Friday, July 3, 2009

Taiko Drill Part 40, DOKO on TAIKO SET

Leaving Japan in 2 days! Originally I thought I'd be skipping this week's drill, maybe directing you to Kris Bergstrom's 30 Days to Better Shime lessons as a substitute... But, it got to be Friday and I realized that writing these entries is sort of what makes Friday, well, Friday for me! Glad you're here.

So you don't miss out on Kris though--30 Days to Better Shime is now available in print form! Click here for info. (Apparently, it's been in print form since sometime last year, so I guess I'm a little behind...)

Last week we talked about core and how it's important to be aware of it, and utilize it correctly, when playing taiko. Let's move on from there.

Focus: Form, Timing
Watch For:
1. Try to hit the center of each drum.
2. Initiate movement from your core. The hips and knees will follow.
3. Flexible hips and knees are important. Be sure to stretch and be aware of how your body feels. If you notice anything strange, be sure to stop and check it out.

Today we're going to just play a simple doko doko, switching back and forth between the two drums. Certainly there are different styles and methods for this, so keep that in mind.

Okay, start by putting your high-pitched drum on the right and lower-pitched on the left. The pitch is generally your preference, but if you're using the videos below, it would be helpful to do the same as I did. Check your spacing and stance so that each arm is lifted, elbows out, bachi tips are near the center of each respective drum. Tailbone is slightly tucked and we're ready to go.

With only two drums it should be possible to keep your feet still and stable. Start by turning your hips slightly toward the left drum and play "doko" (RL). As the left hand is coming down to strike "ko", that is when movement to the right drum begins from your core. Your arms will naturally follow and be in place once your hips are facing the right drum. Then, play "doko" (RL) on the right drum.

When moving from the left drum to the right drum, it's possible for them to move separately, with a bit of space created between them. To move from the right drum to the left, the two must move as a unit in order to avoid collision. Essentially, the right arm moves in an arch, up and over. The left arm moves in an upward, diagonal line.

You'll notice in the video below that my description of how to move your arms is best understood by viewing the slower version, while the core initiation is easier to understand as I get faster.

Here's the front:

And the back:

Loop this pattern with your metronome. I didn't touch on bachi height or dynamics, so let's go there next week. Gambarimasu!


Let's change the pattern up a little bit so that you get used to moving at any old time, not just back and forth. Try this:

do ko (Left drum) do ko (Right drum) X3
do ko do ko (Right drum, cresc.)
do ko (Left drum) do ko (Right drum) X3
do ko do ko (Left drum, cresc.)

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