I love sharing taiko. In particular, I love sharing taiko with kids who most likely otherwise would have little or no connection to Japanese culture. All it takes is one experience to get a child interested in thinking about other parts of the world, which can bring about an open mind and an awareness of the endless possibilities for their future.
I had the privilege the last few months of working with the dedicated scholars at the Higher Achievement Program, a non-profit located in Washington DC dedicated to developing "academic skills, behaviors, and attitudes in academically motivated and under-served middle school children." On November 4, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama presented Higher Achievement with the Coming Up Taller Award, the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school time organizations providing humanities and arts programming to children with great potential but limited outlets for creative expression.
While most of the program is academic-focused, I was one of two elective teachers at Ward 6 brought in to work with the scholars 3 times a week. While it was just a short time we had together, it was so amazing to watch their thirst for information on taiko, Japan, and Japanese just grow and grow. My students took our time together seriously (as you can see on their faces in the video :) ), and strove to do well. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity with them and so very proud of their performance.
The show started with a skit (written by Victoria Der), but you can't really hear that part clearly. I suggest you begin the video at about 1:54 and Matsuri will start soon after.