Listed here are are classic and new drills groups and individuals use to help learn Taiko, as well as keep ever deepening skills sharp.

Classic Drills

The Set-Up: Drills are best done to a metronome when possible. A shime player keeping a quarter note Straight-Ji [see Jiuchi (Ji-Basic)] without the aid of a metronome will tend to adjust for the group, leaving everyone thinking things are going better than they really are. To give everyone solid timing training, a simple digital metronome (Example: Korg MA-30), a SmartPhone with metronome app (Example: Musebook’s m30 pendulum style), or a PC using a free online metronome like Taikonome (http://www.taikonome.com) can be plugged into an amplifier with with a double-male plug earbud cable (easily found at local audio store or online). Some amplifiers may need an additional jack adapter: 3.5mm female to 1/4 inch male.

If an amp is not available, have one Atarigane (or Clave) player listen to the metronome through earbuds, keeping the quarter note Ji-pulse for the whole group. The Ji-keeper’s job, stick with the metronome no matter what.

Tip: Start slow then work your way up to faster tempos. The key is to do phrases well, then increase the difficulty with speed. With each practice session though, it’s good to do a few rounds where you push yourself a bit. This helps you identify trouble spots to work on.


Western count: 4/4 time.

To begin, set metronome to 60. Repeat each phrase twice before moving on.

Sticking: R/L Even strokes — R-L R-L R-L R-L

Quarter Rests: iya, hup — vocalized or not. So-re can be used for two quarter note rests in a row at the end of a measure. (So-Re [two quarter notes] and SoRe [one quarter note] are also handy end-of-measure signals called-out over the top of play.)
Whole note: 1 [2-3-4] = JON [hup, So-re] {JON = RL Simultaneous single hit}. Other optional: 2xDON R-L single hits.

Half notes: 1 [2] 3 [4] = Don [hup] Don [iya]

(1) hit per quarter note (= quarter notes): 1-2-3-4 = Don Don Don Don

(2) hits per quarter note (= 8th notes): 1& 2& 3& 4& = DoKo DoKo DoKo DoKo

(3) hits per quarter note (= 8th note triplets): 1&a 2&a 3&a 4&a = DoKoDo KoDoKo DoKoDo KoDoKo

(4) hits per quarter note (= 16th notes): 1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a = DoKoDoKo DoKoDoKo DoKoDoKo DoKoDoKo

(5) hits per quarter note: 12345 22345 32345 42345

(6) hits per quarter note: 123456 223456 323456 423456

(7) hits per quarter note: 1234567 2234567 3234567 4234567

(8) hits per quarter note (= 32nd notes): 12345678 22345678 32345678 42345678

— Now work backward through the pattern > 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Half, Whole.

Insight: For the 6s, try to think of them as double triplets. To work-up to including the 7 and 8 subdivisions, at first set the metronome really slow in order to get a good feel for how these fit into a quarter note pulse.

Add Movement: For the Whole and Half notes, add-in Windmills, Bachi Flips, or other movement in the “Hup” space.

Group Play: Divide group into smaller teams and have them start the pattern in different places. Example for 3-teams: (A) Starts with the Whole notes, (B) Starts with the Quarter notes, and (C) Starts with 16ths. Team members call-out SoRe before going on to next pattern to help keep group together. This gets super fun as the sticking gets faster and the count trickier.

Atarigane (Kane) Practice: Have the Kane player play the Ji-pulse as — Chan (1), ChiKi (2&), ChiKi (3&), ChiKi (4&).

Kuchi Shoga Key: Kuchi Shoga on TaikoForum.com Song Database.

Subdivision Drill Resources: Taiko Jinsei Audio Pool downloadable audio and sheet-music files for this exercise. Formats: .mp3, MIDI, plus PDF for visual training. http://www.jedlicka.com/taikojinsei/TaikoJinsei-AudioPool

Subdivision Drill Videos…

Reduction Drill from AllThingsTaiko > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpcjm1ZDVEY&feature=youtu.be

Western Drum Rudiments

PAS Rudiments offer a variety of patterns to help with timing and stick control.

New Drills

Unless otherwise noted by the contributor, use the same “set-up” and “tips” as for Classic Drills.

30 Days to Better Shime

30 Days to Better Shime by Kristofer Bergstrom is a great by step by step to better timing and stick control. This free program provides one month of daily exercises for small drum practice. You simply download the workbook and companion CD, get out your practice pad and batchi, and follow the daily instructions!


On the 30 Days to Better Shime pages you’ll find…

— Downloadable workbook and audio files

— How to order a printed 30 Days set

— Individual audio files

— Source files

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