The time has come for the taiko staple rhythm. You all know it. We all play it. Let's practice and refine it: Don tsu ku!
Focus: Balance, Tempo
1. Pay attention to the tempo when starting with the right hand compared to starting with the left. Is one hand on beat with your metronome and the other not? If there's an imbalance, be sure to practice twice as much with the hand that's having trouble.
2. Watch your wrists! Make sure that they stay relaxed, but don't break the angle. Check out the videos to see what it should look like when the angle between your bachi and the drum is kept consistent.
You're here because you play taiko, so probably you already know how to play Don tsu ku, but bear with my assumption of ignorance here so I can make sure we're all on the same page.
Don tsu ku is a basic rhythm that's very common in taiko songs. The first two beats are played with the Right hand and the third is played by the Left:
RRL, RRL, RRL...
Now, let's talk about rhythm. If you're playing RLRL on an even down beat (1234) and simply skip beat 2, then you've got Don tsu ku:
|1|| 2 ||3||4|
Now, let's play the drill! Start with your Right hand. The final two beats are emphasized and both are played with the Right hand.
By finishing up with the Right hand, this allows you to start the drill again at the beginning with the Left hand. Now we just loop it--15 minutes with your metronome, once a day. If you need more practice with a particular hand, just play the line twice with that hand before switching.
Check out the videos for form:
This first one is slow only.
This one starts slow, repeats at a faster pace, and repeats one more time (almost:)
1. Don tsu ku is a very important rhythm in taiko, something to be practiced daily. The 3 hits should each be played at a different volume: don is the loudest, tsu is the quietest, ku is in the middle and leads into the following don:
don tsu ku don tsu ku don tsu ku don tsu ku
2. Remember that "tsu" is not accomplished by simply dropping the bachi to the head of the drum. "Tsu" is a very intentional, controlled hit. Really engage the 3 fingers under the bachi to snap into the drum.
3. Divide the drum into 3rds again. Play don tsu ku at the 1/3 marks and the final don don is played in the center.
O tsukare sama deshita!