Asano Taiko Spring Recital - Part 2 (and taiko in Michigan survey)

Let me start by thanking all the people that have responded to our "Taiko in Michigan" survey. The responses so far have been very helpful and very encouraging. If you haven't taken our survey and wouldn't mind giving your opinion on some of our ideas, we would be thrilled if you would follow the link above, or the one right here: Click here to take survey The questions are short and easy. The whole process shouldn't take you more than 1 or 2 minutes. Thanks again for your troubles.

Now, just a few more thoughts about our performance/recital a couple weeks ago. I was actually quite worried about a couple of the pieces because I knew they weren't ready. One, we knew pretty well, but it was just missing that certain something. The other, we had just barely memorized in time and if the littlest thing had gone wrong, it could have been a complete disaster. Luckily, we got through it without any major disasters and the audience seemed to be pleased. I could recognize this from their applause, and I also was told by several people afterwards that they enjoyed our performance.

This reminded me of something that Jige san of Hono Taiko told us last May after Yume Mitai (one of Asano's amateur groups) had performed as a guest at a major concert, featuring famous taiko players from all over Japan. After we had finished the concert and finished putting all the taiko away, she told us: "Good job, everyone. For many of you, this was a step along the road to becoming a professional. Part of being a professional is taking money from your guests and sending them home happy."

Of course, this most recent concert was a recital and there was no admission charge, but you still want to send the guests home happy, so they don't feel like they wasted a complete afternoon. And it seems that we were able to do that. Even though we were not satisfied with our own performance, the audience was. I guess performers need to have a type of double standard. On a personal level, if you are really striving to be the best, you'll probably never be really satisfied with your performance. There is always something to improve, or something you could have done better. On the other hand, if you wait until you feel that your performance is "perfect", many of us would probably never make it out on the stage for a performance.

I guess what I'm saying is that if your audience goes home happy (whether you charged them money or not), then you can feel that your performance was a success. At the same time, you are likely aware of areas you want to improve at will continually strive to make better.

After all, performing is a form of practice as well. There are certain aspects of performing that you cannot replicate while you're practicing. A couple months ago we went to talk with Mr. Asano about our plans for taiko in Michigan. One of his pieces of advice sticks out in my mind. He said, "We have to get you guys performing more. One performance is worth 100 practices."

I guess that's it for my thoughts on the Asano 2009 Spring Recital. Thanks for reading and please don't forget to take our survey. One last time, the link: Click here to take survey


Anonymous said...

I had my first performance a couple weeks ago. One of my senseis said, "If you drop a note, nobody in the audience will even realize it". (Yeah, but if I drop a bachi, they probably will!)

Raion Taiko said...

Hmm, yes. Most people won't notice a dropped note, and even a dropped bachi is not such a big deal. When I went to see Yamato in January I think bachi went flying at least three times. That, however, was a result of a bachi breaking, not being dropped, but it pretty much looks the same to the audience. The Yamato members are so good at grabbing their spare bachi when one breaks, that you really have to be watching closely to notice that something even happened.

I suppose your sensei was probably trying to encourage you to relax, hopefully not as an excuse for not learning the music well.

Anonymous said...

Oh, for certain. They know I know the music, but had simply never seen me on stage.

I think I could continue OK after a dropped bachi, but I'm not yet at the point where I could hide it from the audience. :-)

Raion Taiko said...

And I guess that just comes from concert experience. If you never drop a stick during a performance, you never get a chance to practice dealing with it. Here's to hoping you have many more performances...

Anonymous said...

Three Earth Celebrations ago, I was performing with my taiko group and we did this really complicated song that involved 1 odaiko solo, and 2 shime solo. I was one of the shime soloist.
What do you know I dropped my bacchi right as I was doing my solo. It was quite comical, I missed 1 note because that bacchi had to be picked up for me to continue my solo. All the while I kept on thinking to myself, "Crap crap crap, what did you do now, messing up the whole composition!" But continued on anyway, as otherwise the song will never end.
When I saw the video from the performance afterwards, I suddenly realized that we players are often a lot harder on ourselves than necessary. The entire incident only created 1 note casualty and it all worked out in the end. We aren't robots after all, mistakes are bound to be made and it makes the performance even more interesting. That was when I learnt the importance of keeping composure in the moment of panic. :)

Raion Taiko said...

I agree, keeping your compusure is part of the trick for hiding your mistakes. You may make a mistake, but if your face and body language do not let on that something went wrong, most of the audience won't notice either. Yamada-sensei is always telling us, "Don't make funny faces or grimaces when you miss notes or make mistakes even when you're practicing. It will become a habit and you'll do it during performances. Then it's obvious that you've screwed up." You might drop your bachi, or it might break during the performance; the trick is to pick it up or grab your spare and continue playing as if nothing happened.

Still, learning the music well and sufficient practice is also important in reducing the amount of dropped sticks or missed notes.