Thank you to everyone who came out to our first open practice last thursday! We loved getting to meet you all, and hope to see even more new faces at our second open practice this thursday, (9/11).
For those who came last week and want to brush up on what they learned, or for those who couldn’t make it but want to get a feel for what taiko is before the second open practice this thursday, here’s some review!
We play on taiko drums with drumsticks called bachi. There are several different kinds of drums, and several different bachi, depending on the piece being played, or the type of drum being used.
What is kuchishoga?
Taiko is traditionally learned by oral tradition, and we learn our songs by kuchishoga, which is the oral singing of a piece to learn the rhythm and pattern of the beats. Kuchishoga at the most basic level typically includes don’s and ka’s. Don’s and doro’s are hits on the center of the drumhead, known as the hare. Ka’s and kara’s are hits on the edge of the drum, known as the fuchi.
Hold the bachi about two inches from the bottom, firmly but flexibly. Make sure that your thumbs are not sitting vertically on top of the bachi- they should be to the side. For the taiko stance, stand low with legs apart, left leg in front and with your knees slightly bent. (Make sure to adjust for height. For example, if you are tall, you may have to bend your legs a little lower to be in proper reach of the drum). Also, don’t forget to relax your shoulders!
Playing the taiko
Imagine an axis protruding perpendicularly out of the center of your drumhead. Your bachi tips should travel roughly along this axis. (Straight up and down). For the first part of a hit, raise your bachi above your head with your arm straight, making sure not to bend your wrists too far forwards or backwards. For the latter part of the hit, draw the bachi back down to the drum, leading with your elbow. (This is for don’s. For ka’s, there is no axis, and you do not have to draw your bachi above your head.)
As you may have noticed during our performances, we shout things like “hup,” “sup,” and “sei” often. These are known as ki-ai, which literally means “cohesive energy.” The purpose of such shouting is to cheer each other on and add energy to the performance!
The first piece every member of Kazan Taiko learns is called “Renshu,” which is one of the things we will be teaching and going over in our open practices. For anyone who wants to review, you can access the kuchishoga for Renshu Here.
Didn’t make it to the first open practice? Not to worry, we will be teaching and going over it again this thursday!
Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out the second open practice form so that we know whether you will be coming or not this thursday! You can access the form Here.
We look forward to seeing everyone this thursday for open practice 2!!