Thursday, July 30, 2015


photo by Tom Lacoste/
Do "new" or "cool" things influence how you practice taiko?

Say there's a new technology, a new style that's getting spread, or a new group full of talent that's drawing a lot of attention - how likely are you to want to utilize it, incorporate it, or learn from them?

Not to say it's a bad thing to want this, but not to say it's a good thing, either.

If lots of groups are starting to play katsugi okedo, does it make you want to have it in your group, too?  Are you doing it because you want the look or because you want to increase your skill set?  Do you want to get it on stage as soon as possible or are you willing to take the time learning the fundamentals and time practicing them?

Say lots of groups are playing the new open-source song "Happy Fun Song #3" which looks really cool to watch.  Will the fact that "everyone else is playing it" make you want to play it?  Is your group ready for it?  Will it add to the strength of your repertoire or stick out like a sore thumb?  Will it push your members and inspire them to try harder or always be just past the skill level of the members?

Say a popular group is incorporating juggling into some of their songs.  Not just just flipping one bachi, but three or four at a time.  Ooh, is that what you want to add to your repertoire?  Your solos?  Why?  Yes, they make it look really cool, but how does it make your taiko better?

This isn't always cut and dry, no.  Sometimes being inspired by a fad can actually help you become a more skilled player.  You practice, you gain skill, and maybe that skill benefits more than just a single aspect.  That's great!  But sometimes it takes time away from practicing skills that are far more beneficial to you and your group, too.

Inspiration can be hard to find.  When you feel it so strongly, it's great to harness as much as you can.  But since time is a limited resource, sometimes you have to step back and think twice about where "cool" is taking you.

No comments:

Post a Comment