Taiko Drumming Interview with Student 2

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00:00:00 - Permission to Record and Enjoyment of Taiko

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Partial Transcript: I: Alright then. Uh, let’s get to the first question. Um, generally speaking, how would you describe your level of enjoyment in taiko?

S: Um. If I had to give it a number, I don’t know—I don’t know that I could really easily, but I definitely have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Uh, I went to the performance last semester and didn’t really think, when I signed up for the class, I would enjoy it at all. But it’s actually been really fun. It’s a good way for me to kind of relax for a little bit—even though you’re doing stuff, it’s not, like, super stressful. It’s just fun. You get to play music for a little while. Um, most everyone has fun with it, I think.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee gives permission to record and answers a question about her level of enjoyment of taiko.

Keywords: class; enjoyment; music; relax; taiko

Subjects: Music.; Performance.; Taiko (Drum ensemble)

00:00:45 - What is Enjoyable or Enriching About Taiko

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Partial Transcript: I: Alright. Um, what is it about taiko that you find enjoyable or enriching, if anything?

S: Um. Well, like I said, it’s kind of li—fun to relax, but I like being able to do stuff with my hands and stuff, so obviously, if you're drumming, you’re doing stuff with your hands. Um. And it doesn’t really require a lot of thinking, like a class would, where you’re like, “Oh, trying to figure out a math problem or whatever.” I’m a science person, so I’m, you know, doing that kind of stuff. It’s just more, uh, like you just feel the music and you don’t have to do as much thinking, and I kinda like that.

I: Alright so, um, what area of science do you study?

S: Chemistry.

I: Chemistry?

S: Yeah.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee answers question about what she likes about taiko.

Keywords: drumming; enjoyable; enriching; hands; taiko

Subjects: General education; Taiko (Drum ensemble)

00:02:09 - Why Taiko? What is the class like?

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Partial Transcript: I: And how did you ultimately land on taiko drumming?

S: I-I—It, like, it fit into my schedule. Um. My roommate t-w—took the taiko lab, and she suggested the taiko lab. Um. I—you know. It was kinda like, why not?

I: Alright. Um. Does the taiko class, in your experience—um, is it more geared towards, like, performance preparation and technique, um education about, like, the genre, like different practices in it, or just education about its roots. Like, which of those areas would you say is the most—you spend the most time in class on?

S: Um, we definitely spend the most time on actual performance and, like, how to mechanically, I guess, do it right timing wise. Um. We haven’t spent a whole lot—especially, like, in lab on the roots of taiko. Uh, we definitely spend some time talking about, like, groups now. Like Kodo for example, and how they, you know, perform and other performing groups and how—like, “Oh, our piece is like theirs!” or “if you guys watch their piece, see them do this.” But most of it’s definitely performing.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee answers a questions regarding why she chose taiko and what class is like.

Keywords: genre; music; performance; taiko

Subjects: General education; Performance.; Taiko (Drum ensemble)

00:03:12 - Strength in Taiko

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Partial Transcript: I: Alright. Um, would you say that taiko is physically difficult to perform?

S: Um. I think it can definitely be physically difficult. Um, at least for me, learning how to hit the drum properly took a little while. Um, and I’m still, like, obviously not at—I’m not great at it still. And I know a lot of people who are in the, ugh, like, for the lecture who don’t take the lab find it difficult compared to, like, Gamelan and the African drumming. Um, and besides just, like, actually hitting the drum properly, um, in one of the pieces we do, we like run around in circles for a minute or two, and after a while everyone’s, you know, out of breath and really tired. So it’s not just, you know, hard to learn, but it can be physically demanding. And then, like, if you watch Kodo, like, they'll jump around and stuff like that, or like they'll lean back and bang on the drums, and you just see them, like, pouring down sweat. So, I would say it’s-it’s—it’s work.

I: Alright, um. You’ve brought up, um, uh, that you have both the lab and the lecture for this class, so what do you in each of those, respectively.

S: Um—

I: Or, what’s your description of it?

S: So, lecture, we spend some time learning Gamelan and then West African drumming as well, and w—we’ve been learning one piece called “[Renshu?],” um and it’s a pretty basic piece. Uh, I think it’s called—its title, like if you translate it, means, like, “learning.” So you’re just like learning the basics of taiko, um, and then the lab performances are a little—they’re still not super difficult, but they’re a little more complicated because all we do in—in lab is perform y—for an hour and fifteen minutes to taiko. And a lot of people have already taken the lab before, so they kinda know what they’re doing. Um. But I would still, yeah—I think—yeah, that’s probably the main difference.

