Kaga Taiko Lesson

Did I say the last entry would be "short"? I guess I did. Oh well. I've got to work on being less verbose.

As promised, I will write more about Kaga Taiko today. I'll try not to make it too long. There is a lot I could say (and probably will, eventually) about Kaga Taiko, but this time, I will just try to describe what Kaga Taiko practice is like.

The practice begins at 1:00 on Sunday afternoons, but people kind of show up when they are able to. Some are there right at 1:00, others show up as late at 3:00. If you are there on time, Ichikawa sensei will begin by warming everyone up together. Everyone plays on a nagado taiko, if there are not enough, some people will double up. Ichikawa sensei will play a rhythm used in Kaga Taiko, and then we all imitate it until he says stop. Then he will introduce another, slightly more complicated rhythm and we imitate again until he says stop. Usually, by the end of the warm up he has given us about 5, increaslingly complicated patterns, and then the warming up is finished. It probably took about 15 minutes.

After a short break, he begins teaching. Sometimes he will demonstrate a technique, rhythm or movement used in Kaga Taiko, and then we will each take turns trying it out while he makes corrections. Usually, however, the teaching takes the for of mini private lessons of around 15 to 20 minutes.

You see, when playing Kaga Taiko, there are usually only three people playing at a time. One is playing flute, the other is playing ji-uchi (doko don, doko don...), or "kobachi", as it is called in Kaga Taiko, and the third is playing the solo. Therefore, you cannot have all 10 people or so playing at once, you have to give individual instruction. At Ichikawa Juku the teaching is mainly handled by Ichikawa sensei, and sometimes by the assistant instructor, Chiaki sensei.

After the warm-ups, Ichikawa sensei will choose a student and say, okay, play something. If it is your turn, you come up to the front, play the best Kaga Taiko you can. When you finish your little 2 or 3 minute solo, Ichikawa sensei will instruct you and help you fix some of your mistakes. The better you are, it seems that the stricter he is with his guidance. Since my wife and I are fairly new at this, he is still pretty nice to us, but he warned us that he is going to be stricter if we continue.

Anyway, to give you a feel for the lessons, here is a short video from my wife's lesson last Sunday. The man is Ichikawa sensei and the woman is Chiaki sensei.

The drums are covered to mute the sound a little so as not to disturb the neighbors too much.

Well, again, this is becoming longer than I intended and there is still a lot more to say about Kaga Taiko. So, I'll just have to save it for next time. Until then, enjoy the video, don't forget to give it a rating, leave comments, share it with your friends, etc. and come back soon...


Joy said...

Thanks for the explanation about Kaga Taiko. Now when I watch the video of your Kaga Taiko Recital I feel that I have a much better sense of the intent and the format.

Raion Taiko said...

Glad it is helpful. Hopefully I'll have more video of lessons to post, and be able to explain about Kaga Taiko in more detail.