There are so many after school activities that we have grown up with which have allowed us to meet new friends and to learn new skills; basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and swimming to name a few.  But what if you’re not sporty or cannot hold a note enough to join band?  This new class is the answer to your searching dilemma-Taiko Drums!

What is a Taiko Drum?

What is Taiko drums I hear you ask…well, think back to those awesome festivals  you have been to, such as the Ethnic Expo in Columbus or the St Patrick’s day Parade in Indy and you can hear those drums drumming, the kind of drum beat you can feel inside your body and you just can’t help yourself but move to the beat!  This particular drum is played either with your hands or with sticks and comes in all sorts of sizes, but in this case, size really doesn’t matter-you can’t resist it!

Background on Southern Indiana Taiko

Taiko is a Japanese drum and the group, Southern Indiana Taiko, have been around in Columbus for many years.  The group have played at many events, but since January they have opened their doors to the public for classes!

Get the Scoop on the Class Experience

We entered the studio feeling the buzz of excitement from the children, my daughter slipped off her shoes and class began.  No outdoor shoes are allowed on the performance deck so be sure to bring some slippers or warm socks with you.

A lot of the class instructions are given in Japanese.  Though don’t worry, you don’t need to be bilingual to understand, the teachers guide the children every step of the way.  The group begins by showing respect to the teachers and then to the studio.  Before stepping onto the performance deck children are required to bow to it to show respect to the studio and then form a circle and bow to each other.

There is a student led warm up which leads nicely into an activity involving the sticks.  The children were reminded how to hold the sticks correctly so not to harm each other and themselves whilst drumming.  There was lots of physical movement around the room and lots of shouting in Japanese.  Even as part of the audience, I felt very excited with the energy in the room!  The activities are performed to a vocal rhythm, children don’t even realize it but they’re learning about rhythm whilst having an absolute blast!  Everyone is encouraged to join in the chants.  It was explained that by doing that, you can feel the rhythm more which helps you become more in time with the beat. The final part of the lesson involved the all-important drums! Each drum is around 60cm in height, but they do have smaller drums for smaller little ones. The drum are on wheels to allow for easy movement. When you go for your sessions to play the Taiko drums, just remember it’s going to be LOUD and there’s no getting away from it so please do bare that in mind for children who are sensitive to noise.

Where do Parents Sit?

There is a nice viewing area for parents and other family members. There is a carpeted area directly in front of the performance deck which has a number of tables and chairs, and around the walls of the studio are some sofas and armchairs.  All seating provides a clear view of the children performing.

Sign me up for Taiko!

The children’s group (6-11 years old, there is also a group for 12+) meets once a week for an hour on a Monday for 6 weeks.  Parents are encouraged to stay and observe.  We went to a drop in session for a one off fee of $15.  The next 6-week course begins in March and there are plans to add another children’s session on another day though this won’t be until April.  Also, Southern Indiana Taiko is holding summer camps this year too!  Please either visit Columbus Parks and Recs or Southern Indiana Taiko for more information.

So far, they’ve held sessions for Valentine’s Day as well as children’s classes and have also offered $5 Fridays.  I took my daughter to a children’s class and it was fantastic!  Call 812-581-0130 or visit their website to sign up.

Southern Indiana Taiko is located at 1130 Ruddick Avenue, Columbus, Indiana, 47201.