Extensive experience teaching both traditional and contemporary taiko styles.
Isaku Kageyama is a taiko artist and instructor at Los Angeles Taiko Institute with extensive experience teaching both traditional and contemporary taiko styles. He 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 trained for over 20 years with Tokyo-based taiko ensemble Amanojaku.
From 2011-2014, Isaku was the resident taiko instructor at Wellesley University and the University of Connecticut, and has held taiko clinics at Berklee College of Music, Brown University, Rochester Institute of Technology, North American Taiko Conference, East Coast Taiko Conference, and Intercollegiate Taiko Invitationals.
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.
Isaku’s extensive experience both on stage and in the recording studio has allowed him to serve a wide range of organizations and objectives including Asano Taiko US, the Japan Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and Taiko Community Alliance.
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 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, 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 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 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.
In this GarageBand tutorial, we’ll be learning how to create a demo of your taiko composition. GarageBand is a free Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for MacOS. You can use GarageBand to create, refine, and share your musical ideas.
By the end of this video, you will be able to record your musical ideas using the included software taiko instruments.
The Hot Licks lesson series incorporates a wide range of musical influences and applies them to taiko. In the first lesson, we draw on the Steve Gadd “flutter lick” – which is an para-diddle-diddle-diddle. We adapt this rhythm to work in a Bon Daiko/Midare Uchi context. Recommended for advanced players only.
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 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.
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/Kenka Yatai” Composed by Yoichi Watanabe
Bon Daiko Tutorial
Bon Daiko Online Course
Hot Licks 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