Last weekend, some of my studio families, friends and I took a beginner taiko drumming workshop. It might sound like an unusual activity for a piano studio, but music is music, regardless of instrument. Besides, nothing challenges your sense of rhythm and coordination like playing percussion in a group.
Several months ago, one of my fellow iaidoka (AKA, “The Tiny Samurai”) posed a question to Kim Taylor sensei of Sei Do Kai with regards to beats and budo. Taylor sensei shared some of his thoughts here, then made a reference to me (AKA, “The Tinier Samurai”) to try tackling the question.
When I first began my Iai journey in the mid 2000s, I recognized immediately the many shared themes between music and martial arts. Beats and budo, now this is something that I have been grappling with since Day One.
The theme at last week’s group classes was becoming a bulletproof musician. The idea has been percolating in my mind ever since I discovered Dr. Noa Kageyama’s blog on performance anxiety and mindful practice, called The Bulletproof Musician.
This year, I made two big changes to Maestro's Challenges. The first is that I separated the Musician Survival Skills Challenges and the Music Moxie Challenges. The biggest change, however, is how my students and I are approaching technique. It's been a bit of a gamble, especially with the ones preparing for an exam, but it's paying off.
My searches never quite hit jackpot. That's when I began wandering local craft stores for DIY hair stick ideas. As I stood staring at knitting needles and hat pins, I thought, "This doesn't feel right." It was only once I walked into an Asian grocery store and spied a set of metal chopsticks that the katana hair stick idea began to take shape..