Monday, January 25, 2010


What a pain. To practice playing taiko, you have to get to the studio, get out at least one drum if not more, put in at least a good 30 minutes, probably get sweaty (ugh), put all the equipment away, then get back home. That's about 90 minutes wasted!

...please tell me none of you agreed with that? Any of it? Ok, suppose some of you agreed with some of it. It's ok, you're not a bad person, I promise.

There are a lot of problems with that first paragraph...
  • Perception: If playing taiko doesn't give you joy, or at least satisfaction, why are you doing it? Think of all the things you've yet to discover, if you're open to it. You can play whatever you want, take as long as you want to do it, and at your own pace. Also, you should never think of time practicing as time wasted!
  • Location: Taiko doesn't solely exist at the studio. I'm sure most of you know about the tire-wrapped-in-tape substitute, or the upside-down garbage can. There's also conventional drum pads. But think beyond that and realize that even practicing moves in the air or on your lap (or the counter, dashboard, desk, etc.) is still training!
  • Time: Five minutes a day. Can you give yourself that much on the days you don't have taiko practice? For most people, that would be 15-25 minutes of practice a week, about 12-13 hours a year. Imagine if you spent 12 hours tapping on your lap? Aside from sore hands (ha) , you could greatly improve endurance, speed, and control. And that's with only five minutes a day...
  • Situation: In my early taiko days, I listened to taiko CDs and tapes to the point of ridiculousness. That was training! When I was playing along with the soloists of San Jose Taiko, SF Taiko Dojo, Ondekoza, and Kodo, I was effectively learning how to solo like the members of those groups! Also, taiko isn't just taiko - try making non-taiko songs you listen to into taiko. Hear/sing the percussion as kuchishoga, or whatever you want to use. Hear taiko everywhere, not just on the taiko themselves!
I practice taiko several hours each day without even touching a single drum. A lot of that isn't even on purpose but what I've gotten used to doing. My hands tap, my legs twitch, music plays in my head, I translate sounds into taiko - and there's no reason why you can't do all that and more.

Don't wait until you get to the dojo, make your training a part of your life!

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