My name is Liz Walters and I founded the Tamashii School of Taiko in 2000.
‘Tamashii’ in Japanese means ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ – a pure and raw manifestation from deep within resulting in an open and honest expression of the ‘here and now’.
I first discovered Taiko drumming in 1996 watching the incredible Wadaiko Ichiro on stage at the Hackney Empire in London and was inspired (despite suffering crippling shyness), to attend a Taiko workshop. I had no idea that not only would I love it, but that it was about to change my entire life and subsequently the lives of many many hundreds of people.
The discipline and power of Japanese Taiko resonated so deeply within me, that I went on to train to a professional level both in the UK and in Japan.
I facilitate tailored workshops and seminars throughout the UK and internationally and hold regular classes in London.
I am also creative director of the professional and dynamic performance group Tamashii Daiko.
My love and passion for teaching is all about how it awakens and brings to life something within each participant; helping shy people find their courage, fragmented groups to work as successful teams, individuals to get an understanding who they really are and to achieve a state of deep physical and mental well-being. Taiko is truly an activity for everybody.
Come join us!
HISTORY OF TAIKO
The word ‘Taiko’ simply translates to ‘drum’, but it is now widely understood to mean the art of taiko drumming.
Taiko originates from Japan, where is has been used for many centuries, although it is believed that similar instruments also existed in current day China, Korea and even as far as India.
Taiko was mainly used in a military capacity, but then adopted by buddhism and shintoism as a sacred instrument. Over the centuries it has been integrated into performance art and culture throughout Japan and more recently made popular through the performances of ensemble groups.
There are a variety of different kinds of Taiko drums, rhythm patterns and playing styles. The ‘kata’ stance or posture adopted by players is very similar to that used in martial arts and both traditions teach the individuals to focus on the ‘hara’ or centre of being.
Do I Need Any Previous Experience Of Drumming?
Not at all. When we run group workshop, we always work at a pace that suits everybody. If you want to join our weekly classes, we will put you in the group with the level of experience that suits you best.
What Do I Need To Bring?
We suggest you wear comfortable clothing and flat comfortable shoes. Like what you might wear to the gym. Drumming can be vigorous and the stance we use is wide, so tight restrictive clothing is not a good idea.
I'm Not Very Coordinated, Can I Still Join?
Of course! One of things we believe Taiko is great for is learning to feel the rhythm and learning to trust your body. We have members of all different levels of ability and we want you to enjoy the experience of drumming.
Will I Need To Buy Any Special Equipment?
We provide all the drums and equipment for group workshops and classes so strictly speaking no.
If you are planning on joining our ongoing, weekly classes, the only thing we suggest you buy at some stage is a pair of your own Bachi (Taiko drum sticks) which we sell at the classes.
You can buy Taiko drums (please ask for recommendations) but we also know that it might not be so practical for those living in innercity London.
How Can I Practise At Home?
There are several ways you can practise at home without your own drums.
We advise that students of the weekly classes write down the rhythms learnt in each class so that you can practise these at home. We sometimes make recordings as well which you can follow.
Use your hands! Slap your thighs, table, whatever doesn’t annoy your neighbours too much.
OR using the Bachi (Taiko drum sticks) you can beat an old pillow or even an old tyre.