Saturday, August 1, 2009

Taiko Drill Part 44, DON TSU KU (taiko set)

Hey there! One of these days I'm going to get all these posts organized, but it's a bit too busy right now. I'm leaving for Summer Taiko Institute in LA with On Ensemble in just 2 days and am looking forward to some new challenges to mind, body, and rhythm!

In the meantime, today's drill is quite simple. Hopefully you've gotten a sense of how to move smoothly back and forth between drums at a moderate pace. Here's another pattern to practice just that.

Focus: Form, Timing
Watch For:
1. Be sure to use a metronome to practice this drill. This helps tremendously with timing. Always work at a comfortable speed where you can keep the pace steady. Need a metronome? Check out my brief intro to my newest Dr. Beat.

2. Keep control from your core!

Today's pattern is 3 don tsuku, followed by do ko do ko. This basic pattern is looped. Aim for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

The initial "don" is played on your high-pitched drum, to your right. The following "tsu ku" and next 2 "don tsu kus" are on the lower-pitched drum, to your left. The initial "do ko" is played on the left drum, and the second is played on the right drum.

Check out the video for an example (I can't view the video at the moment, so I hope the above explanation is correct!):

I'll be playing next week by ear since I'll be in in LA all week for STI and NATC. I'm really looking forward to hitting a drum right now!

Anyone out there going to NATC??


  1. Hi Carrie:
    I posted to you once before (I'm the taiko novice in Kanagawa Prefecture). I just wanted to tell you that your site is a gold mine of information. I hope someday you will publish a book & DVD filled with practice drills.

    I've been so busy that I have not been keeping current with your site and am just now reviewing posts from recent months. Your May detour into "katsugi" (I guess that is the term for the drum carried on a strap) was interesting, but I am so glad that you returned to what you call the "taiko set". I have a nagadou & shime, so drills for those are what I am personally interested in.

    Are you going to the "8th Tokyo International Taiko Contest" on August 29 & 30? I will be in the audience. It will be the first time I have attended such an event.

    I'm leaving Japan in a few months. Any suggestions of dvds or other materials I might buy before I leave? I'm interested in sponsoring a recreational taiko group for women or adults over 55 when I return to the States. (I say "sponsor" because I don't have the musical skill to actually facilitate a group on my own.)

  2. Thanks so much for your kinds words! I'm really glad that you're finding useful information here. It's so helpful for me, as well, to receive your specific feedback about what was useful to you and what wasn't.

    I, myself, have left Japan--just one month ago. So, unfortunately, I will not be at the taiko contest in Tokyo this summer. Let me know how it is!

    I don't know if you speak Japanese or not, but there are very few DVDs available in English. If Japanese is okay, I recommend you browse through the Taiko Center website. You can also check out a couple of my more recent postings here on ATT called, "Kris' 30 Days to Better Shime" and "Taiko Teaching Materials" for some other resource ideas.

    When you leave Japan, are you moving to the US? Let me know where you'll be and I'll see what I can dig up in terms of resources for the specific area. Good luck to you!

  3. Thanks for your reply Carrie. I will definitely check out Jonathan Kirby's English-language taiko teaching materials as well as Kris Bergstrom's work. I hope your recent departure from Japan doesn't mark the end of "All Things Taiko". I'm also leaving Japan soon. I'll be taking my taikos! and going to Europe for a couple of years before returning to the States. Best wishes in your new home. Your fan from Kanagawa.