This past weekend I had a chance to take part in a one-hour taiko workshop that aims to introduce the basics of taiko while giving participants the opportunity to perform on stage. If you’ve seen taiko live during in your time in Japan and wanted to do more than just watch, this is the perfect opportunity to try it for yourself! No experience is necessary.
Hosted at Agetsuchi Theater, the workshop began with an impressive display by members of Hibikiza.
The piece they performed is meant to invoke an image of the silhouette of Matsumoto Castle at night and was truly exhilarating.
After their demonstration, we jumped right into learning the techniques.
From proper stance…
…to the way you hold the drumsticks. Drumsticks were provided for the lesson.
After some warm up, we began to learn basic rhythms. Our enthusiastic instructor and another member, who was assisting in English, gave step by step instructions as they led us through patterns that gradually increased in difficulty. Once we had mastered four variations of the beat, we strung them together for an invigorating group arrangement.
Now that everyone had gotten the hang of the basic elements, we were given the chance to try a solo performance on a variety of drums!
And to wrap up the hour, we were given some free time to play as we liked on the drums of our choosing.
The dedicated members of Hibikiza made for a very fun and memorable hour. If you have the chance to participate in one of their future workshops, you can also look forward to pictures in a happi (overcoat often worn in festivals) and a souvenir hachimaki (bandanna).