LATI Introduction

The Los Angeles Taiko Institute (LATI) is a dedicated taiko (Japanese drumming) school in Torrance, CA offering 12-week courses, drop-in classes, multi-day intensives, and one-time workshops on a variety of taiko topics.

The "Learn-Taiko!" link above provides the full list of classes at the Institute!

LATI is housed at Asano Taiko U.S. a full-service taiko maker offering exquisite Japanese drums and accessories, as well as on-site taiko repair and reskinning.

Joe Small seeking taiko collaborators

LATI friend and taiko colleague, Joe Small, is seeking taiko players to join in the development and presentation of his final MFA thesis at UCLA. Joe spent a number of years studying with Eitetsu Hayashi and is now focusing on choreography. It's an exciting project and a chance to work with dedicated taiko artists. Read on for the details and contact Joe if interested.

CALL FOR TAIKO ARTISTS (or aspiring artists!) in the LA/Southern CA area for CONCERT project with taiko/choreography artist Joe Small

Omiyage Class Week 11 Student Perspective

This is the last week of coaching with Jen and final practice before PEAC Week. It was one of the most fun and tiring practices yet! At the beginning, we circled up and Jen explained the format of the evaluations including what to expect and how we will be tested next week. Then we went right into reviewing and playing different sections, particularly the most difficult and tricky parts. At this time, we were also able to ask Jen questions about parts where we had confusion and go over specific details.

Stanford Taiko intensive wrapup

What an amazing week with an amazing group of taiko players! Thank you to the fourteen members of Stanford Taiko who spent a taiko-filled week with us, studying naname, small-drum, hachijo, and odaiko forms. In addition to four hours of instruction each day, the group rented rehearsal space for practice and arranged get-togethers with local groups. Everyone in LA who had the chance to spend time with Stanford Taiko was glad they visited!

March Madness Matsuri Crashers battle wrapup

Wow, what an event! Thanks to Jason Osajima for arranging and hosting the event, Mike Hirota for co-emceeing, Kim Nakashima and Ayano Ogura for photo and video support, and Asano Taiko US for donation of the facility and the equipment. More than 50 performers participated and we raised over $700 for the 2014 Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational. Yahoo!

Click "Read more" for videos of each of the battles, thanks to Kim's hard work!

Stanford Taiko Intensive: Day 5

After a very full week, we wrapped up today with a final recital incorporating everything we’ve covered: Matsuri solos, a group small drum jam, Hachijo, and odaiko. We also followed up the diagnostic videos from Monday with ending point videos, and in both cases, it was really remarkable to see how far everyone has come in just five days. Given that the group came with relatively little experience overall, we very much appreciated the exposure to a wide range of styles and surfaces.

Stanford Taiko Intensive: Day 4

Today’s workshops were on improvisation and timing. With a total of sixteen people, we were able to lay down a base beat with one person playing on each sixteenth note in a four-bar phrase – 1eau2eau3eau4eau. We all found sounds unique to our own particular instruments, and this “R2-ji-2” served as the foundation for the entire improvisation workshop. After practicing the pattern for a while and becoming comfortable with placing our particular beats, Kris slowly built up tools for us to improvise over the base beat.

Stanford Taiko Intensive: Day 3

Kris led today’s workshops on choreography, composition, and small drum fundamentals, focusing as much on learning how to self-diagnose problems as on the techniques themselves. If yesterday was about learning how to sculpt an elephant, today was about learning how to fish; understanding how to teach ourselves took precedence over the underlying drills. This self-awareness is particularly valuable given that we are a collegiate group with no designated leader, so every member is very much responsible for their own improvement.

Stanford Taiko Intensive: Day 2

Hachijo and odaiko with Yuta today! Yuta began with an introduction of the history and context of Hachijo, explaining his own path to studying this particular style. To give a brief summary, he talked about how Hachijo is rooted in the fact that anyone can play, not just young men, hence its prevalence in bars, hotels, and other public areas so everyone can share the joy of playing. On Hachijo Island, however, locals are generally eager to leave as soon as they can, with the attraction of pop culture and foreign customs outweighing that of folk customs and tradition.

Stanford Taiko Intensive: Day 1

After much anticipation, we finally arrived today! Yuta and Kris started the morning with a quick tour of Asano Taiko US as well as recording some diagnostic videos of both naname technique and small drum rhythmic dexterity. We then spent several hours isolating fundamentals, with Kris choosing one individual to be the "keeper" of a particular point. That is, one person will become the master of the ideal grip, another focuses primarily on the angle of the elbow approaching the drum, and so on.

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