Taiko – the art of living

Taiko, for me, is not merely the art of Japannese drumming. It is also a way of confronting set patterns in my brain. I never really realised how much of a creature of habit I am!

My first clue to what laid ahead should have been the “warming up” exercise at the first workshop I attended. We stood in a circle. Each of us got the opportunity to call out somebody’s name, which we then repeated in that same sequence a few times. Not too difficult. But then our fearless leader started throwing bachis (the sticks used to hit the drums) around. First we used the right hand to throw and catch a bachi, but in a different sequence than in the name-calling round. Then we used the left hand to throw and catch a bachi, in a different sequence than the name-calling and the right-hand round. Then it got really interesting. Now we combined name calling, the right hand and the left hand, keep in mind that each had a different sequence…

I thought that was though. But a few months later we added another layer to the above: a variation on name calling. Each person had to give an animal name to another person, which was also repeated in a sequence (of course in a different sequence than the other three…) 🙂

My first performance in an open space was quite unsettling. Being used to drumming on a specific drum, without a stand (and thus lower in height), in an enclosed space, suddenly the sound was different, other muscles got some exercise because of the difference in height and for some reason, having people listening and looking at us, made me feel like a hunted animal.

My latest Taiko experience is when it finally hit me: my general lack of adapting ability to changes could very well be a brain patterning thing. Having practiced a new piece and rehearsing and repeating and commiting it to memory, we started working on the choreography. Most of it could be done without any major adjustment. Then came this small change: in the second part we each play on two drums. Left hand on one drum and right hand on another drum. Not that much of a change, you say? My goodness. It felt different and it sounded different and suddenly I could not remember how to count, where I was in the sequence and what I was supposed to play next!  My total breakdown was so totally unexpected after having been able to play that specific part correctly more than ten times, I felt quite embarrassed.

But, hey, now I know it, maybe I can stop beating myself up about it :-).


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lufuno
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 07:47:27

    Interesting stuff. I have not tried Taiko but it sounds like something that will help me a great deal. Well with me I often find I like change only if it suits me. When it suits others more than me it can be a problem. I have learnt this for many year that unlearning is quite painful.


  2. ice maiden
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 21:01:49

    Treading new ground in blog.Great. Overcoming fear you can only trust our CREATOR: Father, Son JESUS, Holy spirit. Hope to hear more, singingwarrior!


  3. sanette
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 09:20:32

    change is not eazy, ever! i thought i was a flowing creature and thought change was less difficult for me, but lo and behold! it is not, not even when the benefits is so very obvious! as long as we commit to becoming more accepting of change, hopefully we will not end up sour and old and unmovable rocks. Love the blog D! Now we get to peak in your mind since you never say too much 🙂


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