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Drumming Up Interest in Music at Woodhull Elementary

Woodhull Elementary School students learned about taiko drumming with the help of members of the Ryu Shu Kan Japanese Arts Center.
Woodhull Elementary School students learned about taiko drumming with the help of members of the Ryu Shu Kan Japanese Arts Center.

Woodhull Elementary School students were recently treated to a hands-on workshop and demonstration of taiko drumming by the members of the Ryu Shu Kan Japanese Arts Center. 

The performance included historical information about the drumming practice, which originated in the religious customs of Japan nearly 1,500 years ago, and also featured excerpts of 20th century taiko compositions using different styles of drumming.

The Japanese word “taiko” means “big drum,” and when students gathered in the gymnasium to play on seven taiko drums at once, it was indeed a big sound. The workshop reinforced student learning about rhythm as well as the third-grade social studies curriculum, which focuses in part on Japanese culture.

Interest among students in all grades was high. They asked about how the drums were made, where they could be found today, and whether people make a living out of performing taiko music. 

“I’m never leaving this place!” said kindergartner John Tsaousis, after enjoying his turn on a drum.


Photos provided by the Fire Island School District

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