Monday, May 13, 2013

You have it easy.

There are a lot of taiko groups struggling out there, for space, for time, for recognition, for resources, for members…for pretty much everything.

But you know what?  They have it easy.  You have it easy.  *I* have it easy.

Let me clarify, before anyone punches the screen.  We all have it EASIER.

Every group is going to have some issues, some more painful than others.  But if you look at what’s available to the taiko community as a whole, we’re really fortunate these days.

There’s the semi-annual North American Taiko Conference which provides workshops and networking that would never be available to most of the participants otherwise.  There are several regional conferences that do much the same thing on a smaller scale.  There are more opportunities to do taiko as a career, whether performing or teaching.  There are more drum manufacturers across the country (and other countries) than ever.  More groups keep popping up/branching off and that leads to more people knowing what taiko is and having access to it.  There’s a Facebook group for taiko with discussions and resources added all the time.  There’s a ton of resources online from how to build your own drum to Youtube videos of performances to dissertations on taiko to tall White guys posting random things about taiko twice a week *cough*.

Just imagine what it took to start your own taiko group 30 years ago compared to today – realize that email was just becoming popular then (~1993).  You had to call, hand-write, and go meet people you wanted to talk to, IF you could find out who they were!

Sure, you could argue some of the above might also be negatives, like an inundation of taiko groups making it hard to stand out or conferences not being affordable to some, etc.  Sure.  You can also point to things in your own group making it really hard to stay afloat.  But we as a taiko community have it so much easier than the ones who started it all, in Japan, the Americas, Europe, everywhere.

So the next time you zip up your bachi bag, pull out your chappa that you got from online, tie shime that you got from a conference and learned to tighten from the internet, play a song that your group has been playing since the beginning, watch your taiko DVDs, or even bow into your rehearsal space, just give a bit of thought to how much was done to make those things available, to get to where we are now – to where YOU are now.

While it's not easy to know everyone who did everything to make it happen, when you find out who they are, thank them.

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