Workshop Session 2

D = Discussion Session

P = Performance Session

Please see the list below for all workshops offered during Session 1 of NATC 2017, from 3:30PM-6:00PM on Friday, August 11th. Schedule is subject to change.  List arranged alphabetically by instructor/discussion curators’ first name.




Group affiliation: Unit Souzou – On Ensemble – Prota

Conversations: Basic Solo Improvisation •  Skill level: ALL• P

Are you a human being? Do you communicate with other (probably) human beings through methods verbal or otherwise? If so, you’re probably a stellar improviser! Learn to communicate through improvisation with others in a fun and relaxed environment where you can let the drum do the talking!


Group affiliation: Jun Daiko

Taiko 2.0: Activism and Advocacy • D

In this session, we look “beyond the drum” to see and hear what are groups doing beyond traditional kumidaiko to make social, political, or ethical statements. Half Taiko Talks, half discussion, this session will feature individual speakers presenting their projects followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A.


Group affiliation: KODO

Beautiful Katsugi Okedo PlayingSkill level: Intermediate• P

A rather new style to enter the taiko world, the katsugi okedo allows freedom of movement but along with it comes the difficulty of finding the right relationship with the instrument to ensure quality sound.  This workshop carefully addresses key factors necessary to play the katsugi okedo well; how to stand, where to strap the drum, and the basic strike.  Once the basics have been transmitted, we will dig deeper by addressing different sound qualities, how to use the back side, the crossover, and how the instrument should be used in an ensemble setting.  Some of Kodo’s performance philosophies will be shared too! Please bring appropriate bachi for use on katsugi okedo.


Group affiliation: San Jose Taiko

Teaching Taiko • D

San Jose Taiko will share best practices from over four decades of teaching taiko. This session will also draw from participants’ collective experiences with leading and organizing taiko workshops. Be prepared to ask questions, share knowledge, and demonstrate what we discuss. Consider it a fun master class for taiko teachers!


Group affiliation: Amanojaku – Asano Taiko Unit One

Naname Fundamentals  •  Skill level: ALL• P

This workshop focuses on the grip, stance, and stroke for playing Naname style. An introduction to Bon Daiko repertoire and introduction to techniques for playing velocities from pianissimo to fortissimo (soft to loud). Tips for clean kata (motion), as well as for playing common ji (basebeat) patterns.


Group affiliation: Soloist

Miyake FundamentalsSkill level: Intermediate• P

This piece, an adaption from the traditional festival music from Miyake island and made popular by Kodo, is physically one of the more demanding pieces in the taiko repertoire. This workshop will introduce participants to the five-part regiment that Kodo apprentices must go through to learn this piece. While known for its famous low stance and powerful arm movements, there are many nuances and subtleties that can will add expressiveness and melodic qualities to a performance. Participants will be learning from a featured Miyake soloist with Kodo- the group which is arguably the standard bearer for playing this piece.


Group affiliation: Taiko Center of the Pacific

Odaiko KihonSkill level: ALL• P

Basics for performing on the ‘big drum’ will include stance, grip, hitting techniques, training tips, quality sound, and relaxing. A practice odaiko piece “Odaiko Kakeai Kihon Kyoku,” will be taught focusing on fundamentals, base beat patterns, and becoming more comfortable and dynamic at performing the odaiko. Improvised soloing on the odaiko will be introduced with participants encouraged to develop their spontaneous creativity. Internalizing the beat, soloing within a group context, and performing as a soloist will also be covered.


Group affiliation: Soloist

Lighted Bachi and the Beautiful StrikeSkill level: Beginner• P

This dramatic lecture/demonstration uses lighted bachi, long exposure photography, and videography to give participants a new way to visualize the basic strike. With detailed feedback on mechanics, each player receives a video allowing detailed comparison of their strike with that of the facilitator.


Group affiliation: TAIKOPROJECT – On Ensemble

Naname Essentials Skill level: Beginner• P

To create a better understanding of form and hitting technique on naname technique. Using a technique I call “focus forward,” Naname Essentials will focus on form and hitting technique and how the body connects to the drum.


Group affiliation: TaikoPeace

Ei Ja Nai Ka?Skill level: ALL• P

Ei Ja Nai Ka (EJNK) is an open source piece that has become a popular North American taiko folk dance. A sequence of energizing activities prepares participants to embody rhythms in movement, dance, voice, and taiko. In recent years, EJNK is being danced at many local obon. Share EJNK in the spirit of unifying people to play and dance with open heart and abandonment. Bring bachi.


Group affiliation: Soloist

Yokouchi Style – Upright Lateral DrummingSkill level: INTERMEDIATE• P

Learn Yokouchi style of upright lateral drumming, which has roots in Hachijo style drumming. Yokouchi style is Shogo’s personal flair on upright lateral drumming, which focuses on elaborate arm and bachi movements and centering the core to produce a powerful strike. Participants will explore various kuchi-shoga and learn to understand how the intonation of one’s voice translates into body movements.


Group affiliation: On Ensemble

Taiko Set ImprovisationSkill level: Advanced• P

The first part of the workshop will focus on how to isolate the most important accents in a ji or a groove and build phrases around those accents. We will also spend time on how to keep a groove strong whether you are the soloist or support player.

The second part of the workshop will focus on the idea of having gears to play a simple groove. These gears represent the same groove played at various levels of intensity and complexity that will help build and support a solo.

The third part of the workshop will focus on soloist techniques. We’ll do some technique building drills then dive into being able to deconstruct and reconstruct phrases in order to develop a rhythmic idea. We will then introduce the idea of voicing and using the different sounds and dynamic levels available to us.

Finally we will put these all together in a real world situation with participants taking turns as the soloist or the support players.


Group affiliation: Taiko Center of the Pacific

Body BayashiSkill level: ALL• P

Learning the main pattern of “Body Bayashi,”a body music/dance piece created during San Francisco International Orff Courses based on the kuchi-shoga of “Mikoshi Bayashi” – a basic pattern from the festival music of old Tokyo, as learned from Kenny Endo- sensei in his ensemble weekly Edo Bayashi practice. The purpose of the dance is to internalize and embody the interlocking relationship between two instruments. A very challenging but fascinating exercise. The exercise can also be applied to any taiko pieces for ear training and strengthen listening skills.