Taikoz is an Australian, Sydney-based performance group that specialises in the art of taiko—the Japanese drums. Through the study of taiko using Musica Viva resources, the students learnt about the instruments, music, and historical and cultural background to the works. The repertoire learnt as part of this study included contemporary Japanese pieces by Japanese composers as well as original compositions written by the Taikoz members. A particular favourite among the students was a piece called ‘Demon Drums’ written by Anton, a member of Taikoz.
The students loved the infectious rhythms and learnt to play works in several sections. They discovered that musicians use patterns and form to assist them in performance, but can also use pictorial representations to convey ideas in works such as ‘Monochrome’. They learnt pentatonic melodies on xylophones, used the Japanese flute shinobue and discovered the power of dynamics. The names of each of the taiko drums was fun to learn and the students embraced the physicality of playing while mimicking the experienced Taikoz performers with gusto.
Here are some Year 5 comments about the Taikoz study:
I loved the performance because we could listen to how good they were.
It was very different so I could play something very new and it was interesting.
People can communicate to each other through drums.
It was fun and inspiring.
I liked learning the meaning of the drums and why we use them.
I liked learning new Japanese words and learning about the culture and background of the drums.
Junior School Arts Coordinator