Thursday, November 26, 2015



If you're playing really loudly but aren't matching the volume with your ki, is that fair?  If you're playing really quietly but aren't just as focused, is that fair?  Fair to who?  The taiko!

I want you to think about the bond between the player and the taiko.  Without the other, what do you have?  An inanimate object.  Someone with a pair of sticks.  You need both to make the taiko come alive - the animator and the medium.

We express ourselves when we play taiko; our true selves come out.  But what I've found after years of watching concerts and festivals and workshops and jams is that some people "hide" behind the drum.  Not hide literally, but it's like the wall of noise they create by hitting the taiko feels like "enough" and they don't match the output in terms of spirit.  You can fool the ears, but you can't fool the eyes when you do this.

It can be as simple as projecting more when you kiai, or much more fundamental in terms of confidence or stage fright.

This sort of thing can happen in solos, where a subdued personality plays loud notes.  It's like using plain white bread to serve up the best, tastiest sandwich fillings.  It feels...lacking?  Matching the bread to the filling seems the best course.

Another way to think of this is trying to sing a song but keeping the mouth somewhat closed.  You can be heard, even understood, but the impact and quality of the music is dampened.  Open you mouth to sing and you can make something pleasant become something wonderful.

So make a deal with the taiko when you play it.  Don't hide your spirit behind the sound you produce.  Don't make the taiko do "all the work".  DO put your intention, your ki into the drum when you play.  It might mean putting yourself more out there, but even if that's uncomfortable at first, don't you think you owe it to the taiko?

If you treat the taiko like a partner rather than an object, you'll find you're more likely to match its output with your own!

No comments:

Post a Comment