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.
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 for a month 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.
There are 4 ongoing training groups, which mirror our long-established Dojo training system, and complement in-person physical sessions, whether this is with the Mugen Taiko Dojo or with your own group. The focus is on technique, drills and short rhythm sequences, and each session is independent, so that new members can easily join at any time. 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. In addition to the regular ongoing training groups detailed below, we also have courses on specific styles of playing and pieces, shinobue (Japanese flute) lessons, and sessions by guest teachers.
Each session consists of 60-min playing, plus 15-min Q&A, which may also include 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, please do let us know your background so that we can help guide you to the correct group. Once you've joined, you're welcome to try out different sessions for a couple of weeks until you settle into a group. 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.
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 GROUPS / LEVELS
Beginners - Wednesdays 6.30-7.45pm
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". Taiko drumming - even if only played on a sofa or cushion with an instructor on-screen - is energising, invigorating, and fun!
Taiko Night - Wednesdays 8.00-9.15pm
This is our regular group to join once you've been playing a while, you're comfortable with the basics, and you're able to play the 3 ji-uchi base rhythms at medium tempo. 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. This group is ideal for those who may need to miss sessions, as each session is a standalone, and previous lessons can be watched on catch-up at any point in the month after the session, in any order.
Foundation Group - Saturdays 9.30-10.45pm
This group is for those wishing to train more seriously and for those who are already taiko performers. The goal is to assist established players to break through any barriers to improvement by thoroughly examining technique, concentrating on internal body mechanics. Each session will form an independent component of the "Mugen Taiko-Do" method, and also provides drills and exercises to take away & practice independently. The focus is on "fuse-daiko" (playing standing up), with a few elements on other styles such as "yoko-uchi" (playing to the side). The sessions also aim to give an insight into the cultural and historical background of the art-form.
Mugen Training - Saturdays 11.00am-12.15pm
This is the group for training towards performing at a professional level. We assume that new members have already grasped all of the principles from the Foundation level; if unsure, we recommend joining the Foundation group & Mugen Training simultaneously. The Mugen Training sessions move quickly and it is expected that if sessions are missed, these are watched on the catch-up videos. Drills are provided for practice in between sessions, with explanations as to how to further practice at home independently. These sessions enable experienced taiko players from anywhere in the world train alongside members of the touring Mugenkyo team.
VIRTUAL DOJO MEMBERSHIP FEE
Standard membership for the Virtual Dojo is £20 per month, for access to the weekly online session - a monthly subscription paid by standing order to the Mugen Taiko Dojo account.
If you'd like to join 2 groups, i.e. access two weekly sessions, the membership fee is £30 per month.
For unlimited access to all 4 groups, plus access to the Virtual Dojo archive (all of the sessions ever recorded), plus access to a growing library of online instructional videos, the membership fee is £40 per month.
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)