It’s been almost a year since I started taiko. I went from knowing nothing to learning about equipment, terminology, form, and technique.

I got to know the chu-daiko, and the various ways to strike it: don, do-ko, tsu-ku, ka-ra…

I got to shout, usually “So-re!”

I got to tap my sticks together, often over my head all showy and stuff.

From there we progressed to tossing, twirling, stepping, striking a pose, never missing a beat.

There were many blisters and bruises along the way. At one point, I smacked my fingernail so hard it turned purple and I thought it was going to fall off.

Later in the year, I was introduced to shime-daiko and its completely different technique. I felt a bit like a little monkey playing a drum.

Every year, our group has a recital at the end of January. I was excited when the drum assignments came out; I’d made the front row! At the same time, a little voice in my head yelled, “Holy crap!”

Still, I’d worked really hard to learn our two songs and execute with solid form. I’d cleared my schedule and attended almost every class. It felt good to see that practice and dedication pay off.

Last Sunday was our recital. I was part of the stage crew, and learned a ton about show logistics. I also got to watch our guests perform from backstage, something I’ve never done before. I loved it!

Both songs went well. I didn’t drop my bachi doing the fancy moves and no one noticed my couple little screwups. I’m pretty sure we all screwed up, so no big deal. Overall, our songs sounded like songs. :)

My friend Alissa was kind enough to take video, but for reasons I’m not entirely clear about I’m not supposed to share them with the internet. So here are a couple stills.

This first one’s from our chu-daiko piece, Bondaiko Midareuchi. We’re yelling “So-re!” whilst striking a pose at the start:

And this second one’s from a piece I played shime-daiko on, Agari Yatai, to close out the show:

February is going to be a slow month at class, when we go back to basics for the new students who join. I’m looking forward to it, because it’ll be a chance for me to refine my form.


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