s original piece “Forest”, a semi-structured improvisation, this workshop offers both open-ended creative exploration and guided instruction on uchiwadaiko (lightweight, handheld ‘fan drums’). Taking influence from Japanese folk dance, classical nihon buyo, and even contemporary dance, through “Forest”, we will apply a cyclical choreographic approach to the uchiwadaiko strike – a ‘fall’; and the preparation into another strike – a ‘catch’. In our practice of ‘falling’ and ‘catching’ with the uchiwadaiko, we’ll learn specific choreography and rhythms, and have some fun with some open-ended games to stimulate our creative skills. Whether you’re looking for ideas to expand your group’s creative repertoire, or just looking to get some guidance in how to play and move with uchiwadaiko, this workshop is for you!
Please bring shimedaiko or okedo bachi, and uchiwadaiko if you have them. Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for full-body movement and be able to walk, squat, travel in space.
Kihon (all levels)
This workshop will show participants what it means to truly be grounded and have a dynamic stance while playing taiko. Participants will review basic sticking and striking techniques to create a focused and powerful strike. Instructor Tiffany Tamaribuchi will also teach various kata to emphasize how to prevent injuries while playing taiko.
Creating Meaningful Drills (all levels)
Instructor Tiffany Tamaribuchi guides participants on how to create drills that address their specific needs. Participants will share sections of songs that are difficult to play or teach, and then use those sections to create meaningful drills to work on what are often fairly universal struggles. The workshop will also discuss important skill sets and how use drills to both reinforce and explore challenging phrases and patterns.
To Be Announced Odaiko Composition
Learn a piece for odaiko with renowned odaiko master Tiffany Tamaribuchi, to be announced!