I spent the last week in Minneapolis working with Mu Daiko and then Chicago working with Ho Etsu Taiko. Last year Ho Etsu Taiko was the first group I taught Lion Chant to outside of On Ensemble. Working with them was instrumental in developing the piece for other taiko groups and they helped me debut Lion Chant at the World Taiko Gathering last summer. This year they are bringing On Ensemble to Chicago in the fall for a series of concerts and we are using the work we did together last year as a foundation for developing new pieces and putting together a truly collaborative concert series.
With Mu Daiko I started teaching them Lion Chant, worked on Ready Set kaDON and material for another collaborative concert in the fall! I was amazed at how much we got accomplished over the weekend. The artistic director Jennifer Weir had been using the kaDON courses to prepare her group for our workshop time together very well. The result was that we got so much further with each of the pieces than we would’ve if I had just come to teach the pieces. Usually in a weekend of workshops I would be happy to teach the basic kecak part of Lion Chant and the exercises to get those parts nice and solid without worrying about the arrangement. Instead because of the prep work Jennifer and Mu Daiko did we were able to get through all of Ready Set kaDON, Lion Chant and part of another song in a weekend of working together.
It is really exciting to see how kaDON resources are being used in the community and SO EXCITING to realize just how much more can be accomplished in short periods of time working with a group using kaDON. As a workshop leader I’ve often felt the limitations of teaching within the workshop format. You have to keep what you teach very simple and it is hard to get to the deeper and more involved aspects of the art form. It often feels like I’m just scratching the surface. The depth can come from working with the same people repeatedly over a longer period of time and it is super exciting to be able to get to that depth much more quickly because people are using kaDON as a resource. It is very inspiring and inspires me to keep working on making kaDON the best resource it can be for the taiko community!