Arugakki U

Arugakki U

Phase 2 courses (Feb 2023 ~ Feb 2024)

Goal:  Lay the technical foundation for the music of our touring set (based on Seattle 2022 set).  Current plan: 2023 fundamentals practice, 2024 rehearsals and prep, 2025 tour.

Tour goals

  • music is an offering to the artform of taiko
  • music is integrated with and representative of my and Minh's daily life
  • intimate, live-performance of whole-body music is what we need
  • deepen personal bonds with family, friends, lovers
  • set
    1) Sinter
    2) Radiddlepa
    3) Herd? / Suga? / Isis?
    4) Karc / Jack Bazaar
    5) Distracted Driving
    6) Looper, electronics, Continuum
    7) Nidan?

Class design requirements

  • each class should integrate in a unique way with MK daily life or relationship
  • MK 120 min total practice x 5 days a week (plus K 30 min prep prior)
  • drills should have depth, and be given time to sink in
  • visual aids, recordings
    - inspire: reward progress, re-kindle goals, messages from taiko friends, M obituary
    - simplify: capture names, notate drills, widen perspective
    - timeline


Techniques required, by song


  • two-handed simultaneous strikes
  • press roll: short, med, long. anywhere within bar
  • dang/gang with light sticks: on 2/4, anywhere within bar


  • counting: 44455, 55566, 66677, 77799, 8881010
  • keyboard + Continuum
  • Herding on taiko

Jack Bazaar jiuchi

  • loud v soft
  • metronome: &, e, u, diminishing clicks
  • 10 different setups

Distracted Driving




Techniques required (with uses by song)

Small-drum technique

  • single-stroke rolls
  • loud v soft
  • paradiddle


Improv (hearing a rhythm and being able to play it)




Odd times

Large strike


Aux. Enjoyment

Physical exercise


Connection to place / community

Multi-sensory experience

Relationship building






Phase 1 courses (Nov 2022 ~ Dec 2022)

The approach to courses outlined below was inspiring for about two months.  Minh was feeling a bit adrift artistically and expressed excitement about a 2023 practice focus, leading to the Phase 2 Arugakki U courses.

MINH -------------------

ONGOING   Hip Exercises
Started: May 15, 2022

WITHDREW   Intro to Stick Control
Started: Nov 15, 2022
Withdrew: Dec 15, 2022
Thoughts: Couldn't stick with it (ha ha!).  I didn't have a course outline (class time expectations, goals, etc) for myself so I lost motivation.

COMPLETED   30 Days to Better Shime
Started: Oct 11, 2022
Completed: Nov 9, 2022
Thoughts: single-stroke rolls 100 -> 126, ten teke 100 -> 121.  Memorized and learned useful drills.  Experienced value of diminishing click and hard start practice (those two had the highest failure rates.  i.e. different tempos, own ji with lots of space was really hard.)  Learned that ergonomics -- being able to easily read the printing of the chart, for example -- was important. 

WITHDREW   Zoia First Steps
Started: Dec 1, 2022
Withdrew: Dec 10, 2022
Thoughts: Watched a few videos and turned it on and tried things but it wasn't inspiring.  I didn't have the right setup... needed mixer and more understanding before I could actually start hearing things.  With all the other things I wanted to do, I kept choosing other things before realizing I should just drop out of this class.


KRIS ----------------

ONGOING   A New Knee with Katy Ewalt
Started: Oct 11, 2022

COMPLETED   Herd Pocket Search: First build
Started: Dec 10, 2022
Completed: Jan 17, 2023
Thoughts: Practice culminated in the recording (Ardour Herd-timeline-experiments_221218) of a series of patterns 44455, 55566, 66677 that I was pleased with.  The pocket still needs a lot of work but more exploration of variations with the Perc click going and more recording will likely help.

WITHDREW   Pocket Practice: New Breed
Started: Oct 11, 2022
Withdrew: Dec 18, 2022
Thoughts: I thought I might enjoy alternating working on Herd and working from New Breed but the Herd rewrite is anxiety-inducing, so I want to solve those compositional problems immediately.  I imagine I'll take New Breed back up when I'm at a high point in the Herd rollercoaster, or done with it altogether.  Minh might enjoy joining then too.  I do fear losing my dream of completing New Breed, but typing that fact out provides enough calm.

COMPLETED   Cymbal Exploration: From Jazz to Trap
Started: Oct 11, 2022
Completed: Dec 10, 2022
Thoughts: Techniques discovered and practiced include: R knuckle taps build, R foot mute, two-hand jazz 3's, bristle wobbles, tang ding.  Ardour recording of improv over Stormzy-inspired groove.  Ending this class only because I want to focus on Herd groove.  Will create additional cymbal class(es) later... perhaps recreating Joyner Lucas' "Isis" feel.


BOTH -----------------

ONGOING   Fall in Love with Nidan: Play and Practice
Started: Oct 11, 2022