We were invited to visit the Explorer Scouts in Carmarthen by their leader Siriol Butterworth, as she thought that “Taiko drumming would be an activity that our Explorers would really enjoy”. Wow, was she correct!!
Five of us arrived, with a van full of drums which the Explorer Scouts willingly helped us take into the hall. After setting up the drums, Sarah gave a brief explanation of the background of Taiko drumming, including naming the different drums we had brought, after which we performed three pieces from our repertoire.
Clearly keen to try this new skill for themselves, the explorers selected a pair of “bachi” (drumsticks) each and took up their positions by the drums. Sarah taught the basics to the group, starting off with simple beats using right-left technique followed by each member of Aber Taiko playing a call and response line, which was well received. Progression to learning a 4-line piece followed, which the whole group learnt and played confidently.
After this, they were split into 4 groups and given the task to compose their own piece of 4 bars, which they would perform, in turn, to the rest of the group. There was practising, much noise of beating drums (and occasionally cymbals!!), some choreography and a lot of laughter before their performances. The improvement was really noticeable as they played more and we all encouraged players as they performed. To finish the session, the leaders were invited to join the group and to play the initial 4-line piece that the explorers had learnt.
We were warmly welcomed into the group with enthusiasm and felt that our visit was great fun, not just for the explorers and leaders, but also for us as a representative group of Aber Taiko. On chatting afterwards, we would hope that we could extend this opportunity to other similar groups in our local area. Who knows, in the future, there may even be a “Taiko drumming badge” for explorers to work towards!