Be sure to stretch shoulders especially since we will be carrying the katsugi okedo for majority of the class. Also stretch your legs because of the amount of standing and bending of the legs.
For our first session we focused mostly on how to tie the strap onto the drum, standing position, and how to strike with both left and right hands.
- How to attach strap to okedo
- First, find the knot where the rope ends on the okedo and have that facing up, that way when we put on the strap we know it will be the part that is pressed up against our body and hidden from the audience. Then take the strings at the ends of the strap and thread them through the rope holes on the okedo drum heads from the outside in and tie a knot or bow depending on how much string is left. The right strap attachment should be 1 or 2 okedo rope holes above the left strap attachment. Once the strap is secured, test out the height of the okedo (should rest on the middle of your left thigh), if you need to adjust the height put the okedo down and adjust string until desire placement is achieved.
- Standing Position
- Our neutral standing position is where the right foot is forward and our left foot is slightly behind and turned out so the arch of our left foot is around 5 inches away from the right foot's heel. Both knees are bent with most of the weight on our back foot. Drum head is facing the audience. Our shoulders are up and not hunched over.
- Basic Striking with Right and Left Hand
- There are many ways to strike the okedo and for this class we will go over a power strike and intricate strike for the right hand. For the power strike we are holding the bachi in a clenched fist making a 90 degree to 100 degree angle with the forearm and bachi. As we extend our arm out in front of us lifting from the should, the arms swings back down and the wrist twists to snap into the drum head. For the wrist snap, think of holding your hand out so the palm is facing the ceiling, then twist the wrist so your palm is facing the ground. Similar to a chu daiko strike, grip tightly at the ring and pinky finger, but also feel the push of the bachi right underneath the forefinger knuckle. If we want to play more intricate and quick patterns we can also switch a shime style grip (front grip) for more control. On the left hand we hold the bachi vertically with the base of the bachi in between the thumb and forefinger, the forefinger and middle finger wrap around the top of the bachi while the ring and pinky rest behind. Similar to a chu daiko strike, our wrist will move like we are shaking hands. To get more power and we prepare the strike the ring finger will extend with the bachi and then as we strike the forefinger and middle finger press down into the drum head. The forearm should be in line with the okedo and try to reach from the shoulder and then pullback from the elbow to snap into the drum. For both hands, try to have the hand stop 3 inches before coming in line with the drum for a clean strike, if we get too flat it might pang or hit the rim of the drum. Also grips can change mid-song, so you might need to adjust your grip depending on the musical situation!
If you have any interest in making your own practice okedo (similar to the one I brought to class) I was able to find directions from TheGenkiSpark a wonderful group from Massachusetts. *If you make one feel free to tag or donate to the group for sharing the info! They have some fun ideas to decorate your very own practice okedo too! I will leave the link here. DIY Practice Okedo Directions!
If you have any questions or need any clarifications feel free to email me or message here! See you on Wednesday!