In this 2-unit course, students will learn how to play taiko (a style of Japanese ensemble drumming) and study its history and impact in North America.
The class will be taught in two portions: the practical portion, which will take 2 hours per week (Monday 6-8 PM), and the discussion, which will be 1 hour per week (Wednesday 6-7 PM).
The practical portion covers hands-on learning in the playing techniques of taiko. Students will learn basic stance and hitting technique in two styles of playing as well as to the oral tradition of song learning and teaching. Students will also write their own song, learn how to solo, and learn from prominent guests in the taiko community. Discussion will cover the historical and cultural significance of taiko in Japan, North America, and beyond. We will consider how place, ethnic identity, and gender, among other topics, have impacted taiko's development as an art form and are impacted by taiko today.
There will be short weekly reading and homework assignments, as well as three short papers, for the discussion portion of the course. For the practical portion of the course, students will put on a final performance at the end of the semester. The performance will include the two songs taught over the course of the semester, as well as songs the students will be writing themselves. Attendance is a significant part of the final grade, and up to two unexcused absences will be allowed. Any more than two unexcused absences will result in a failing grade in the course. Excused absences are acceptable.
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