5 days, 100 kids, 28 taiko classes

At the beginning of the month I participated in Pilgrim School’s “Golden Week”, an intense week of Japanese culture classes for students kindergarten through high school.

JATV visited my class and did a short segment on the whole program. More after the break…

The grandfather of one of the students, Mr Kanai, donated funds to enable the school to dedicate an entire week to Japanese arts.  All 300 students spent all week taking classes in sushi, dance, kendo, taiko, and 13 other topics.  Amazing, no?!  Every student… a whole week dedicated to Japanese arts!

I had 1st grade, 5th grade, 7th and 8th grades, and high school classes, and all the students were motivated, creative, and interested.  Each group put on a performance for the school at the end of the week and I was very proud of the kids.  The 1st graders did an impressive “math on drums” presentation.  We had a bon-festival-inspired dance with moves that the students created.  We even had student-created rap with taiko!  Great job everyone!

One of the students wrote the following article (rough draft, he tells me) for the school paper.  Thanks, Sam!

Taiko Drum class

Golden week was the good idea to let students study about other country. Taiko was one of the classes in Golden week. Taiko in Japanese means drum and it has been in Japan for about 800 years. Taiko drums are very expensive because the body of the drum made from the old tree and the surface of the drum made from horse skin. Taiko drums always go with the bachi. Bachi in Japanese means drum stick made from wood. There are many kinds of taiko drum that appear in nowadays. Pilgrim School has invited a taiko master from “On Ensemble” and his name is Kristofer Bergstrom. Kris began his taiko career in Stanford Taiko as leader and composer. Later on, he spent 3 years in Japan where he studied and performed taiko. He is an active teacher, who made his class become more exited. His teaching skills and the way he play the drum are just amazing. Before the Golden Week started, a lot of people said that Taiko drum is just a normal class that they weren’t interesting a lot. On Monday, January 4, Kris-sensei gave the whole school a great performance with his amazing taiko skills. The whole church was shaking because of the strong sound that the taiko drum made. Every single heart of Pilgrim School student was beating together with the drum and the excitement was increasing rapidly. After the performance, there were a lot of comments about the taiko drum. “Taiko drumming was not as easy as it seems and it involved very intricate movement,” Manuel Perez’ 10 says.

Pilgrim School students were so excited that they couldn’t wait until the first class. The first class was fun and excited. Kris-sensei set up the drum just like on the stage. The taiko class took place in Mr. Turro’s music room. In the first day, Kris-sensei was talking about the history of taiko and how he started his career as a taiko drummer. After that, he started to teach Pilgrim students how to play taiko. The class was crowded, so Kris-sensei separated the class into three groups and the each group took turn to play the drum. First, he showed everyone the basic stand of taiko and how to play the Oroshi. Oroshi is the basic draft for starter. The taiko player started slowly hitting with a long break; continue with shorter break and stop. On the second day of Golden Week, taiko class reviewed the Oroshi and Kris-sensei taught Pilgrim students how to play the Jiuchi and combine the Oroshi with the Jiuchi. On the third day of the Golden Week, the taiko class continued practicing the combination of the Oroshi and the Jiuchi. On the fourth day, Kris-sensei taught the taiko class the Kimazi. The Kimazi means straight simple meter. The Kimazi basically is hitting with the same temple and then come up with an Ukare. The Ukare means compound meter, which is hitting the drum with difference temple such as from loud to quiet and from quiet to loud. Later on, Kris-sensei taught the students how to combine all of the rhythms above as one song. The song started with the Oroshi and then the Jiuchi. Next to the Jiuchi is the Kizami and the Ukare. The Kizami and the Urake were the combination used to change the drummer. When group A finished the Kizami and Urake, group B will switch with group A and continue the song with the Oroshi and finish with the Jiuchi. After that, Kris-sensei gave the class an idea about the dance. The teamwork between teacher and students were working perfectly. The dance had 8 moves total and they were all the student idea accepts for the first one. On the last day of the Golden Week, Kris-sensei and the taiko class reviewed the whole song and the dance for the performance in the afternoon. The performance was awesome and everyone loved it. The first taiko class started with their own song, which was amazing. In the end, the second taiko class finished with the combination song and the dance and they were also really incredible. After everything done, all the taiko students gave everyone a good-bye with Japanese traditional way. After the performance, all the students were sad because the Golden Week is over and they all want another Golden Week next year.

One Response to “5 days, 100 kids, 28 taiko classes”

  1. hiro says:

    クリス先生、お疲れ様! 5日間、本当によく頑張ったね~っ 
    栗の授業を受けた子供たち、みんなが、とっても喜んで、めっちゃ楽しい時間を過ごせたのが、よ~くわかるよ。栗にとっても、すごく良い経験になったよね!! 大変よく出来ました^^

Leave a Reply

On Ensemble is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).