Kunihiro Kawahara teaches the Mitsuuchi practice piece composed by Toshiaki Nomoto, director of Hiryu Hachiman Taiko in Fukuoka, Japan. Mitsuuchi, or horse beat, is one of the most essential rhythms used in the taiko repertoire of Japan that they often say: “Begin with Mitsuuchi, End with Mitsuuchi.”

This Mitsuuchi practice piece covers different mitsuuchi variations and combinations. It is structured as a series of nine short phrases, from simple basics to more difficult applications.

It may be helpful to review the notes on the downloadable music sheet provided in advance and familiarizing yourself with the beat variations. This practice piece can be very useful in improving the basic skills of beginner players as well as experienced players, with respect to:
– how to make the various sound including sticking
– how to move and to stop the bachi and arms
– how to utilize the hitting surface
– how to give power to the first and last sounds, or the sound just before the break
– how to train the arm opposite to your dominant arm

Practice until you can hit equally well whether you start from the right or left hand, and again repeatedly at different speeds. Improving this skill will broaden your overall taiko experience to the next level. Good luck!

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