Friday, June 19, 2009


Hi there! Thanks for coming back.

Just a quick note that I hope to continue posting as my living situation is in a bit of a limbo, but thanks for your understanding in advance if I have to skip a week or post late. I know I need to get these drills organized in a way that you can find the ones you like, but it'll have to wait a couple months--sorry!

Alright, we've got a couple weeks left of basic katsugi information, and then it's on to taiko set basics, as requested by Joy. I really like practicing taiko set, so I'm excited for that. As always, I take requests, so drop me a comment!

Focus: Balance, Form
Watch For:
1. Make sure the higher pitch of your drum is at the front when you play. When you switch to lateral form, this becomes the right side. (NOTE: in the videos, my drum is unfortunately the wrong direction)
2. If you have a mirror, it's really helpful when first starting to play katsugi. Because our weight is centered, but feet uneven, it's common to think shoulders and body are leveled when they're not. Check this.

Okay, we'll start with the pattern today. It's one you've heard before, but I hope you never get sick of: don tsu ku.

When we practiced don tsu ku for shime daiko the pattern was:


When you play don tsu ku on lateral kastugi, alternate hands like this:


In addition, every left hand hit will alterate sides of the drum. I love how this pattern sounds on the drum because there's a tonal pattern, too. One of my favorite things to do on a Friday afternoon is play don tsu ku on lateral katsugi until I hit a sort of mental peace, and playing the pattern becomes part of my being at that moment.

Anyway, here's an example:

Listen to your tone. If you don't hear a repeated pattern, then perhaps you're not hitting the center of the drum. Take a moment, slow it down until your form and tone are consistent.


Try playing 8 don tsu ku while walking with your drum (RRL RRL x4), then stop walking, switch your stance to lateral and play 8 don tsu ku (RLR LRL x4).

It takes some practice to get the timing right and to keep the drum from bouncing around. You'll notice that you need to initiate the change in stance while simultaneously finishing up the final don tsu ku.

Questions? Email me or comment!

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