Online Taiko Training with the Virtual Dojo
The Virtual Dojo offers online taiko training at a range of levels from introductory to advanced, with accessible sessions for complete beginners right through to ongoing training for experienced players, in different styles of playing.
You don't need a real taiko drum to join! What you do need is bachi drumsticks of some kind, which we can provide or you can make yourself (some members use wooden spoons!) and something to play - even a pillow on a chair can get you started. More info on practice instruments.
We also have affordable practice drums for sale - our very own "Yaruzo Taiko", hand-made by Mugenkyo members. These are ideal for home practice as they're compact and quieter than cow-hide taiko drums.
The sessions are recorded and can be accessed afterwards in a private YouTube playlist, so you can also learn at your own pace, review the lesson afterwards, or even choose to do the sessions in your own time, which makes it easy to fit online taiko into busy lives. After each session you will receive an email with the relevant rhythm sheet, and/or learning links. Written rhythms will also be shared on-screen during the live zoom session.
The Virtual Dojo sessions are taught by Miyuki, head instructor at the Mugen Taiko Dojo and co-founder of Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, who has nearly 30 years experience in taiko drumming, training & developing all Mugenkyo members past & present here at the Dojo. The method taught is "Mugen Taiko-Do"- our own method honed over decades of professional touring and teaching.
Each session is 75 mins long, including warm-ups & Q&A time, and also includes demonstrations, cultural background, history etc. We will respond to any questions or requests - our aim is to help you on your taiko journey! Below are links to a video introducing the Virtual Dojo, an orientation video for new members and an introductory lesson on video, to help new members integrate.
If you have taiko playing experience, the sessions for Taiko players allow you to improve your fuse-daiko technique (playing standing up), or helps you to learn or develop different styles of playing. We'd like to ask that if you're a member of a regularly rehearsing group already, please do check with your group leader / teacher that they're happy with you joining our Virtual Dojo, as it is good taiko etiquette to do so.
If you're interested in learning a particular style of playing - Fukui no Mitsu-uchi, Miyake Daiko, Yoko-uchi solos, Hachijo Daiko, Katsugi style etc. - it is also possible to join an 8-week course for a specific style, as well as traditional & modern repertoire. More info on courses
This is an invaluable opportunity to access the expert instruction of the Mugen Taiko Dojo from the comfort of your own home, and play alongside taiko players from around the UK & beyond, as well as our regular Dojo members & the professional touring players of Mugenkyo. Our current Virtual Dojo members include players from 12 different UK taiko groups, and players from Germany, Denmark, France and Portugal.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Virtual Dojo Community!
VIRTUAL DOJO SESSIONS
Beginners & Improvers - Tuesdays 6.15-7.30pm
Join the beginners sessions to learn the basics, the Mugen Taiko Dojo way! Week by week we cover a different aspect or technique: stance, grip, weight, energy, the basic ji-uchi base rhythms, and short practice pieces. Sessions are accessible and engaging, and everyone can join, on any kind of "instrument". The focus is on playing taiko for enjoyment, health & community, whilst concentrating on fundamental principles, using drills and short rhythm sequences to practice various aspects of technique. Taiko drumming - even if only played on a sofa or cushion with an instructor on-screen - is energising, invigorating, and fun!
Sessions for Taiko Players of all levels - "Stand & Deliver" - Mondays 6:30-7:45pm
This group is for those who already play taiko regularly, and the focus is on "Fuse-Daiko", i.e. playing standing up. The goal is to assist established players to break through any barriers to improvement by thoroughly examining technique, concentrating on internal body mechanics. Depending on the season, we either concentrate on a piece of repertoire for 6-8 weeks, or we have sessions focussing on technique. Each session also provides drills and exercises to take away & practice independently for those who wish to do so.
Sessions for Taiko Players with more experience - "Taiko Pathways" - Mondays 8:00-9:15pm
This group is for those wishing to explore different Taiko styles, e.g. Yoko-uchi, Odaiko, Hachijo, Yatai-bayashi, Shime-daiko. We work on technique & drills for each style, as well as introducing repertoire to learn & perform in each style. The sessions also aim to give an insight into the cultural and historical background of each style. Players with less experience are also welcome to join, but please be aware that the lesson will be taught assuming a minimum level of experience.
VIRTUAL DOJO MEMBERSHIP FEE
Virtual Dojo membership is £20 per month, for access to the weekly online session & playlists of videos - a monthly subscription paid by standing order to the Mugen Taiko Dojo account.
