Intensive Course for Taiko Players - 7-10 Dec 2023
Join us this December for the Mugen Taiko Dojo Intensive Course & perform at our end-of-year concert at the Dojo, alongside members of Mugenkyo and the various groups at the Mugen Taiko Dojo.
The course will be an invigorating week learning new skills, technique & rhythms, building up day by day to create a new composition for the concert. The course is suitable for those with experience in Taiko, who play regularly with a group, or for ambitious improvers. We use the "Mugen Taiko Do" method, which focusses on KI energy, using the core & weight while playing, and developing "flow". Drawing from three decades of professional touring experience, we have developed a way of playing which uses minimum physical strain with maximum output, and our method focusses on harnessing natural powerful energy rather than muscle strength.
For the December Intensive, the main part of the piece will be Fuse-daiko (standing up style), with a section of Hachijo-style (playing to the side) and Odaiko (big drum). The Hachijo style originates from Hachijo Island, where the defeated samurai, exiled to the island, developed a way of playing to mimic the motion of brandishing their confiscated swords. We will work on technique for each of these styles, and all of the parts & rhythms learned will fit together for the final composition. Everyone will have the chance to learn and practice each style, and then for the performance assigned a specific part to perform. During the week we will also work on choreography, stagecraft and performance skills, which are Mugenkyo's particular areas of expertise.
The main instructor for the course is Miyuki Williams, head instructor at the Mugen Taiko Dojo & founding member of Mugenkyo. With over 30 years experience in the field, Miyuki has taught & developed all of the performers with Mugenkyo past & present. In addition to training with master drummer Masaaki Kurumaya Sensei while living in Japan in 1992-1994, Miyuki also studied the Hachijo style of playing with Chieko Kojima from Kodo, who toured with Mugenkyo in 2004 & 2005.
This is a unique chance to learn from, rehearse and perform alongside members of Mugenkyo and the whole Mugen Taiko Dojo team at our end-of-year concert.
£320 non-residential - (includes lunch on Saturday and Sunday)
For residential rates, please see accommodation info below
As you may know, we have been renovating the "Dojo House" in order to make the workshops at the Mugen Taiko Dojo fully residential, with accommodation for all of the participants who require it. This project started at the tail end of 2020, and has been quite a journey resolving the challenges of renovating a 100+ year old farmhouse: dry rot, subsidence, rerouting the water supply from the spring, overhauling the heating system etc. We are very very close to completion, and we're happy to announce that you'll be amongst the first participants to stay at the Dojo. We DO have heating, hot water, freshly filtered drinking water, a fully functional kitchen, carpeted bedrooms with beds, bathrooms & showers. But there are still some rough edges, with floor coverings in hallways missing, furnishings & décor not completed, and we haven't yet started on phase two of the project: overhauling the garden, building the fire pit, picnic area etc.
Prior to our relaunch in 2024, for these upcoming workshops we are offering the rooms at an introductory price of £50 per room per night, the same price whether they're single / double / triple - simply divide the cost of the room by the number of people sharing. So for example, a twin room is £25 per person per night. All room bookings include a simple continental breakfast.
We prefer for participants to share if possible, as we only have 8 bedrooms in the house. The rooms are not en-suite - there are 4 bathrooms in the house shared between the 8 bedrooms. If you prefer to stay in a more plush environment, there are en-suite rooms at Strathaven Hotel or Bammflats, both just 15 minutes drive away. However, in addition to the convenience of staying at the Dojo, the advantage of staying on site is the opportunity to socialise on Saturday evening with us & get to know the other participants of the workshop in a relaxed atmosphere.
The workshop fee includes lunch on the workshop days. All meals are vegetarian, and freshly prepared. We are able to cater for special dietary requirements - but only with 3 days notice, so please do indicate requirements on your application form. It would also be helpful for us to know whether this is a food preference, or a strict allergy which we need to take extra care about, e.g. a nut allergy.
For this upcoming workshop we will not be providing evening meals - you can either bring in something to cook yourself in our self-catering kitchen, or for those without their own transport, we will also offer a lift into Strathaven on the Saturday for a supermarket run or pick up a takeaway. The kitchen is fully equipped with hob, oven, microwave, pots & pans etc. for those wishing to make their own food.
The Taiko Dojo is in a rural location - just off the M74, 30 miles south of Glasgow - and is only accessible by car. Travelling time from Glasgow is approx 45 min, and from Edinburgh is approx 1 hr 20 min. If you live in Central Scotland but don't have your own transport, please do contact us, as it may be possible to arrange lifts for you each day.
For residential participants arriving by train, bus or plane, there will be a pickup from Glasgow Central Train Station at 8:30pm on Wednesday evening. If you do arrive early on the Wednesday, there are left luggage lockers at Glasgow Central Station. On the Sunday after the workshop, there will be return transport, arriving at Glasgow Central for 5pm.
If you are interested in staying with us on Sunday night, you are welcome to do so - there is a local taxi company for transport on the Monday, or we may also be able to offer complimentary lifts to nearby Larkhall train station, for connections to Glasgow & Edinburgh, if there are enough people.
There is an upper limit of 16 participants per workshop.
Age & Accessibility:
The workshops at the Dojo are suitable for adults of all ages & levels of fitness, however each participant will be responsible for knowing their own physical limitations and for working within their own capabilities. We have disabled access and a disabled toilet. Please can you let us know in advance of any physical disability or any other condition which may be relevant.
All equipment is provided - drums and "bachi" drumsticks. A variety of taiko drums are used, some of which are especially imported from Japan - the genuine article. Carved from single tree trunks with thick cowhide skins, they are truly magnificent instruments.
Please arrive wearing loose and comfortable clothing. According to Japanese tradition, outdoor shoes are not allowed in the Dojo itself. Please bring "indoor shoes" - tabi, slippers, martial arts slippers, dance shoes, or "totes" socks, (no trainers), if you have any. If not, we can provide footwear when you arrive. No outdoor shoes of any kind, and no bare feet are allowed in the Dojo.
SCHEDULE FOR PARTICIPANTS
Check-in at Dojo 5 pm onwards (own transport)
Pickup from Glasgow Central Station 8:30 pm (if lift required)
Arrival at the Dojo 9:30 pm (if lift required)
Thursday / Friday / Saturday:
Morning session 10am - 1 pm
Lunch 1 - 2 pm
Afternoon session 2 - 5 pm
Morning session 9:30 am - 12
Lunch & meet members 12 - 2 pm
End-of-year concert 2 - 4 pm
Departure from the Dojo 4:15 pm (if lift required)
Arrive at Glasgow Central Station 5 pm (if lift required)
On receipt of the application form and payment, we will send confirmation of your place on the weekend workshop. Unfortunately we are unable to hold workshop places without full payment of the workshop fee. The accommodation cost can be paid closer to the workshop date.
Please be aware that due to the limited number of places on our workshops, in the case of a cancellation, we are unable to give refunds, unless we are able to fill the space with another participant (which we would always endeavour to do, but please be aware that this cannot be guaranteed).
Contact us on: email@example.com or 01357 522 008 to receive the booking form, to check if there are places, or to join the waiting list.