Omiyage Class Week 5 & 6 - Student Perspective

The fifth week of Omiyage class began with a warmup of the basic strikes while utilizing movement through kata and the rubberband-like tension built between the player and bachi. Yuta was able to focus on everyone’s basic strike and help them concentrate on form, refining each person’s bachi, arm, and body movements. Next, Yuta taught the “River” section, or a part that is heavily reliant on timing, playing together, and utilizing movements to begin and end in specific timing to create a cascading effect. This was a challenging section because we had to count our parts while making sure movements began and ended on specific beats.

Omiyage week 6 began with the same warmup as last week. I learned that my left arm needs to use more of a “pull” when preparing for the hit. When I looked at myself in the mirror after following Yuta’s advice, I could see the difference in my hits. It fit more with the theme of creating tension between drum and body movements to be expressed in the piece. Yuta also revisited one section and showed us the chu/shime relationship in the sound. This part has very large movements filled with “ma”, so it is easy to miss the beat. But when we learned how these hits fit into the shime/okedo rhythm, I gained a new perspective of how to play more precisely and be mindful of all the parts, not just the one I’m playing.

Yuta led the class in creating a cheat sheet for the different parts of the piece. We came up with names or memorable beats to different parts of the piece, like “Hey Asa!” and “sudonga dokodoko” to help us remember the order and what to play. Next we were able to request different sections that classmates found confusing and needed clarification to work on with instruction and feedback from Yuta. It was really good practice and seemed like everyone in the class wanted similar sections to review. Class concluded with learning the final section. It felt awesome to complete learning the piece!