Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taiko Drill Part 51, Paradiddles Revisited

Hi! My friends from Shippu Uchi Daiko in Japan have returned home, but we had a great time together in Seattle teaching a taiko piece called Yui to Seattle Kokon Taiko. I'm still teaching through the weekend, and then I'm back to the east coast.

One thing I've not really talked about much here is improvisation. Last week I gave you a drill to improvise emphasis with, and next week I'll talk specifically about some things to think about if you're uncomfortable improvising. But, partly due to my lack of time this week, today we'll revisit paradiddles in preparation for improvisation next week.

Focus: Grip, Form
Watch For:
1. Take a few moments to check your grip for small drums.
2. The down beat is not always the beat that's emphasized--keep track of it!

Okay, so back in drill 9 we talked about paradiddles, which is a basic straight beat that alternates sticking--RLRR LRLL. I suggested that you can use them to practice improvisation, but we didn't go into how to really do that.

If you're new to improvisation or don't quite feel comfortable with it, don't fret. It takes guts to just try it, knowing you'll mess up, but it's the only way to get better at it. Please review Drill 9 to refresh the version of paradiddles I taught. And we'll move forward step-by-step from next week to add improvisation.

For fun, here's an example of members from Shippu Uchi Daiko who were here from Japan improvising on top of paradiddles played by Seattle Kokon Taiko:

See you next week!


  1. A handy hint on playing paradiddles with accuracy and fluidity
    is to say out loud “Pa-ra-did-dle, pa-ra-did-dle” as you play.
    This verbalisation will help keep your timing and perception of
    the pulse under control.

    paradiddle book
    paradiddle exercises


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