2009-01-06

How to Practice Shime Taiko

Today I received an email from Maria of Taiko Drum, Tasmania University Union Taiko Society. She had read my previous post about playing Shime Taiko and asked me if I had any exercises that I could recommend. I thought that maybe there are other people out there who would like to know some techniques for practicing shime taiko as well. So here is the main part of my response to her. By the way, I also noticed that "Taiko Drum" has their own blog, so I will put up a link to it in the side bar. But just in case you can't find that, here is the link: Taiko Drum Blog

Anyway, here is one way of practicing shime taiko:

Shime Exercise
1. Use a metronome. Set it between 60 and 70 to beat eighth notes (slower is probably better). If the metronome does not have an eighth note setting, set it around 130 - 140 and just think of the beats as eighth notes.

2. When practicing, always lead with your non-dominant hand, or the weaker hand (left, in my case). I don't even bother using my right hand for this type of practice. I only use my right hand when practicing performance pieces.

3. play through this pattern:
2 measures each

quarter notes (don don don don)
eighth notes (do ko do ko do ko do ko)
sixteenth notes (doko doko doko doko doko doko doko doko)
1 eighth, two sixteenths (don doko don doko don doko don doko)
2 sixteenths, 1 eighth (doko don doko don doko don doko don)
sixteenth, eighth, sixteenth (do don ko do don ko do don ko do don ko)
2 sixteenths, 1 eighth (doko don doko don doko don doko don)
1 eighth, two sixteenths (don doko don doko don doko don doko)
sixteenth notes (doko doko doko doko doko doko doko doko)
eighth notes (do ko do ko do ko do ko)
quarter notes (don don don don)

repeat endlessly.
I hope that this clear to you.
I usually do the above patterns 10 times: 5 times at Mezzo Forte and 5 times at piano/pianissimo

It is important to be able to play quietly and to practice it slowly. If you practice it slowly and quietly, you'll be able to more easily hear where you are speeding up or slowing down. Be especially careful of the "do don ko" pattern. Also, try to keep all the notes at the same volume, make sure you aren't unintentionally placing accents on certain notes (like the down beats, for example).


This is a combination of practice methods I have learned at Asano Taiko, and advice I received from my brother, who is the drummer for Chicago's best band, The Detholz!

6 comments:

Joy said...

Thanks for the great tips on shime playing. It's an instrument that really highlights your every inconsistency and mistake in playing - a strict, unforgiving teacher. My group, Odaiko New England, had a workshop on shime playing with On Ensemble a few weeks ago where we learned a lot. I sent around links to your posts because I think the rest of my group will find them really useful, too.

Raion Taiko said...

I am glad that you found it helpful. I have another shime exercise I've been meaning to post. Based on all the positive response I've been getting from this one, I guess I should hurry up and get it up.

Jim said...

Thanks for the holla, Bube!

Raion Taiko said...

No Prob, Yim. There's more where that came from (coming soon, in fact).

karen said...

Hi, great shimei exercise. Thank you for that. By chance , because I was actually googling this question and got to your site, nice surprise. Who wrote Kizashi? I would like to play this in public but of course need permission first.
Thanks, Karen Zeidan

Great Lakes Taiko Center said...

Hi Karen,
The only Kizashi I know of is played by Yamato, probably written by their leader, Ogawa-san. You would need to get in touch with them.

 
]