Taiko

I have been remiss in updating you on all my activities.

With my Tuesdays free of hockey, I finally had a chance to start taking taiko lessons. Starting this February, I’ve been banging on drums for two hours every Tuesday night.

But it’s so much more. Taiko combines my love of rhythm, technique, athleticism, and teamwork.

Every week has been a learning experience. Every week I’ve seen improvement.

I literally have a list of things to work on and keep in mind when I drum. I realized I needed to write it down, so why not here? I did that for hockey, and I found it incredibly useful.

So here goes, my chu-daiko* to the left list:

Stance (it’s kind of like shooting a puck)
– legs wide
– get low
– shift weight to the right on the don upswing
– shift weight back to the left before don strike
– don’t lift up on the weight shift back to the left

Arms
– don is a hard hit, but it comes from the momentum of the weight shift
– the don upswing comes from the shoulders, not elbows or wrists
– raise the bachi in a smooth motion, don’t stab at the air
– bend elbows on the downswing
– imagine throwing the bachi at the drum head on the don
– even fast dokos don’t use the wrists
– wrists not too open, not too closed (still trying to get this right, no idea how to explain it here)
– don’t flail, every swing is controlled

General
– don’t bounce to keep time, even if you really like bouncing
– don’t lean forward when striking

I feel like I forgot some things, but I’ll remember on Tuesday. Now that I have a place to write this down, I’ll probably start posting more.

I also have a list of aches and pains and minor injuries. Remember when I started playing hockey and had the dumbest injuries from things like holding the stick? I have the dumbest injuries from swinging the bachi: tennis elbow, achy wrists, and blisters, blisters, blisters.

I trust I’ll have arms and hands of steel by the end of the year.

* Chu-daiko is the medium sized drum, and we’re currently learning how to play it primarily from the side.

3 Comments

  1. And random follow up question: Is the musical part as strict as say playing music in a normal (like orchestra style) setting, or is it more about form and aesthetics, and the musicality comes second? (kind of like Japanese archery, where hitting a target is a secondary concern)

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