An Introduction to Taiko Drumming

212 TUTOR: John Bolwell

Taiko Drumming has its roots in age-old Japanese folk festivals and temple drumming. Nowadays it is widely played by community groups as well as professional performing groups. Loud, energetic and fun, it combines catchy rhythms, simple movements and playing as a group. Taiko is suitable for those who have never played an instrument before as the rhythms can be built up in layers. Excellent for stress-relief and health, you will learn to play some interlocking rhythms and then work as a group to create a rousing performance piece. No musical experience is necessary.


4 AM
AM course

Course Notes


Each day will begin with a thorough physical warm up and a short period of stillness.


Starting with simple rhythms, these will be combined to form a whole group sound where the whole becomes much more than the sum of its parts.


To do this we will practice the playing stance, and how to find a balance of flexibility and firmness in holding the bachi (drumsticks).


We will give a brief introduction to the origins of Taiko and introduce the three main ji-uchi (base rhythms). To add variety we will explore some bachi sabaki (drumstick manipulation) which will be added to the mix.


Over the week we build up an entertaining and dynamic Taiko tune. Expect to get a bit fitter, learn a new skill and enjoy the community spirit that drumming evokes.


Drums and bachi will be supplied.

Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothing that allows for ease of movement.

Also, lightweight footwear that has a reasonable grip.


Course Tutor

John Bolwell

About John


John's drumming journey began in the late 1980's with African style hand drums. Later, encountering Japanese style Taiko drumming, he was attracted by how this combined physical movement skills into the art of playing the drum. His initial learning was in Fukui, Japan with Kurumaya Sensei and since then he has been running Taiko groups for 20 years.

John commenced his exploration of Oriental Arts in the early 1970's with the practice of Tai Chi which he continues to teach. His study in China has included learning the 'warrior role' from Beijing Opera.


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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

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