The Asano Taiko Family and enjoy

Now that my schedule has settled down a little bit, I will try to make more frequent entries. In the last two weeks, or so, I've actually had quite a bit to say, but haven't had the time to write it down.

About two weeks ago, we attended Hono Taiko's concert in Kanazawa. I don't think that I have ever seen them "in concert". I've seen them many times at various events, but they were always there as part of some bigger event. So this was the first time that I saw just them. It quite enjoyable and made me think about many things. One aspect of the concert in particular which I paid close attention to was how they constructed their pieces. They are only three people, so it limits them somewhat as to how many parts their songs can have. At this point, my wife and I are only two people, so we also, are limited in what we can do, when we try to create songs. One thing I noticed was that most songs involved a kumi-taiko set up. This means that one person is surrounded by maybe three to five drums. It is basically a taiko drum set, I guess. This allows the song to have a little more variety in the parts.

My wife was commenting on how Hono Taiko is rather like Kanazawa's "Home Team" taiko group. Everyone in this area knows them, and likes them. It provides them a nice atmosphere to "work" in, and they have a lot of support and help. In fact, I am guessing that most of the people who attended the concert actually were acquainted with at least one of the three members. The interactions with the audience were very friendly and even included some personal greetings from the members. It was a very relaxed atmosphere. It seems Asano Taiko (which sponsors Hono Taiko, and the other two groups in which I am playing) is rather like a big family. At the concert, I saw almost every member of the two groups I am in either working at the concert, or attending the concert.

Sorry if this is a bit rambling. I had a lot to say right after seeing the concert, but it seems that I have forgotten what it was.

There are a couple other news items to add, but I'll save them for another time. For now, I'll just mention that our recital for the Kaga Taiko class is on Sunday and we had our final practice last night. There are nine students and at last night's practice we got to each perform our own improvisations twice. The first time was sort of practice, and Matsuya sensei (our instructor) gave advice and suggestions. The second time was rather like a dress rehearsal, and we ran through everything without stopping in program order. One of the comments that almost everyone had during our first run through, was to smile more. If you have been reading along with me, you may remember that I said Kaga style taiko is supposed to be relaxed and fun. Most of the nine of us don't have much experience with this style, so we probably all look like we're concentrating very hard on remember the correct rhythms and not making mistakes. Matsuya sensei said that many of us even looked scary. So for my second run through, I decided to not worry about anything and enjoy myself, have a good time. (This is what I have been telling my students at every speech and drama contest we have had, and so far the results have been good.) I think it worked for me. I smiled, and enjoyed playing the taiko. I am certain I made more mistakes than usual, but when I finished, I noticed the applause of my classmates was noticeably louder than it had been previously. I was even praised by the teacher. Perhaps I did make more mistakes than usual, but I think I played better than usual. Of course, playing well and accurately is important, and if you play too poorly, your audience will probably not enjoy themselves, but also, if you are too serious, your audience will also probably not enjoy themselves. If the performer is obviously worried about making mistakes, the audience will not be able to relax either. They will be on the edge of their seats wondering if the performer will make it through without screwing up. Even if he makes it through without mistakes, the audience is probably relieved when he finishes, instead of wishing they could hear more. Anyhow, lets enjoy playing taiko together! (heh heh heh).

As I said, the recital is on Sunday. Hopefully I'll have video to post of my performance, and Mayumi's (who is better than me, in my opinion).

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