Workshops

Session 1

Super Chunky Yatai – Tiffany Tamaribuchi

(Intermediate) A standard arrangement of Yatai popularized by Ondekoza & Kodo broken down into easy to parse chunks.  Includes tips on kata, staging, and injury prevention.

Advanced Odaiko – Isaku Kageyama

(Advanced) What are some of the ways to create a solo and/or improvise? What are some of the various fundamental techniques for playing Odaiko in a large ensemble, small ensemble, and solo performance? This would be a good workshop if you’re interested in taking an in-depth look at Odaiko technique, examining Odaiko repertoire, and learning ways to improvise. Participants can expect to gain a deeper understanding of how technique affects their sound, learn excerpts of Odaiko repertoire, and improvisation techniques.
Must be somewhat familiar with odaiko fundamentals.

Why Naname? An Ode and Introduction – Kris Bergstrom

(Beginner) Learn the essential purpose of naname (in comparison other styles) through rhythmic and choreographic selections from Bergstrom’s contemporary vocabulary.

Yodan – Eri Ishizuka

(Open to All) Yodan Uchi is a composition by the founding members of Sukeroku Taiko, who founded a professional taiko group in Japan for the first time around 53 years ago. As part of a ceremony, to show off taiko playing, the uniqueness of the piece comes from its various movements. This workshop will cover foundations of the playing style and movement of Yodan Uchi.

Taiko FUNdamentals – Cultivating Musicality, Creativity, and Stage Presence – Yeeman Mui (Manman)

(Open to All) 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. 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.

Layin’ it down: Ji Playing – Barbara Merjan

(Open to All) Ji in taiko is known as the heartbeat of the song. The Ji supports the rhythms and solos throughout and is imperative to a successful performance. Participants will learn the importance of setting and keeping a solid ji. The focus will be on different types of Ji while working with various tempos.

Beta Basics – Yuta Kato

(Beginner) With efficiency and sustainability at its core, this workshop explores the limitless potential of the relationship between body, bachi, and taiko. Within all styles of taiko, the “beta” is often considered the purest and simplest. Taking steps towards mastering this style will better every aspect of taiko playing no matter what your genre of style or taiko music. We will also explore exercises and drills beyond the basics that will allow for more movement and creativity.

Basic Rhythm Ensemble Playing – Masataka Kobayashi

(Open to All) Masataka Kobayashi, Founder and Director of Bonten will teach his method of reasoning towards rhythm. Participants will learn each of 10 patterns of rhythms that will then be applied in larger groups of rhythms. Participants of all levels are encouraged and will strengthen their rhythmic abilities and confidence.

Body Awareness in Taiko – Young Park

(Open to All) 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.

Taiko Set – Kenny Endo

(Open to All) 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.

Bachi Maneuvers – Mark H Rooney

(Open to All) Find out why this is Mark’s most popular workshop! Learn how to spin, throw and catch your bachi as a way to spice up your solo, performance or composition. Learn basic and advanced tricks as well as exercises for how to practice them. Mark H will also reveal the secrets to making simple tricks appear more impressive and the deeper universal philosophies behind these (seemingly) superfluous skills.

Uchiwadaiko Choreography – Falling and Catching in “Forest” – Joe Small

(Open to All) 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.

Atarigane Playing – Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

(Open to All) This workshop will cover some effective techniques for playing the atarigane (hand-held gong).  Topics include: exploration of various sounds, grooves, vocalizing patterns, notation, traditional rhythms, and new applications.  Participants are welcome to bring their own, but practice kane will be provided for use during the workshop.

Teaching Taiko – Stuart Paton

(Open to All) This workshop will start with exercises, elements, and Ideas I work with when teaching Taiko to children. The majority of the time will be addressing ideas and priorities of teaching/leading a Taiko group, as well as responding to participant questions and ideas.

