More Bon Taiko Lessons

Classic Obon Songs, the history, lyrics, and how to play them

Berklee College of Music Graduate (Magna Cum Laude)
Longy School of Music of Bard College (Master of Arts)
Resident Taiko Instructor at Wellesley, UConn 2011-2014.
Workshops and Clinics at Berklee, Brown, Stanford, and more
California Credentialed Music Teacher

Taiko Lessons by Isaku Kageyama

Isaku Kageyama holds a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Longy School of Music of Bard College, and a California Teaching Credential in Music. He currently teaches at Los Angeles Taiko Institute.

From 2011-2014, Isaku was the resident taiko instructor at Wellesley University and the University of Connecticut, and has held taiko clinics at Berklee, Stanford, Brown, Cornell, the North American Taiko Conference in 2011 and 2015, and the East Coast Taiko Conference from 2011-2015. He has held workshops across the US, Japan, UK, and Brazil.

As a music educator, Isaku completed his Student Teaching in LA Unified School District, and has taught after school programs at Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, Quincy Jones Elementary School, and Yokohama International School.

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What people are saying

“A great role model for how to play taiko and live life. Isaku’s honest and encouraging words during practice have really pushed us to be better taiko players.  He is always there to provide guidance and humor when we need it. Our repertoire and skill have grown dramatically thanks to Isaku.  We couldn’t have done it without you – you’re the best!” Karin Darakananda, Wellesley Aiko

“An amazing teacher and performer. Isaku has taught us new methods and techniques that have really helped us grow as taiko performers, all done with a dash of humor. Isaku has held various sessions with us where we have worked on form, striking, soloing, and performance etiquette. Of course, we can’t forget about the “very fun” odaiko sessions he has taught us as well. Without him, we wouldn’t be where we are now. He has our gratitude and thanks for all he has done for us!” Tim Siu, UConn Taiko

“Seriously, I wish I could have done this many years ago!”  Greg Lambros

“Your demeanor is so approachable, and your sense of humor delightful that it makes learning from you such a positive and uplifting experience.”  Lovelle Yano

“I will be practicing the concepts and techniques you demonstrated and hopefully be able to play them in a recognizable form in a future session.” Scott, Drum Revolution

“Isaku traveled across the Atlantic to teach at, and perform at, my little town in England. The result of this was not simply learning techniques, or even viewing an entertaining performance, but to be truly inspired. The experience rekindled my love for taiko and the ethos that surrounds it, and for that, I am greatly thankful.” Sam Telford, Wem Taiko Festival

Taiko Lessons and Workshops

Agari Yatai Introduction - Amanojaku Repertoire
Bon Daiko (Matsuri) - Traditional Repertoire
Bujin Introduction - Amanojaku Repertoire
Conversations Introduction - Shime Ensemble Repertoire
Naname Fundamentals
Odaiko Fundamentals
Rei Introduction - Odaiko Ensemble Repertoire
Shimedaiko Fundamentals
The Rhythm of Inspiration - School Assembly Program
Agari Yatai Introduction - Amanojaku Repertoire

Agari Yatai was composed by Yoichi Watanabe, leader of Amanojaku, and is a standard piece learned and performed by the group’s students.  Today the piece is performed worldwide, and was featured in a 1200-person performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil.  Full licensing of the piece available upon request.

Bon Daiko (Matsuri) - Traditional Repertoire

Bon Daiko, is a folkloric style of drumming from the Kanto region of Japan that accompanies the Obon Festival.  The style was was popularized by Sukeroku Daiko, who developed the style from a folk tradition into a performing art.  This workshop serves as an introduction to the historical roots and in-depth stylistic characteristics of Bon Daiko.  All ages and experience levels welcome.  Please check out my lesson series here.

Bujin Introduction - Amanojaku Repertoire

Bujin was composed by Yoichi Watanabe, leader of Amanojaku, and is one of the group’s trademark pieces.  Participants will initially learn an abbreviated version of the piece, including the characteristic movements and rhythms.  Licensing of the full composition is available upon request.

Conversations Introduction - Shime Ensemble Repertoire

Conversations is an shime daiko ensemble piece that incorporates elements of Hogaku, Edo Bayashi, and World Percussion.  The piece represents a conversation in the universal language of music.

Naname Fundamentals

This workshop focuses on the grip, stance, and stroke for playing Naname Style.  Introduction to techniques for playing velocities from pianissimo to fortissimo (soft to loud).  Tips for clean motion (kata), as well as for playing common ji patterns.  All ages and experience levels welcome.

Odaiko Fundamentals

Introduction to the grip, stance, and stroke for playing Odaiko.  Focus on creating powerful, dynamic motion and producing a solid sound.  Learn the composition “Agari Yatai” by Yoichi Watanabe, founder of Amanojaku.  All ages and experience levels welcome.

Rei Introduction - Odaiko Ensemble Repertoire

Rei was commissioned by Asano Taiko US and premiered at North American Taiko Conference 2015.  This workshop includes tips and recommendations for playing Odaiko in an ensemble setting.  We will examine use of kata (form) specific to playing Odaiko in an ensemble setting, methods for soloing, and tips for creating a coherent musical experience for the audience.  Intermediate to advanced level.

Shimedaiko Fundamentals

Introduction to fundamentals such as the grip and stroke for shimedaiko.  Expansion of vocabulary based on traditional Edo Bayashi and Kabuki theatre music.  Tips and recommendations for ji playing.  Modern and contemporary performance techniques for expansion and embellishment.  All ages and experience levels welcome.

The Rhythm of Inspiration - School Assembly Program

The Rhythm of Inspiration is an educational taiko drum program for grades 1-8. The unique program is both a music concert and an experiential learning experience, interwoven into an inspiring story.

“Agari Yatai” Composed by Yoichi Watanabe, Performed by Kaoru Watanabe and Isaku Kageyama

Bon Daiko Lesson Series

“Bujin” Composed by Yoichi Watanabe, Performed by Amanojaku

“Conversations” Traditional arranged by Isaku Kageyama

Odaiko Lessons on the Asano Taiko US YouTube Channel

“Rei” Composed by Isaku Kageyama, Performed by Asano Taiko US UnitOne

Intermediate/Advanced Shime Exercises

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Please let me know the date, time, location, no. of participants, etc.

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