Kagemusha Taiko with Jonathan Kirby for the AEL students in Dartington

It has been a fantastic evening! Jonathan led us first on top of the hill above the Taiko Centre, located in the beautiful site of Seale-Hayne in Newton Abbot. On the West we could see Haytor over the Moors and on the East side there was a splendid view of the Channel at Teignmouth where river Teign joins the sea.

None of the students had ever heard about Taiko before but this was not an obstacle to learn fast! Jonathan caught everyone in with that kind of simplicity that can’t be confused with banality. It was with this approach that we learnt about Taiko and the basics of it: Attitude, Kata, Technique and Ki.

Attitude is about personal responsibility, focus on achievement, teamwork. Kata is a Japanese word related to movement, body language, fitness. Technique includes the stick and rhythm skills, playing with expression, listening. Ki, one more Japanese word, means enthusiasm, energy, enjoyment.

And really we experience those concepts alive into the hall where the young people were playing and exploring the new, unknown world of Taiko.

I was taking photos and listening, so I had the privilege to admire their full concentration, enthusiasm, energy, their effort to go over the difficult steps and to achieve a good, positive result. There two weaknesses in our daily life: the first weakness is listening or being able to understand and feel what someone else is saying; the second one is lack of interest which end up in a lack of caring for what is around or I would say a lack of sensibility, of attention, During Taiko those weakness that children absorb from the world of the adults and reflect in their behaviour, have been completely silenced for the two-hours Taiko session while more social awareness washed the hall.

Yes, we learnt in practice that -if each individual works on getting individually better– he or she also improves the attitude to work better with the others, he or she can understand the other person better and will work better together.

See this short video: it speaks about the relation between “me and youturning a potential conflict into a constructive teamwork!

If you like Taiko, you may enjoy “The Gift” composed by Jonathan Kirby and performed in London at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 10th November 2010. The performance was part of the Music For Youth Schools Prom. DVD is available from Music for Youth – www.mfy.org.uk

Watch below the performance in Exeter:

Do you want to have a go? do you want to try a taiko session? Come and play: the next AEL courses in Dartington in August will offer again Taiko classes for teenagers, children and parents!

Play, relax, enjoy!