Community Building 202: How to Build a Supportive Group Culture – Karen Young

(Open to All) We have all been part of groups that function well as well as those that function horribly. Groups are more effective, harmonious, and accomplish more when people feel connected, supported, and empowered. How do you intentionally build a positive group culture where initiative is encouraged? What does it mean to build a community? In this workshop participants will discuss key leadership concepts, the complexity of group dynamics, and the pros and cons of various decision-making models. This will not be a lecture only session. Be prepared to have fun, play games, and practice relationship building skills!

 

Session 2

Odaiko Fundamentals – Tiffany Tamaribuchi

(Beginner) This workshop covers a set of fundamental techniques to help players improve their overall technique when playing Odaiko. Whether you are playing in an ensemble piece, are an accompanist or a soloist, and whether you are an accomplished performer or you haven’t had a chance to try playing Odaiko yet, the skill sets covered in this class have helped hundreds of players to play with more power, spirit, control, stamina, and confidence.
Please try to bring your own odaiko bachi.

Kenka Yatai – Isaku Kageyama

(Open to All) Kenka Yatai was composed by Yoichi Watanabe of Amanojaku and is a standard piece learned and performed by all of the group’s students. I first learned this piece when I was 15 years old, and I’ve been playing it for over 20 years now. This piece has taught me a lot about taiko, such as getting a full sound from the drum, playing ji to support a solo, and getting a crisp sound from the fuchi. This piece has always been a staple of my taiko repertoire, and it’s an honor to share it with you.

Naname Phrasing – Kris Bergstrom

(Advanced) Taught like a dance class to music, this workshop teaches brand-new naname snippets demonstrating “tiny choreo”, “full choreo”, “glitch rhythm”, and “taiko taiko!”, plus how to combine themes to create effective development.

Kabuki Bayashi – Eri Ishizuka

(Open to All) Kabuki bayashi, also known as hogaku hayashi, is the music for drums and flutes accompanying Kabuki theater. The instruments, which originally come from Noh theater, are taiko (shime daiko), otsuzumi (large hourglass drum), and kotsuzumi (small hourglass drum).  This set of instruments later became introduced to Kabuki theater. In Kabuki, the music is played off stage (geza) or onstage (debayashi) or sometimes both. The music of Kabuki was mainly influenced by Noh music but also has influences from gagaku (court music), minyo (folk music), matsuri bayashi (festival music), and a unique music found in Kabuki and Nagauta. In this way, Kabuki bayashi was created.

This workshop will introduce some patterns for taiko, otsuzumi, and kotsuzumi found the tottan system (8 beat cycle from Noh music) on Nagado and chirikara byoshi (patterns between otsuzumi and kotsuzumi unique to Kabuki Bayashi) on Nagado.  Kakegoe is vocalization by the drummers derived from Noh music, an important aspect of this music, will also be introduced. The Mochizuki school of playing for this classical drumming is one of the largest styles in this genre. It takes many years to master this style of Japanese drumming but it is very useful as a basis for taiko players. The music needs ‘ma’ (space), which in music refers to the space between sounds. The energy is maintained in the silence (unlike Western music where the silence is called a rest) Also important is ‘iki’ (breath); in general, the breathing is slow like meditation but can be held for accents or to accentuate the emotions of the music.

Taiko FUNdamentals – Cultivating Musicality, Creativity, and Stage Presence – Yeeman Mui (Manman)

(Open to All) 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. 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.

Miyake – Barbara Merjan

(Open to All) Miyake was originally a festival piece for the Gozu Tenno Sai festival on Miyake Island. Since then, it has been adapted by KODO and played amongst many taiko players around the world. Participants will learn the basic training methodologies for the KODO rendition of this very demanding and difficult piece.

Hachijo Daiko – Yuta Kato

(Open to All) 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.