To sign up & receive the Zoom links, email us on info (at) taiko.co.uk
"The Virtual Dojo lessons have been a fantastic introduction to the world of taiko drumming. The lessons are paced really well, with enough content to challenge but not too much to take in. The lessons cater for every level without feeling too basic or complex, and Miyuki is an excellent teacher - very encouraging and energetic. I can't recommend the virtual lessons enough!"
- Kevin M.
"Simply the best Taiko training in the UK! Thanks to the Virtual Dojo, I can continue my training from 300 miles away. Mugen Taiko are professional, hardworking, fun, and creative. I have no hesitation in recommending them."
- Claire C.
"Zoom lessons with Miyuki are FUN! She has a professional approach giving a great introduction to taiko drumming with clear and comprehensive instruction. Miyuki's passion, energy and smile make learning a joy."
- Nicky P.
"I am loving the classes! I use broom stick bachi and I 'bang' a cushion that is on my bed! but I am still getting so much out of it."
- Clare B.
"The weekly Zoom sessions have been invaluable in helping me improve my technique, and develop my confidence in playing taiko. Having the videos to refer to in between sessions provides the opportunity to revisit some of the finer points of the techniques we are learning. An unexpected benefit from training at home is that I can really focus on my own drumming style and the subtleties of the rhythms I play. When drumming in a room full of people, it's difficult to do this as the sound I make would merge in with the other players. I feel this will ultimately help to really improve my playing. Due to my location, I wouldn't normally be able to attend the Mugen Taiko Dojo in person very often. The live classes and videos have made this fantastic teaching resource accessible to so many, regardless of location."
- Lisa W.
"The weekly Beginners zoom sessions are a great way to learn some basic skills of taiko drumming and join in with others while making clangers in the sanctuary of our own homes. Miyuki's excellent teaching skills and encouragement make the weekly zoom sessions fun and accessible. The recorded sessions and printed sheets give motivation to practice rhythms and drills at our own pace without fear of falling behind. Thank you for bringing joy and energy into our life during lockdown and beyond."
- Elizabeth M.
"I've been so missing taiko during lockdown. There is only so much one can do without guidance or motivation. Then Mugenkyo announced they were going to start online taiko sessions using Zoom and I signed up straight away. It really is a joy to practise with Miyuki again and already in 4 weeks I feel I've refound my taiko mojo. Because Miyuki is teaching from the dojo it really feels as if we are in there with her. As an education professional I know how to assess good teaching and would certainly rate Miyuki's teaching very highly indeed. She is always very well prepared, knowing exactly what each of her groups of learners require. She is of course an extremely skilled and very experienced taiko player but she has the ability to make us all feel valued as fellow taiko players. She is patient, caring, enthusiastic and responsive to student needs. Miyuki records each session and sends it to participants promptly giving us a fantastic resource to practise with, check on aspects we may have individually found difficult and revise skills. Alongside weekly hand outs the videos provide valuable materials for development. An aspect of online sessions is that we are joined each week by students from a wide range of locations so they are not only useful during lockdown but also in order to enable participation from those unable to get to live sessions for other reasons. I highly value my taiko lessons with Mugenkyo - long may they continue."
- Geri Smyth, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde
"I teach music at a school for young people between 16 & 25 years with special challenges. Two of my superiors and I attended a weekend workshop at the Dojo 4 years ago, with the idea that taiko drumming could make a difference for these young people. Since starting teaching Taiko at the Empata school, I have seen the young people develop physically, mentally and socially. Since I come from Denmark, there has been a physical and financial barrier to access more training. The fact that once a week I can meet Miyuki (and the others who are learning together) online, and go in depth with taiko drumming technique as well as philosophy, is a huge gift that allows me to develop both personally and professionally and give these young people an even better experience. Thank you Mugen Taiko for this opportunity."
- Jesper Ottesen, Music Instructor - Empata, Denmark
Join our Virtual Dojo Community!
Welcome to the Virtual Dojo! This orientation video will help get you started with your online taiko training with the Mugen Taiko Dojo.
This introductory lesson will cover the taiko basics you'll need in order to smoothly join the Virtual Dojo beginners group, and is also helpful as a re-cap for joining the higher levels: Stance / Grip / Kamaete - 1-2-so-re / Kuchishoga verbal notation (DON / DOKO / KA / KARA / KI / SU) / Greetings (Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu & Otsukare-samadeshita)