Taiko Learning Resources

Soh Daiko performs Hachidan-uchi at East Coast Taiko Conference 2019.

Training & Reference Materials

Taiko Basics PDF
The basics of Playing Taiko, Taiko Glossary, the taiko kuchishogo mnemonic system, a practice rhythm exercise, Renshu, Miyake, & Ni-Yon Matsuri Daiko.
Download/View PDF

Super-basic Introduction to Taiko video
We recently posted Prelude: Intoduction to Taiko on our YouTube Playlist. This is the instructional content from the Shangö’s Gate Livestream Session from March 29, 2020 – cleaned up and with titles and diagrams added. It is just the barest TASTE of the taiko world. The video includes some background and history of Taiko and the drums, some basics of playing in the naname-uchi style, kuchishoga, and introduces the Taiko songs Renshu, and Matsuri Daiko. Enjoy!

Update – Individual videos have been extracted for Renshu and Matsuri, with run-throughs and kuchishoga diagrams for each line of both songs.

Please see The Taiko Page for resources for Renshu, Matsuri and Miyake.

SMT Introduction Sequence

Introduction, Kasmir & Levee

A recording in three parts of our Introduction Segment, including the Led Zeppelin riffs they are based on. One - the segments of “Kasmir” and “When The Levee Breaks” that the rhythms are based on. Two - The Taiko rhythms overlaid over the riffs. Three - The full Introduction Segment in Chudaiko and Shimedaiko to practice with. Heartbeat Jiuchi, 4 Don Call, 4 Don Response, Kasmir, Levee. Now go practice! Renshu shimasu!
Download 4.6 MB

NEW -Intro Sequence - Patterns, & Arrangement
Outline and arrangement of the SMT Introduction Segment, with kuchishoga notation and cues.
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Odaiko Basic Arrangement PDF
Description and diagram of the choreography of a very basic “beginner” expression of Odaiko.
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Odaiko Drill PDF
The Kuchishoga, Patterns and Sticking to a very useful Odaiko Drill from Tengu Taiko in the UK. Useful for chudaiko practice as well. Right proper thupmy.
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Raku - Notation and Sheet Music
The Notation for Raku in kuchishoga and western notation for the chu-daiko and the sheet music for the fue (flute) part.
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Raku - Patterns, Kuchishoga & Sticking
The Notation for Raku in kuchishoga with Sticking diagrams
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Raku, Fue - 6X

A recording of the fue (flute) part of Raku by Shidara with the cues and kakegoe (shouts) for Raku to practice with. Lead-in, then song repeats 6X. For planned arrangement, on the 4th rep, click bachi and pick up the chu- part on the 5th rep.
Download 7.5 MB

Izakaya Groove

Izakaya Grove - Main Patterns & Kuchishoga
Kuchishoga and memnonics for the pimary patterns of Izakaya Grove by Rome Hamner.
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Izakaya Grove - Simplified Arrangement
A simplified and streamlined arrangement of Rome Hamner’s Izakaya Grove
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Here's Pittsburgh Taiko performing a Full Version of Izakaya Groove at Sakura Taiko Takeover 2023 in Washinton, DC. (YouTube)

Izakaya Grove - Base Jiuchi Pattern

A recording of the primary jiuchi pattern of Izakaya Groove, in 78 and 96 BPM, with breakdown and kuchishoga.
Download 6.4 MB

Izakaya Grove - Main Patterns, 78 bpm

A recording of the main patterns of Izakaya Groove with memonics and kuchishoga in 78 BPM.
Download 21 MB

Izakaya Grove - Main Patterns, 96 bpm

A recording of the main patterns of Izakaya Groove with memonics and kuchishoga in 96 BPM.
Download 9 MB

Shangö No Daiko

“Shangö’s Drums.” A pair of rhythms to honor the Yoruba/Santeria orisha Shangö, our namesake and patron deity, the orisha of drumming, dancing, thunder, fire, male virility, and leadership. Adaptations for Taiko of traditional African djembe rhythms. Ile Shangö yo dou. Mo juba Shangö!

Shangö No Daiko - Main Patterns, Kuchishoga & Chants
Kuchishoga diagrams and primary patterns of Shangö No Daiko; with the chants.
[ Updated 2/21/24. ]
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Shangö No Daiko: Part One* - Chant & Pattern, 96 bpm

A recording of the Part One pattern of Shangö No Daiko with the First Chant by “Lunacy” in 96 BPM, separate, kuchishoga, and integrated. Drum and sing at the same time!
[ *Updated 3/17/24 to correct a small error in the chant. ]
Download 4.5 MB

Shangö No Daiko; Part Two - Main Patterns, 76 bpm

A recording of the Part Two pattern for Shangö No Daiko with kuchishoga at 76 BPM, nice and confortable tempo for practice.
Download 3.3 MB

Shangö No Daiko; Part Two - Main Patterns, 128 bpm

A recording of the Part Two pattern for Shangö No Daiko with kuchishoga at 128 BPM, at roughly performance pace.
Download 3.3 MB

Tamiko’S Drill

A short song designed as a teaching drill by Tamiko Ooda of NYC’s Soh Daiko. Played to the “swing” Jiuchi, this is easy to learn and gain confdence with, with enough variation to keep it interesting. Kurt brought this one back from East Coast Taiko Conference 2024. We’re playing with an SMT arrangement.

Tamiko’s Drill - Main Patterns & Kuchishoga
Kuchishoga diagrams and primary patterns of Tamiko’s Drill.
Download/View PDF

Tamiko’s Drill - 96 bpm

A recording of Tamiko’s Drill with the kuchishoga and the song played over the “Swing” juichi at 96 BPM, a relaxed pace for practice – (Updated 4.18.24).
Download 3.3 MB

Tamiko’s Drill - 128 bpm

A recording of Tamiko’s Drill with the kuchishoga and the song played over the “Swing” juichi at 128 BPM, closer to performace pace – (Updated 4.18.24).
Download 3.9 MB

For more resources & Demos, visit our Instructional Videos Page.
If you want to learn more about Taiko, Visit our Taiko Page

Shangö’s small 17" Eisa-Odaiko and his “Big Brother”, an 24" Okinawan Nagado Chu-Daiko.

if you are interested in additional workshops, regular classes in this dynamic and expressive Japanese Drumming art, or joining Shangö Mountain Taiko, please contact us.

Back to the Shangö Mountain Taiko Page

Sessions & Classes

Shangö Taiko Player Kurt Griffith is interested in cultivating more local Taiko players. More players, more fun, more DON! Please contact us if you are interested in workshops or training with Shangö Mountain Taiko in this dynamic and expressive Japanese drumming.

We’re continuting our training sessions and we are accepting new trainees. The most important requirement for new players is showing up! Please see our Training Session Schedule. If you're interested in participating please contact us.

Find out more here. Please Email Us for more information or with any questions. 

Help Us Out!

Being a new group, we need pretty much everything, but mostly DRUMS! Taiko Drums are scary expansive, it’s the main barrier to entry for Taiko! Domo arigato gozaimasu for however you can help!

Donate to Shangö Mountain Taiko!

COVID-19 GUIDANCE – The safety of our drum community is always our first priority. We still recommend to please take all appropriate health precautions and practice good hygiene and steps to prevent illness as recommended by the CDC.
If you’ve tested positive, feeling unwell, or need to isolate, no problem! It's absolutely okay to say home and miss one. We certainly understand, and we do want to protect each other. Recover, get healthy, and we’ll see you next time!

Drum safe! Yassai!