Workshops 

Eien Hunter-Ishikawa website Soloing Musically on Taiko at Asano Taiko US November 2014

Taught at:
Asano Taiko US
World Taiko Gathering
North American Taiko Conference
Pacific Northwest Regional Taiko Gathering
Taiko Baka Taiko Gathering
Fue of the Bay
Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational
Taiko Center of the Pacific
Various taiko groups

“Thanks for the terrific workshop, Eien.  Your instruction and presentation was easy to follow and totally helpful.  Just wished it was a lot longer!  Your presentations make me want to strive to be a better taiko player.” - Ruth Vines, Ichimi Daiko

"I believe that Eien is the go-to teacher for taiko players who aspire to be musicians. In addition to his tremendous skill as a taiko player and percussionist what really sets him apart from many other taiko players is the level of musicality that he brings to the art. I consider it my good fortune to have had the opportunity to study with Eien."  - Jacob Derksen, Uminari Taiko

“Thanks for a great class.  It was really well put together and easy to follow for learning the basics.  Hope I get the chance to learn more from you.” - Kiyono Kishi, Stockton Bukkyo Taiko

“Eien’s teaching opened my eyes to what it takes to play drums just like the pros. Instead of just playing the notes on the page, it’s about note placement, feel, groove, and making sure that you can play precisely and consistently every single time. Eien’s lessons will push you to develop your musical sensibilities.” - Chris Holland, Professional Taiko Player, Taiko Shudan Amanojaku 

“Eien is a first-rate instructor who teaches with efficiency, effectiveness, and ease.  He has a unique combination of extensive knowledge, expert skill, and diverse experience, making lessons both enriching and inspiring.  Taking lessons from Eien is one of the best things I have done to improve my drumming.” - Eric Chang


Repertoire Masterclass
Designed for established groups, this workshop involves rehearsing pieces in the repertoire.  Group members will be introduced to various ways to make the music stronger in areas such as togetherness, balance, visual presentation, and overall sound. Exercises directly related to the pieces will be demonstrated so that future rehearsals can run with more purpose and efficiency.

Taiko Sounds and Sticks
This workshop is about getting a wide variety of sounds of out taiko.  We will have hands-on discussion and demo of sticks types and woods as well as alternatives such as mallets and brushes.  Other topics include dynamics, balance, blend, imagery, and stroke mechanics.  Open to all levels.

Atarigane Playing
This workshop will cover some effective techniques for playing the atarigane (hand-held gong).  Topics include: exploration of various sounds, grooves, vocalizing patterns, notation, traditional rhythms, and new applications.  Participants are welcome to bring their own, but practice kane will be provided for use during the workshop.

A Modern Approach to Ji Playing
This workshop is about playing the ji, or underlying groove.  Topics include: useful patterns, time awareness, accompaniment, balance, interaction, sensitivity, and groove.  Discussion and exercises will cover new ideas for practicing and thinking about ji playing.

Soloing Musically on Taiko
This workshop will focus on ideas for soloing on beta-stand taiko.  We will play exercises for improvising on the spot and cover ways to prearrange material ahead of time.  Other topics include listening, dynamics, tempo control, and expression.  This workshop is designed to cover some fundamentals of soloing musically and is open to players of all experience levels.

Small Drum Technique
This workshop will focus on playing smaller taiko with smaller bachi.  Improving small drum technique will strengthen your technique for percussion and larger drums.  Areas to be covered include stick selection, grip, rebound, dynamics, ji uchi (groove playing), and tempo control.  Ideas for practicing at home will be provided along with exercises to help play together in a group.  Please bring a pair of shimedaiko bachi.

Pulse and Ensemble Playing
This workshop will address the concept of the collective musical pulse, or heartbeat, as a foundation for better ensemble playing.  Various exercises for individual practice and group rehearsals will be covered, including listening, subdivision, tempo, dynamics, phrasing, and flexibility.  Our goal is to heighten awareness and to understand the tools involved in helping everyone to play together.

Introduction to Edo Bayashi
Edo Bayashi is the traditional festival music of Edo (the old name for Tokyo).  The ensemble consists of two shimedaiko, one odaiko, one atarigane, and one shinobue.  This music is played throughout the entire festival to accompany the mikoshi (portable shrine) as they are carried through the streets.  Today, Edo Bayashi ensembles can be seen performing on stage during festivals or other celebratory occasions.  The version taught will be in the style of Wakayama Shachu.

Edo Kotobuki Jishi
Commonly translated as "lion dance," the shishi mai of Edo (the old name for Tokyo) consists of one person as the shishi and three accompanying musicians playing taiko, atarigane, and shinobue.  Shishi mai performances are thought to bring good fortune and can often be seen at celebratory occasions.  The version taught will be in the style of Wakayama Shachu.

Shinobue Playing Fundamentals
This workshop will cover the basics of shinobue playing.  Topics will include embouchure, breathing, sound, body position, fingering charts, exercises, and looking at simple folk songs.  No experience is necessary, but participants must bring their own fue.  Any size is acceptable but having 7 finger holes is preferred.

Intermediate Shinobue
This workshop is for shinobue players with some experience on the instrument.  Basics will be reviewed, but most of the time will be spent on how to get to the next level.  Topics may include warm-up exercises, breath control, finger articulation, intonation, dynamics, improvisation, and non-traditional techniques such as tonguing and vibrato.  We will look at a variety of styles including folk melodies, Western songs, original compositions, and participant requests.  Please bring your shinobue and any music you might be working on.