Thursday, January 5, 2012

Too late.

One thing that I hear from taiko players a good deal is how they wish they started earlier.

Look at the crop of players coming out of collegiate groups these days - there were maybe three or four college groups when I first started playing taiko! What's more, there are a good number of kids going into those collegiate groups with a lot of experience to begin with.

It's easy to look at the next generation of players and get discouraged. So much youth! So much talent! So much potential! Why even bother playing when they're so much better than you?

Ehhh...not so fast there. That's pretty harsh stuff, but I've heard people vocalize these sorts of worries.

First of all, why would you let someone else's ability affect your own? There are a lot of people that are more talented than me in many areas that I put effort into. Should I stop trying because they're better? Of course not. So why should you?

Second, why would someone's age matter? If someone younger than you with more talent makes you not want to play, what does someone older than you with more talent do to you?  How is that somehow better? I could psychoanalyze that one but it just gets weird.

And third, sure there are a lot of talented kids coming out of the newer generations of taiko players. Do you feel all of them are better than you? Or are you focusing on the ones that catch your attention? There are college taiko players that have their own issues with confidence, ability, etc., similar to other taiko players out there.

What if someone came up to you and said, "sorry, you should have started playing taiko earlier but now you'll have to stop because some of these younger kids are just going to be better than you." How many seconds would you wait until you laughed in their face? It's ridiculous coming from someone else, and it should be ridiculous coming from your inner voice, as well.

Why spend time worrying about the possible potential of other taiko players, most of whom you may never meet? What good does it do you? Go practice!


  1. It's never too late to learn. I saw my first taiko group Ondekoza during the 70s and thought "now that's an example of Japanese soul!" I always had in the back of my mind that it would be fun to learn but never thought that I could do it. Well, fast forward to 2010. I met a taiko drummer at a social function that told me about a taiko class that she was taking in the East Bay and thought to myself "hey this is an opportunity to give it a try." Needless to say, it's become my passion and I love learning all about it. Doesn't matter that I'm not gonna be a performer as long as I enjoy what I'm doing (and meet lots of nice people).

  2. Hey, Adam. I was just looking for contact info for a possible collaboration re: KASA/Mix tours for the upcoming magazine article, but I'm glad I took time to read through some of your recent posts. This one really speaks to me as I didn't take my first taiko workshop until I was well into my 30s. It can be a little frustrating knowing that I'm not going to be as skilled at 50 as I could have been if I'd started when I was six or 16 but that's life. At the same time, I'm grateful just to be able to play taiko. (Everyday is like my birthday, Christmas and April Fool's Day all put together!) What's more, some of the people I'm teaching are in their 60s or 70s and they love that they're learning taiko. It would be, as you've pointed out, ridiculous for someone to say, "Well, you're never going to be as good as so-and-so so you might as well give up."
    I greatly appreciate your perspective on this as it's something I can turn to other pursuits on those rare occasions when self-doubt creeps in. Thanks.

  3. check out this video explaining it all !!