November 13, 2014
Teignmouth Local Learning Community successfully applied for a special Helen Foundation grant to engage the oustanding Kagemusha Taiko company to work this term with six schools in the Learning Community: Bishopsteignton, Hazeldown, Our Lady and St Patrick, Shaldon, Stokeinteignhead and Teignmouth Community School, on both its Mill Lane and Exeter Road sites.
Taiko is powerful rhythmic drum music performed with stylised choreography that makes it as much a treat for the eyes as for the ears. The company’s mission is to enrich people’s lives through the experience of Taiko drumming.
Taiko drumming originated in Japan and whilst the drums themselves have been around for centuries, originally used in warfare, festivals and temples – the art form of Taiko itself is still relatively new having been established by a Japanese jazz drummer, Daihachi Oguchi, in the 50’s.
Taiko means ‘big drum’ in Japanese and has evolved to include many various styles and movement around different drums.
By playing, Taiko children experience and learn about Kagemusha Taiko’s four principles which are a key part of the experience.
– Attitude: Taking responsibility, doing your best, being a team player
– Kata: Movement, body language, fitness
– Technique: Stick and rhythm skills, playing with expression, listening
– Ki: Enthusiasm, energy, enjoyment
Once children have played Taiko, and learnt what’s involved, their enthusiasm is boundless and a common response after all of their workshops is ‘when can we do it again?’ Repeated from teachers is that children who rarely apply themselves in the classroom, or who are known trouble makers, are suddenly transformed into the most well behaved, hardworking children during a Taiko workshop because they’re enjoying it so much.
Kagemusha Taiko believes in doing simple things well, and children respond very well to this. They love coming in, having never heard of Taiko before and by the end of a session, are able to play a very simple piece.
Below are pictures from the Shaldon Taiko Workshop and, in November there will be a final performance featuring young people from all six schools. We shall report on it in December’s THF e-newsletter.