Taiko ( Japanese drums)

“If you’ve got a problem, take it out on a drum.”

Neil Peart

I finally made it happen, another 2018 New Years resolution – “playing” music again.

Music. Listening to music.  It’s the first thing I do in the morning to get my day started, the energy up and it usually only stops when I go to bed. It happens automatically, just like breathing.

It all started with my mum  wanted to give me an ukulele for christmas as I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Like most German kids in the 80ies I learned how to play the recorder and read music in kindergarden, in my case followed by 7 years of flute lessons. My dad is a very good guitar player and also my late brother Christian used to play, that’s one of the reasons I can’t help but smile when I hear certain songs on the radio as I can hear “them” play and sing together, it takes me right back to some happy memories long long time ago.

Isn’t it funny how music can take us right back to certain events? Just like smell and taste.

However, the “click” I feel with percussion instruments  is stronger – not to mention that I’m a very, verrrry impatient person and learning how to play the guitar would be very, very frustrating FOR me. Luckily my mum asked me what I think about it before buying an actual ukulele, otherwise I would have never searched for a taiko school and pushed the whole “making music myself”  away again.

Why taiko? I remember I once saw a short documentary about a woman who started playing taiko as part of her breast cancer recovery, to let it all out and it must have made quite an impression on me. Drums in general are the oldest instruments there are and I find it very relaxing – even if it is a fast tempo.

I’m lucky that one of the best taiko schools is just a 10 min bike ride away and a few days ago  I joined my first lesson at Yamato Taiko School.

Yamato is actually a performing, touring troupe that has already given over 2500 shows in more than 51 countries and they present only their own compositions – the more advanced students also get to play these pieces. They got schools in Japan and the Netherlands,  students visit from all over Europe for their workshops here so I feel really blessed that they’re just around the corner.

 

 

There are many health benefits connected to taiko, from stress relief and a  full body workout  to the “heartbeat effect”  and last but not least – it’s super FUN!

I expected the “try out lesson” to be a lot of explaining, talking and little action. Guess what – it was the contrary, I was completely wrong 🙂

The lesson was fantastic from the very first minute. A lovely group of 7 students, 4 of them with taiko experience and a great teacher who burst with enthusiasm. We could right away pick whatever drum we wanted and after a full body warm up, some breathing technique and welcome bowing were asked to let it all out on the drum. It was loud and wild the first 10 min but the energy in that room went up with every beat and so did the smiles! It was the weirdest and most intense feeling standing there surrounded by the other drums as I could feel the vibration and sound moving up and down my body. In no time we ALL drummed together and learned our first bits of a Yamato performance. Taiko is more than “only”  drumming, it’s like a session in Japanese culture. Not only did we count, greet and really shout out while drumming in Japanese, we also learned about the etiquette, bowing and being mindful with everything we do in that room.

After the first hour we did not only drum together but had something like a battle, facing each other with the drums and also practising stage performance.

So all in all – drumming combines everything from mindfulness to breath work, “clearing” your voice and triggers completely new areas of your brain.

I bet you can tell I LOVED it and I cannot wait to return and start my new hobby once I return from my Peru adventure 🙂

 

 

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