Taiko Japan’s Number One Energy Export by Marc Steuben

This article appears here with the permission of Marc Steuben and explains how Taiko was born as we know it today and how Taiko came to the United States.

I have taken several lessons from Marc now and the more I get to know him the more fascinating and complex I find him.  Look forward to reading about his other talents and endeavors here soon.

He remains a patient and encouraging teacher even though I have two left hands when it comes to drumming!

Marc_Steuben_Taiko_article1

Marc_Steuben_Taiko_article2

Marc_Steuben_Taiko_article3

Taiko Lessons 1 and 2

I have had my first two lessons on Taiko drumming!  I really am having fun!!

I had hoped to share with you detailed information on Taiko drums but it is turning out to be much more complicated than I anticipated.

There seems to be a billion types of drums and since I don’t speak Japanese trying to keep the names and descriptions straight is beyond this new student.

During practice and performance there are many different sized drums in use with the many drums providing different pitches to astound the senses.  Probably the most well-known drum in any Taiko ensemble would be the ōdaiko, the largest drum on the stage.

Bachi is the term for the drum sticks used.  Right now I am using a very light weight set of bachi.  Taiko drumming is quite a work out.  The stance is a wide legged stance with a slight bend to the knees requiring good balance so you can move in and out from the drum.  (I made the mistake of wearing sandals for lesson 2 and my feet were not happy.)  The wrists, forearms, upper arms and shoulders are all used and depending on the strokes and rhythms you are undertaking the workout can be intense.  A strong core is essential.  I am grateful for the light weight bachi!

Thank you Marc Steuben for your continued patience!

Taiko

Taiko means drum in Japanese.

In ancient Japan the drum was played to drive away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops and then in thanks for a successful crop.

Drums were used in warfare to inspire troops, and as a kind of a code to transmit orders or messages. In battle, the drummer was an important part of keeping the troops advised and enthused.

Learning Taiko has proved to be a mental and physical challenge and workout.  Your whole body becomes involved and finding the balance and coordination and concentration is an interesting test of blending all these elements together.

I have taken 2 classes now with Marc Steuben who is a member of Taiko with Toni – Toni is the leader of the parent taiko group..  I find him very encouraging, he really likes to have fun!  Although I am certain I am a klutz he is supportive and diplomatic in his corrections.

If you are interested in Taiko classes please contact him at marc@marcsteuben.com

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  The group is Taiko with Toni and regularly performs and upcoming performances will be posted here also!