Meet Jennifer – My Tsukasa Taiko: Member Testimonials Series 016

Meet Jennifer, one of our longtime Cool Ladies/ Kazan members.

What Tsukasa Taiko Means to Me

I saw a taiko exhibition about 13 years ago during the Humanities Festival and thought, “Oh, I want to do that!” and then began a 3-year-long search for some place that would take a newbie, wanna-be drummer at age 50+. I found a home at Tsukasa Taiko.

Tsukasa Taiko provides a unique blend of community drumming underlain with a serious push for musicality. Rooted in a foundation of Japanese cultural arts, all the Tsukasa Taiko drummers learn to hear the music, the reverberations and, surprisingly, the silences of each piece. It’s this push for artistry that has kept me at Tsukasa for over 10 years.

There’s also the community from ages 6 to 60. Tied together through mutual effort, Tsukasa Taiko has become a close family united by the camaraderie of hard work. The little ones keep growing into their awesome abilities; the teen agers are so cute in their studied awkwardness; the shy ones take some drawing out−but everyone is united in their efforts to learn the songs, to play together, to get better.

Mostly this is due to Tatsu Aoki and his drive for the music. While holding out a standard for us to achieve, he keeps the learning fun, accessible and has recruited superb teachers who can help you define what you are doing wrong, how to get better, and what the correct form really is. In addition, there’s the influence of those around you who can play the shamisen, shimei or shinobue or dance in the classical Japanese style.

But finally, it’s about the drumming. To perform well, surrounded by all that sound, moving through it, is an experience not readily duplicated.