Monday, December 2, 2013

Why get better?

My general theme for this blog is finding ways to help people get better at taiko, whether it be through motivation, examples, drills, or ideas.  But what if you don’t really want to get better?  What If you just want to enjoy playing?

If you’re more into taiko for the social/community aspects, or the musical/physical aspects, or a connection to Japanese culture, etc., more power to you.  As long as you’re enjoying taiko, go for it!

For me, I want to get better.  I need to get better.  And I want other people to get better as well because I think people will enjoy it!  So that’s what I blog about, mostly.

I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who started playing taiko and didn’t want to get better.  That person would probably be in the .01% of taiko players.  When we start, we’re generally pretty awful, haha.  We want to play in time, we want to strike well, we want to last longer than five minutes, we want to move with some semblance of poise.  And so, we practice.

Using a driving metaphor, each one of us starts on a road and sometimes we pull over to stop and rest (other priorities) or admire the view (reflect after a performance).  Many people will then continue on, but not all.  Those who continue on may pull over later, but yet still some never stop driving, always wanting to see new things and have new experiences.  Barring a flat tire (injury) or no car to drive (no group to play with, no drums), most people I think like to keep driving, albeit it at different speeds.  It’s not a race, but most people go the general speed of the convoy (taiko group) they’re in.

Some people will be happy with a short journey but enjoy the company of fellow travelers and the beauty of the places they’ve stopped it.  For me, every year I want to look back and see how much distance I’ve covered, remembering all the destinations I stopped at or passed through.  Part of the fun is in discovering what lies ahead.

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