How to Play Taiko Drums

practicing taiko drums
--Photo by Srta Gisa

There's no one way to play taiko drums, as there are plenty of styles, but you can break it down into three basic steps.

1. First, decide what you want to play.

2. Second, learn how to 'sing' the music.

3. Third, get some drums, find some space, and start swinging.

This last step is always the hard one, and it's made a lot easier if you have a teacher or an experienced drummer who you can go to for direction.

But if you don't have a mentor, don't fret. Self-taught drumming is still very effective.

All you need is a video camera and videos of other drummers. Watching videos of other groups or professionals is essential. Even if you don't intend to imitate the music/style of other musicians, watching their stances and swings is still an important way to learn technique.

After watching these videos (there's plenty on youtube!), the next essential step is to take videos of yourself. Being able to see yourself playing is absolutely vital. It's the only way to tell if you're doing something right or wrong.

Watch the videos of yourself and see which parts you're doing well, and which parts need improvement. It can be frustrating at times. Often times I'll be convinced that I'm moving my body the right way, but when seeing the video find out that it's far from what I imagined.

But even if that happens, don't let it get to you! Record your practice, watch the video, note the good/bad, and practice it again. Keep repeating this process, and you will absolutely begin seeing improvement. Guaranteed.

In the end though, it's most important that you're having fun. It feels great playing taiko, and feels even better when you notice yourself improve. If it's fun, you'll want to practice more, and if you practice, you'll only improve. Good luck and keep on drumming!
ONE EARTH TOURThe Way of Taiko


  1. Hello! It's Srta Gisa here. After a long time, I saw your comment on Flickr. :P

    Nice to meet this blog, since here in Brazil we don't have much written information about taiko.

    And reading your about, I saw that you're on the Ondekoza group,right? Very nice! Me and my group went to a workshop with them here in Brazil last year (I guess). You didn't happen to be here, did you? :P

  2. Thanks for letting me use your photo.

    Unfortunately I'm a new member so I wasn't there in Brazil, but great to hear you went to the workshop!