New this year to the NATC, we are proud to present three mini-intensives, which are designed to give seasoned taiko players a more focused and in-depth learning experience. Mini-intensives are conducted over four workshop sessions and participants will be studying with the same instructor(s), Friday and Saturday of NATC.

We have three mini-intensive offerings this year. You can only choose one, so pick wisely!
*Please note that opting to participate in a mini-intensive means that you will not register for other workshops and/or discussion sessions.




Taiko Movement Intensive
Michelle Fujii & Toru Watanabe of Unit Souzou

Taiko is both an aural and visual experience providing a landscape from which the sound emanates. In this 10-hour intensive, Michelle and Toru will bring their unique approach, an expressive blend of Japanese folk dance and taiko, to introduce how the powerful sound of the drum can be shaped by form and movement. Utilizing “Korekara,” an open-source taiko piece co-written by Michelle Fujii, workshop participants will practice drills to physically deepen the understanding of koshi, learn lively choreography incorporating the uchiwa-daiko (fan drum), create short movement-based visual taiko phrases, and discover how Japanese folk dance can provide the foundation for contemporary taiko work.

Edo Matsuri Bayashi (festival music of old Tokyo) of Wakayama Ryu
Kyosuke Suzuki of Wakayama Shachu

Kyosuke Suzuki is a master musician and dancer of the Wakayama Performance Troupe, touring internationally, and performing regularly at the prestigious National Theater of Japan. He collaborates regularly with world-renowned taiko groups including Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, Amanojaku, and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. A premier performer and teacher of Edo Bayashi (Tokyo festival music), with a well-respected “Kyo-no-kai” school for private lessons, Suzuki-sensei’s mini-intensive participants will learn the structure, instruments, rhythms, melodies, and history of the five-person arrangement for Edo Bayashi, which includes 2 shime-daiko, odaiko, atarigane, and shinobue.

Composition and Improvisation
Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan

While there are a fair number of taiko drummers who can easily throw together different rhythms to perform a solo or create a piece to perform, many more people find even the idea of improvisation challenging, and the idea of composition next to impossible.

This mini-intensive will introduce participants to some practical, easy to apply techniques and simple methods that almost anyone can use to improve their improvisational skills. Then, we’ll take some of those same tools and apply them to creating pieces for taiko in a fun and mutually supportive environment. Some of the content will include looking at a sampling of compositions and how they are structured, but a lot more of the content will be practical, hands-on exercises. The most important thing, though, is that you don’t have to be a musician and you don’t have to have years upon years of playing experience to achieve success. By the end of this intensive, participants will have will have experience improvising simple solos to different backbeats and at least one piece to take away and share with their groups.