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, Drum Lessons, Percussion Lessons for all ages.
My Lincoln Heights studio has plenty of parking, Wi-Fi, and a waiting lounge!
Weekdays from 6PM-10PM / Saturdays from 10AM-2PM
Rates: $60/hr or $225/month (total 4hrs)
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
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, known as “Matsuri” in the US, is a folkloric style of drumming from the Kanto region of Japan. It was popularized by Sukeroku Daiko, who developed the style from a folk tradition to 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.
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.
Concert Planning and Stage Management
Planning a concert can be daunting. This workshop breaks down the process and goes over the specific tasks, and when they need to be done. This workshop can take the form of a presentation at a conference or a group consultation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This workshop is designed to put a professional polish on upcoming performances. An important part of this workshop is rehearsal planning, smoothening out transitions between pieces, and general stage etiquette, such as when and how to enter and exit the stage. I also consult on broader questions such as song order, venue setup and general logistics. All ages and levels of experience welcome.