Fight – Masataka Kobayashi

(Intermediate) Fight is an intermediate level Bonten song created for Bonten’s debut performance in Jamaica. The central motif is “Taiko that dances”. Accompanied by Shamisen, this song is both intense and fun to play. View a preview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywUDVNXgfKU

Advanced Movement for Taiko – Young Park

(Intermediate/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 explore moving through space, in both vertical and horizontal planes, learning longer phrases of movement, as well as learning how to take weight in the hands.
Previous movement experience (dance, martial art, etc.)

Solid Shime Daiko Playing – Kenny Endo

(Open to All) 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.

Fundamentals for Playing Katsugi Okedo with MOVEMENT – Mark H Rooney

(Beginner) “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 with little to no experience playing this style.

Kyo-Jaku and Onshoku – Dynamics and Timbre – Joe Small

(Intermediate/Advanced) Too often a good taiko composition might be held back from being a great composition by a lack of dynamics!  This clinic-style workshop gives the taiko artists tools to develop awareness and sensitivity of on-shoku (‘sound colors’ – or timbre), and kyo-jaku (‘strong-weak’), referring to the control of dynamics in one’s playing.  Through exercises, drills, and sharing some excerpts of repertory (Joe’s included), participants will uncover ways to liven up and add texture and nuance to existing group and solo material!
Please bring chudaiko bachi as well as other kinds of bachi if you have them, coming ready with 2~3 short excerpts of material that you can play in your group (or solo material).

Soloing Musically on Taiko – Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

(Open to All) This workshop will focus on ideas for soloing on beta-stand taiko.  We will play exercises for improvising on the spot and cover ways to prearrange material ahead of time.  Other topics include listening, dynamics, tempo control, and expression.  This workshop is designed to cover some fundamentals of soloing musically and is open to players of all experience levels.

Body and Mind of Taiko – Stuart Paton

(Open to All) Participants will learn about the relationship between the Body, Mind, and Taiko in this intellectual workshop. Participants interested in learning about the deeper meaning behind the Taiko are strongly encouraged to experience this workshop. More details regarding the workshop will be updated on our website.

Taiko and Community: What’s the Connection? – Karen Young

(Open to All) 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.

 

Session 3

Intermediate Odaiko – Tiffany Tamaribuchi

(Intermediate) This workshop will cover different aspects of both solo and ensemble performance on Odaiko, including staging considerations, development and composition of set patterns and improvised rhythms that highlight the character and power of the style, including ways to incorporate different kata and approach more challenging arrangements. We’ll be doing a brief overview of the development of this style and the character and various techniques used by professional artists, and work on enhancing each player’s skill level by adapting some of these elements in different drills.

Conversations – Isaku Kageyama

(Advanced) Are you interested in learning a lively shime daiko piece that incorporates both traditional Japanese music and world rhythms? Conversations is a shime daiko ensemble piece that incorporates elements of Hogaku, Edo Bayashi, and World Percussion. The piece represents a conversation in the universal language of music. Participants can expect to learn shime daiko fundamental techniques, practice methods for improving rhythmic accuracy, and drills to improve hand speed.
Must have experience with fundamental shime techniques.

Capturing Ideas – Kris Bergstrom

(Open to All) Have you ever imagined a great rhythm in the shower but forgot it at the drum?… Or tried to write two parts and then been disappointed when you hear them together?  This workshop provides notation and video tricks to shorten the path from mind to music.

Yodan – Eri Ishizuka

(Open to All) Yodan Uchi is a composition by the founding members of Sukeroku Taiko, who founded a professional taiko group in Japan for the first time around 53 years ago. As part of a ceremony, to show off taiko playing, the uniqueness of the piece comes from its various movements. This workshop will cover foundations of the playing style and movement of Yodan Uchi.

