Workshop Session 3

D = Discussion Session

P = Performance Session

Please see the list below for all workshops offered during Session 3 of NATC 2017, from 8:30AM-11:00AM on Saturday, August 12th. Schedule is subject to change.



List arranged alphabetically by instructor/panel curators’ first name.


Group affiliation: Unit Souzou – On Ensemble – Prota

Taiko Set DrillsSkill level: Intermediate • P

“If there’s one thing on which most drummers in the world can agree, it’s that the more drums you have, the better you sound!” — Famous Drummer

While the above quote is probably apocryphal, it’s still pretty fun to play multiple drums. Learn techniques and drills to improve your hand speed and stick control with a set of multiple small taiko.


Group affiliation: San Jose Taiko

Listening Labs: Kumi-daiko Ear Training  •  Skill level: Intermediate• P

As individual artists we have the freedom to play whatever we want but in kumidaiko there is the priority to make everyone else in your group sound good. What does it mean to approach your playing from a listening standpoint and how can it be used to connect you with your fellow taiko players? This workshop will cover useful tools that can be applied to individual and group playing


Group affiliation: Amanojaku – Asano Taiko Unit One

Introduction to Bujin  •  Skill level: ALL• P

Bujin was composed by Yoichi Watanabe, leader of Amanojaku, and is one of the group’s trademark pieces. Participants will learn a shorter arrangement of “Bujin,’ which will include the characteristic movements and rhythms: grip, stance, and basic motions for striking the drum in the yoko-uchi style; drills and exercises for learning the basic motions; learning the trademark phrases of the piece.


Group affiliation: Soloist – Eitetsu Fu-Un no Kai

Introduction to “Yatai Bayashi” Skill level: Beginner/Intermediate • P

Stemming from the festival music known as “Chichibu Yatai Bayashi”, the heavily modified staged-arrangement, known as “Yatai Bayashi”, was created by Eitetsu Hayashi along with other members of the legendary taiko group Ondekoza in the early 1970s, quickly becoming a signature work of both it and its divergent group, Kodo.

Through clear instruction of kata, main and supporting rhythms, and choreography (including analytical break down of effective and ineffective methodology including similarities and differences between “Yatai Bayashi” technique as compared to other taiko styles), as well as the physicality and fundamental techniques utilized when performing “Yatai Bayashi”. Through drills and games, participants will also experience how “Yatai Bayashi” operates and demands action and reaction at both the individual and group level.


Group affiliation: Taiko Center of the Pacific

The Beat, Soloing, and ImprovisationSkill level: ALL•P

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.


Group affiliation: LA Taiko Institute

Lessons from the Los Angeles Taiko Institute (LATI) 2013-2016 • D

Fellow teachers of taiko! Learn the most useful pedagogical techniques developed over the course of more than 4000 classes at Los Angeles Taiko Institute since its inception in 2013. Participants experience the techniques directly, serving as students through a variety of learning exercises. The material is drawn from the “Taiko Teaching Tips” developed by Yuta Kato, David Wells, Yuri Yoshida, and other Institute staff, and covers both logistical and musical topics to help students learn quickly and have fun.


Group affiliation: TAIKOPROJECT – On Ensemble

Odaiko PhrasingSkill level: Intermediate• P

Odaiko Phrasing will focus on basics and then learning some patterns to help with phrasing. The patterns will focus on both punctuation and building  confidence.


Group affiliation: Soloist

ChappaSkill level: ALL• P

Chappa, Japanese hand-cymbals, are simple but highly expressive little instruments that can add tremendous color and dynamic potential to any type of ensemble or solo performance. The chappa workshop provides some intensive, hands-on experience with these instruments. Participants will be coached in chappa playing technique, including an overview of the basics, such as care of the chappa, grip, sound production, and simple accompaniment patterns, while more advanced concepts such as effects, dynamics, compound rhythms and improvisation will be introduced gradually to help expand each player’s skill level. Participants are encouraged to bring earplugs.


Group affiliation: On Ensemble

3 Levels of Understanding • Skill level: Beginner• P

This workshop is based on a few simple patterns that are taught in the first 10 minutes of the workshop. Instead of adding new part we instead deep our understanding of these few simple parts.

First part of the workshop consists of getting to Level 1 understanding which is defined as: the ability to play your part without making mistakes. At Level 1 we focus on the use of kuchishoga and other techniques we can use to internalize our parts.

Second part of the workshop we get to Level 2 understanding: the ability to understand the underlying pulse how your part fits with that pulse and contribute to the strength of the group’s groove. In order to practice this we relearn the parts with being able to count the pulse as we play the parts.

The final part of the workshop we get to Level 3 understanding which is defined as: the ability to understand how your part fits in with a larger whole and the ability to play with heightened sensitivity and listening abilities. In order to practice getting to Level 3 we relearn our parts by being able to say our part while playing another groups part. In this way we are able to really understand how the different components fit together. We then practice in groups playing our parts while saying another group’s parts while the other groups do the same.

By the end of the workshop it is very clear to all the participants how much better they are play together as an ensemble and everybody has accomplished something that was at one point very difficult for them.


Group affiliation: San Francisco Taiko Dojo

Base and Grace: Power in Stance • Skill Level: Intermediate / Advanced • P

This workshop will train in how a performer will make a presence on the stage through correct stance, good bodywork, quality of sound production, and a solid finishing pose. By connecting a balance between heaven and earth in one form the taiko’s art form can showcase the strength of grace. Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka will also review Ji-kata (base beat rhythms) that are synonymous with core aspects of Japanese music with proper terms and definitions. By understanding the roots that carry Kumi Daiko’s music to the 21 century. Tanaka sensei will train in how to produce these rhythms with quality and exacting touch. Tanaka Sensei will share his 50 years of experience with a short Q/A at the end of each workshop

Coming soon


Group affiliation: Soloist

Refining Shinobue Technique  • Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced Fue players• P

Focus on breathing exercises and producing a clear sound in Shogo’s shinobue workshop. Tips will be shared on achieving better posture and how shinobue can complement and command a performance. Participants are advised to bring their own #6 fue.


Group affiliation: San Jose Taiko

Women in Taiko • D

This session will celebrate the history of female involvement within the taiko community, and discuss the direction of growth, recognition, and empowerment of female taiko players into the future. Moderated panel discussion will transition to small group breakouts and general Q&A. Open to all.


Group affiliation: Navy Yard Taiko

Isamigoma-Tonbane Daiko • Skill level: ALL • P

Isamigoma-Tonbane is one of the classic pieces in the Osuwa Daiko repertoire composed by Master Daihachi Oguchi. He created Tonbane Daiko, based on Isamigoma for children and adults to play together, so whole families could experience the joy of playing Taiko. Course Outline: Isamigoma and Tonbane parts will be taught through kuchi-shoga first, with particular attention to go through Tonbane movements step by step. Fue players who attend the workshop will have an opportunity to learn the melodic phrase and fingering for this piece. The culmination of the workshop will be to have all the participants play these classic Osuwa Daiko pieces together.


Group affiliation: San Jose Taiko

Putting Brains in Your Feet: Naname EditionSkill level: Beginner/Intermediate • P

Do you watch other players move around the drums and wish you knew how to look relaxed and fluid but also play with power at the same time? This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of San Jose Taiko’s style of kata, which is based on lower-body engagement and movement. We’ll find more power and fluidity by helping to you to use your entire body to play taiko. We’ll create a connection between your feet and fingertips while at the same time giving you options for spicing up your movement repertoire!