I: Okay, um. To what extent would you agree with the statement “taiko makes me feel strong”?

S: Um. To what extent would I agree?

I: You don’t have to assign a number (S: Okay) or anything. Just give your thoughts on it.

S: Um. I would say I agree, like, um, if you…it’s a lot of, like, arm work, and you—you kind of—I’ve noticed that like my forearms are getting a little more, like, defined from hitting the drum so much. Um, and it definitely—you know, you can tell the difference when you’re hitting the drum versus, like, not. But—I—so I guess, like, maybe physically strong, but not, like, mentally strong, if that makes any sense. I don’t know that it does. I think it’s more, like, a physical kind of thing.

I: Mhm. Okay, uh, what would you say your level of comfort is, or, how would y—how would , you describe your experience of just the sheer volume of taiko—you know, just, like, how loud you are?

S: Um, it can get pretty loud. You can feel it in the room. When practicing downstairs you can, like, feel it vibrating off the walls and like off the drums. It’s not as—it’s not as bad when it’s just one person—when it’s a big group it’s pretty loud.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee responds to questions about strength and volume in taiko.

Keywords: Kodo; demanding; difficult; strong

Subjects: Muscle strength; Taiko (Drum ensemble); Volume perception

00:06:32 - Gender in Taiko

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Partial Transcript: I: (chuckles). Um, do you think an individual’s gender influences their experience of taiko?

S: Um. You know, I would—I would like to say no, but I think, like, if you—‘cause we’re reading a—a book for, um, our lecture portion that talks about, like, gender and taiko. Um, and I think—especially if you get, like, more in Japan kind of oriented instead of here—in the U.S. it’s not as big of a deal. You know, I’m sure it’s a little bit different ‘cause, you know, just from physically speaking, the guys are taller, and it’s harder to get to the drum. I think in Japan it’s—there’s a lot of st—of stigma against women when they play taiko. It’s like “It’s a man’s thing!” So, you know, women it’s like “Eh, it’s too—it’s too many for women.” Um, and that’s not as big of a deal here in the U.S., I don’t think. But I think if we get, like, more in Japan and get really…like with those kind of groups’ level of taiko, it’s definitely an issue.

I: Um, may I ask the name of the book you are reading?

S: Um…Taiko Boom by, um, Bender.

I: Um. Could you perhaps narrow your, uh, or narrow your answer about the experience of gender in taiko, perhaps to just your own class? Like, how—based on what you’ve seen what is the level of comfort between genders in rehearsal?

S: Um, I mean, I think everyone gets along fine, and there’s not really a big gender divide in our class. I think in—in our class, some of the women are the better performers in our class. Um, there’s not that much of a difference other than the guys have to squat down more to get closer to the drum.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee responds to questions about gender and taiko

Keywords: Japan; divide; gender; taiko; women

Subjects: Gender; Taiko (Drum ensemble); Women

00:08:23 - Recomendation to Friends and General Interest in Foreign Musics

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Partial Transcript: I: Alright. Um, if you had to…if s—would you be willing to recommend taiko to a friend, or would you feel compelled to?

S: Yeah, I’ve tried to talk some of my friends into playing, but I don’t think they’re going to. They have other stuff.

I: Alright, um. Let’s see…I’m trying to think how to phrase this question. Um…has taiko led to an broadening curiosities about other foreign musics.

S: Um, it’s definitely increased my curiosity about taiko. I didn’t really care at all about a lot of—honestly—a lot of international musics, but I think, like, taiko, in my lecture part, has definitely increased my curiosity. Um. I don't know—other than, like, the ones I’ve learned about , you know, for my music class. I don’t think it’s increased it about those a whole lot, but I would—I think it would be cool to like be able to go to, like, Japan or something and learn more about taiko.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee responds to questions about whether or not she wuld recommend the class to friends and what the class has done for her interest in foreign musics.

Keywords: Japan; curiosity; recommend; taiko

Subjects: Gamelan; Japan.; Taiko (Drum ensemble)

00:11:13 - Conclusion and Thanks

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Partial Transcript: I: Alright. Well, I think that’s about all I have for you (S: Alright), so thank you very much for helping me out.

S: No problem.

Keywords: Thank; you

Subjects: Interviewer thanks interviewee and concludes interview.