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. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there has been as much emphasis on learning how to practice as learning the styles themselves, so now that we have built a foundation, the group is very excited to continue moving forward. In terms of long-lasting effects, we will be adjusting our kata – working to engage the lower body more, for example, varying methods of practice using drills from the week, and generally cultivating a greater appreciation and respect for the art form. The last point has been particularly emphasized by experiences such as seeing Kris exploring and revering all of the unique sounds from a given instrument, listening to Yuta passionately sharing what Hachijo means to him, and watching Toshi Kato craft a drum with incredible care. It has been a real privilege to work with such teachers in such a space; the stunned realization that we’re playing an excerpt from Squarepusher or the sheer power of fourteen people playing odaiko in the same room is not easily forgotten. Yuta and Kris have both been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge – in workshops, certainly, but also during lunch breaks and generally any time someone had a question, no matter how inconsequential. Thank you Kris and Yuta, Toshi Kato, Katsuji and Julia Asano (and Miyori!) for being such warm, thoughtful hosts. We look forward to coming back to LATI and Asano Taiko US soon!