Quitiplas in the Pocket – Yeeman Mui (Manman)

(Intermediate)  Introduction to various drills and exercises that challenges drummers’ listening skills, bachi control and dexterity. The drills lead into the composition “Quitiplas in the Pocket” by Yeeman “ManMan” Mui, A piece for solo improvisation on the Naname (slant style) drums with a stylized solo cue. The interlocking polymeter base beat, adapted from the Venezuelan Quitiplas music, is played on various shime daiko. Participants will be learning the polymeter base beat with body percussion, which provides a new perspective in our listening and execution of the music. The polymeter backbeat is challenging but also has a distinctive groove that opens up various platforms for improvisation. The piece also encourages exploring different tonalities of the drums. Target Taiko Skills and Achievement include strengthening participants listening skills through playing multiple musical parts on body percussion, soloing with a polymeter basebeat, and playing as a group and in the groove.

Miyake – Barbara Merjan

(Open to All) Miyake was originally a festival piece for the Gozu Tenno Sai festival on Miyake Island. Since then, it has been adapted by KODO and played amongst many taiko players around the world. Participants will learn the basic training methodologies for the KODO rendition of this very demanding and difficult piece.

Beta Advanced – Yuta Kato

(Advanced) With efficiency and sustainability at its core, this workshop explores the limitless potential of the relationship between body, bachi, and taiko. Within all styles of taiko, the “beta” is often considered the purest and simplest. Taking steps towards mastering this style will better every aspect of taiko playing no matter what your genre of style or taiko music. In this advanced class will explore exercises and drills beyond the basics that will allow for different sound qualities, movement and creativity.

Rokugyo – Masataka Kobayashi

(Beginner) Based off of the melodies of traditional Nebuta Matsuri music, Rokugyo is the team song for Mirai Taiko Dojo (the taiko dojo Kobayashi founded). It features the combination of 6 groups of rhythms. The piece is arranged so that it is easy to learn while building rhythmic strength for the player.

Choreography – Young Park

(Open to All) This workshop will focus on creating movement composition for Taiko.  Through series of exercises, participants 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. Some movement knowledge is great, but not necessary.  Be willing to be open, to be creative, to be uncomfortable, and to take risks.

Ji Patterns and Soloing Musically – Kenny Endo

(Open to All) 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.

Fundamentals for Playing Katsugi Okedo with MOVEMENT – Mark H Rooney

(Beginner) “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 with little to no experience playing this style.

“Bounding”: Exploring Two-Drum Set in Eitetsu Methodology – Joe Small

(Advanced) Rooted in the style and approach of Joe’s mentor, pioneering solo taiko artist, Eitetsu Hayashi, “Bounding” is the climactic finale of Joe’s original taiko-dance theatre concert work, “Spall Fragments”.  Using a fun and exciting arrangement of the swiftly-moving piece (with related drills), we’ll delve into the melodic potential of the two-drum ‘high and low’ set that requires us to ‘thread the needle’ with a mixture of articulate care and tactical power.  If you’re looking to give your body and brain a workout in terms of taiko set, please consider this workshop!
If you have any, please bring set bachi of cypress or magnolia, ideally tapered.

Intermediate Shinobue – Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

(Intermediate) This workshop is for shinobue players with some experience on the instrument.  Basics will be reviewed, but most of the time will be spent on how to get to the next level.  Topics may include warm-up exercises, breath control, finger articulation, intonation, dynamics, improvisation, and non-traditional techniques such as tonguing and vibrato.  We will look at a variety of styles including folk melodies, Western songs, original compositions, and participant requests.  Please bring your shinobue and any music you might be working on.
Please bring all of your shinobue.

DragonHeart Ondo – Stuart Paton

(Open to All) This piece was composed to honor a Dragon-Boating breast cancer survivor/supporter organization called DragonHeart VT.  The full piece, including conversations between the shime taiko and chu daiko will be ready to perform at the end of the session.  Time permitting, we will add  both of the Ji-uchi/accompaniment parts to our practice.

Unleashing Your Inner Genki: How to be More of YOU as a Performer – Karen Young

(Open to All) 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 share tips and our experiences showing our “inner Genki” and spirit. 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, some practice on drums.