Students are putting their drumming skills to the test by signing up to Norville State School's taiko drumming club for the year ahead.
According to Japanese teacher Damien Belz, the style of drumming was introduced to students to coincide with their Japanese studies and to help children gain confidence and skills.
“Norville’s previous Japanese teacher Kyoko Watanabe wanted to start a taiko club here at school in around 2008,” he said.
“She raised money and managed to order some drums from Japan but they hit a snag – as they’re made of hide the heads had to be radiation treated when they went through customs making them brittle so we had all sorts of trouble with drums popping.
“When I came along in 2010 we managed to source some replacement skins, and make some practice drums from car tyres and packing tape.
“Luckily taiko is becoming more popular in Australia so we are now able to source drums and equipment locally.”
Damien said taiko was a form of traditional Japanese drumming that had been rising in popularity around the world in recent years.
“Drums have been used in Japanese culture for a very long time and they can often be seen at festivals and celebrations all over Japan,” he said.
“Norville has always taken Japanese very seriously by providing a Japanese classroom, skype sessions with a school in Japan and visits from Bundaberg State High School Japanese students so taiko is also an extension of this valuing of Japanese culture within our school.”
Damien said the school Taiko Club was made up of students in Year 5 and 6.
“We do tryouts at the beginning of each school year looking for students who display responsibility, teamwork and rhythm,” he said.
“We usually keep membership to around 20 students because of the number of drums available and for safety reasons.”
Damien said the students gained many skills by being part of the taiko drumming group.
“Taiko develops confidence, strength and teamwork in addition to the obvious musical skills,” he said.
“We do not perform with music in front of us like most instrumental groups that operate at the primary school level so students are required to remember the entirety of the songs – including the parts that they don’t usually play so that they know where to start playing and so that they can fill in for other players if they are absent.”
Damien said the group performed at the Norville State School Gala Concert and this year would also take the stage at the school’s Jubilee Celebrations.
“We also perform for special events such as Chinese New Year and were also lucky enough to be invited to perform during the Mayor of Settsu City’s visit to Bundaberg for the sister city celebrations,” he said.
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