Many people are familiar with sushi, karate and Pokémon. However, Japanese music is not well known by American kids. This summer, I learned about taiko drumming in my hometown, Phoenix.
Taiko has a long history of performance in Japan for festivals. This summer, Phoenix Public Libraries hosted taiko workshops for people who wanted to learn more. Sensei Eileen Morgan explained why people attend: “Children learn about Japan and music and have fun.” Sixteen groups enjoyed the loud sounds and the chance to try taiko drumming themselves. The Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale also offers kids the chance to try taiko and learn about Japanese music.
Although summer is over, taiko never stops. Taiko dojos offer many performances, including Grand Avenue Festival, Arizona Asian Festival and the Arizona Matsuri. Taiko can also help people relive memories. Dr. Rebecca Reimers explains, “It reminds me of when I lived in Japan and learned to play.” So whether you want to play, or just enjoy the music, there are many opportunities to learn about Japanese taiko drumming.