Friday, October 9, 2009

Master Class with Tanaka Sensei

Back in August, I had the opportunity to take Tanaka Sensei's Master Class. This was my first time to really have the chance to talk with him, and despite everyone's warnings of his strict demeanor, he was quite relaxed and humorous.

The class began with a 20-minute standing meditation outside in the garden, facing the sun to clear our minds and prepare our bodies for the practice of taiko. After sharing a few useful drills with us, he called 4 of his students up to demonstrate a group drill.

Without any explanation, he asked for 4 volunteers to complete the same drill on their own. A lot of people picked up on the patterns fine, but there were timing issues and we can't all do a new drill perfectly the first time, certainly. All of this proved his point: It's important to communicate with others while you're playing. Even if you've never played with someone before, look at them, listen to them, make eye contact with them, play together.

Here's a video of the drill and Tanaka Sensei's comments (and a little improv!)afterwards.

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