Thursday, September 22, 2016


I write about being tall in taiko.  There's one post here and another here.

However, it's not just that you have to adjust to things if you're tall.  Regardless of your height, you have to be aware of how your size affects all aspects of your playing...

Most groups use the same bachi for shime.  If they're on the longer side, it's going to be harder for a shorter person to control.  In this case, they might need to choke up more.  If they're on the shorter side, it's going to be harder for a taller person to get good leverage and they might need to have a reverse choke where the butt of the bachi sits in the palm of the hand.

If you play on an upright drum, tachi-uchi, then your height affects your default angle of strike.  A shorter person might have to strike horizontally whereas a taller person can strike at a downward angle.  A shorter person on shime might have to take a more upright stance while a taller person might have to get lower to make the striking technique a clean one.  These can change everything from how the hara is used to where tension occurs.

A taller person on a betta drum doesn't need to use a lot of strength to make a solid strike, whereas a shorter person might need to add a little bit extra whip to match that sound.  A shorter person making an arm circle will look quicker than a taller person right next to them making that exact same circle.  A smaller person jumping several feet in the air can look impressive, while that same distance jumped by a taller person looks lazy.  The distance has to be relative, not equal.

There are other things that height can or should affect: how a person dances/moves their feet, appropriate bachi length for personal use, foot placement after a turn or spin in a song, etc.

But the most important thing, as I say in post after post after post, is to be aware of these things.  Maybe you're on the taller or shorter ends of the spectrum and you know some of this stuff is a factor, but what else is?  Maybe you're more in the middle of the spectrum, but did you know this stuff affects people outside of the "normal" range?  If you're ever teaching people of outlier height, how do you take these (and other) factors into consideration?

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