Expanding our Percussion Horizons

On Sunday, March 1, we invited Ryan Gates to give a special Doumbek workshop at the Taiko Center. Besides having some fun and learning something new, everyone benefited from learning new rhythm patterns, making connections between the Doumbek and Taiko drums and remembering what it is like to try something new for the first time.

We had a great time and plan to invite Ryan back for more workshops in the future.


March Calendar

Our schedule of classes for March. If there is inclement weather, please verify that classes are being held. In general, if Novi Schools are closed because of the weather, we also cancel classes.


Taiko Center Class Calendar - February 2014

Here is the calendar for classes at the Great Lakes Taiko Center for February 2014.

Keep in mind, if Novi Schools are closed because of inclement weather, the Taiko Center will not hold classes that day.



A Special Visit and Taiko Workshops

Last week the students of the Great Lakes Taiko Center were privileged to have a visit and workshop from Takeru Matsushita of Wadaiko Yamato The Drummers of Japan.

Our relationship with Yamato goes back to 1999, long before we ever dreamed of opening our own taiko school in Michigan. Over the years, that relationship has been a big part of the success of the Great Lakes Taiko Center and I can say without hesitation that if that connection did not exist, it is likely the Great Lakes Taiko Center would not exist either.  We owe them a debt of gratitude and are grateful for the continued relationship.

On Tuesday, November 5. Takeru-san visited our Taiko Center for two workshops. The first was a 60 minute workshop for our younger students. The average age was probably around 9 years old, but we did have a 3-year-old (!) student who participated as well.  Takeru san taught a simple song and then worked with participants on playing expressively, playing together (not just at the same time) and being able to get into kamae (a ready stance) as quickly as possible. Everyone had a great time, laughed a lot and learned a lot.

Later, Takeru-san led a two-hour workshop for our adult students. We had participants with many years of experience, as well as some that had only began learning taiko 3 weeks prior. Although it may have been a little intimidating for the newer students at first, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

In the second workshop we learned many “secret” tips about playing stance, why it is important to be able to “sing” a song, not just play it on the drum and playing together. We even tried an enlightening exercise where pairs had to hold hands and play one drum.

We are happy that we could have two great workshops. We all learned a lot and hope that we can use what we learned to become even better taiko players.  Would you like to learn the “secret” tips we got from these workshops? Then I guess you’ll have to sign up for a taiko class ... and you can do that right here: Taiko Classes.

Thank you, Takeru-san! We hope you can come to visit again soon!


Should I Learn to Play Taiko Drums? (Yes! Yes, you should!)

Should I learn to play Taiko drums?

If you want to learn to play Taiko and you are debating whether or not you can, the answer to this question is probably “yes”. In my own personal experience, I wanted to learn taiko drums for many years, but was hesitant because I didn’t think that I could.  There were numerous concerns holding me back, but once I decided to give it a try, I found that all of those fears were unfounded. What are some of the reasons you might be hesitant to join a taiko class?


I’m too old/too young.

Probably not.

Age is not really a factor. Taiko truly is an art form that can be enjoyed at just about any age. At the Taiko Center we have students as young as 2 years old and as old as 70! And 70 is by no means an age limit. 70, 80, 90 years old... everyone is welcome!




I am not a musician.

No problem! Many of our students come to us with little or no musical background. We teach our classes in such a way that musicians, as well as non-musicians are able to participate, learn, succeed and enjoy themselves.








I don’t have the physical stamina/body type for taiko drumming.

I admit, this held me back for quite sometime. Many people are introduced to taiko drumming at a concert given by professional taiko drummers like Kodo, Yamato or Tao. At the concerts you may have seen something like this...

...slightly intimidating, to say the least. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these touring groups are professional performers and the physically demanding nature of their program is indeed, part of the performance.  The majority of people who enjoy playing taiko all around the world have much more average body types.

On the other hand, it is not hard to work up a sweat playing taiko drums and I wouldn’t be the first person taiko has inspired to live a more healthy lifestyle (which are two great reasons to start playing taiko).


Start up costs are too expensive.

The only required start up investment to start taking taiko lessons at the Great Lakes Taiko Center is for a pair of sticks ($8).  We provide drums for you to play in class and at performances.  What about practicing at home? We teach many methods in class, which you can use to practice at home without a drum.  Of course, if you would like to purchase your own drum, we can help you with that, but it is certainly not required.




 I don’t like to perform in front of people.

Then don’t do it. Performing on the stage for an audience is a wonderful growth experience and a good, motivating goal.  At the Taiko Center, we try to provide you with various opportunities throughout the year to perform in a group, but they are always optional and if you would rather not perform, we respect that decision.




As you can see, taiko drumming is a very user friendly art form.  Although there are many highly skilled players, the entry level is also very accessible to the average person.  If you can hold on to a stick and hit a drum, you can play taiko.  No matter your age, race, gender, fitness level, etc. you are welcome at the Taiko Center.

There are openings for entry level classes starting in January. If you are interested in signing up please visit our Class Registration page. If you have questions, concerns, or would like to come to visit/watch a class sometime, write to raion.taiko@gmail.com or call 248-773-8899.

Don’t wait 5 years to try taiko like I did. Give it a try now and join us. You’ll be glad you did!