Taiko drumming is a dynamic, modern art form born in Japan after World War II. It has now evolved into its own unique style in North America. Combining driving rhythms and movements inspired by martial arts, taiko (which means “big drum” in Japanese) is a joyful and expressive way to experience Japanese American culture, move your body, and have a great time!

All Mu Performing Arts taiko classes are taught by current Mu Daiko members and take place in a fun, supportive environment. All classes are held at the Mu Performing Arts Studio.


While every effort will be made to avoid a class cancellation due to hazardous weather or instructor illness/emergency, tuition for cancelled classes as well as student absences are NON-REFUNDABLE.



Our introductory class is geared for students ages 13 years and older interested in a formal introduction to taiko. Students will be introduced to the history, kata/form and oral learning tradition. Students will learn 2-3 songs and will be eligible to progress to Level 1 classes with instructor’s approval.

UPCOMING Winter Session (8 weeks)
Sundays, 9:00am – 11:00am
Instructor: Chiaki O’Brien
Tuition: $200
Dates: March 5, 2017 – May 7, 2017 (No class on Easter)




You know you wanna try it! Now’s your chance to pick up the bachi and see what taiko drumming is all about. Whether you want to expand your musical skills, or you’re just looking for something fun to do, give taiko a try! Pick a Saturday that works in your schedule. More dates will be added throughout the year.

Saturdays, 10:30am-12:30pm
Instructor: Michiko Buchanan
Tuition: $50
May 13, 2017

*Please Note: A separate registration form is required for each participant.



Master Class Workshops
Sunday, April 30th
Join us for a full day of Taiko! Sign up for individual workshops or join us for the whole day. Taiko students who have successfully completed the Introductory Class may attend these workshops.

9:00am-10:30am – Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Form and Spirit
10:30am-12:00pm – Shoji Kameda
12:00pm-12:30pm- Lunch 

12:30pm-2:00pm – Yuichi Kimura
2:00pm-3:30pm – Michelle Fujii & Toru Watanabe, Uchiwa Movement
$40 per workshop or $100 for the entire day. Lunch will be ordered in for those who wish to purchase in advance. Details will be provided soon.

Tiffany Tamaribuchi’s Workshop
Form & Spirit 
In this workshop we’ll work on various types of kata and how we as players can express ourselves, our character, and the character of the instruments and pieces we play more powerfully and freely.
A key element of this workshop will be looking at different aspects of how and why different kata are applied, how we imbue those kata with “spirit” and depth of meaning, and how we connect with other performers and the audience as we play. Some emphasis will be placed on injury prevention, common injuries for taiko players, and dealing with pre-existing conditions and injuries.  More emphasis will be placed on practical techniques that will allow you more stability, control, and comfort.  Exceptional emphasis will be placed on the difference between playing something and performing something, and how simple steps and techniques can make a huge difference in your capacity to express what you want to share with an audience.

Yuichi Kimura’s Workshop
Yuichi-sensei will introduce a new ensemble piece, bringing together shime, chu and odaiko to create unique taiko sound vibrations.

Michelle Fujii & Toru Watanabe’s Workshop
Uchiwa Movement

As an instrument, uchiwa daiko (fan drums) offer the versatility and mobility to coordinate complex movement with sound. This workshop will teach uchiwa movement drills that will lead into learning lively choreography from UNIT SOUZOU’s composition, ‘Korekara,’ to illustrate the expansive opportunity this instrument can provide. The class will be taught by Michelle Fujii & Toru Watanabe.



Mu Performing Arts taiko students who have successfully completed the Introductory Class may attend one or more of the weekly, ongoing taiko classes at or below their level. Pre-registration is not required for ongoing classes and students may join at any time. All students have the opportunity to perform in the annual student recital! See below for Tuition and Class Policies.

Spring session begins January 4, 2017

Intro to Taiko – Extension class
Sundays, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Instructor: Chiaki O’Brien
Dates: March 5, 2017 – June 11, 2017 (No class on Easter)
Level: Beginner to Intermediate. Meant for students who have taken Intro to Taiko recently and want to build upon their skills. This class will give students more opportunity to work alongside an instructor, build upon technique, and get more practice hours in!

Taiko Energy Basics
Sunday 6:00-7:30pm – Weekly
Teacher: Michiko Todokoro Buchanan
Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
In this class, you learn how to receive energy from taiko, work on kata ‘form’, energetic kakegoe ‘shout’, and how to communicate with other players. Classes will focus on simple songs, rhythm drills, and uchikomi ‘repetition training’.

Sundays 3:15-4:45pm – Weekly
Teacher: Iris Shiraishi
Level: All levels welcome.
Learn the wonderful music of the Shinto shrine – Edo Bayashi and Edo Kotobuki Jishi – as taught to by master artists Suzuki Kyosuke (Wakayama Shachu) and Kenny Endo (Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble/Taiko Center of the Pacific).

Wednesday 7:30-9:00pm – Weekly
Teacher: Iris Shiraishi
Level: All levels welcome.
TaikoAlive! is a holistic approach to learning the art of taiko that enriches the body, mind and spirit. It is geared to students of all ages and abilities.  Focus areas are taiko technique, repertoire, history and cultural aspects designed to fit the needs of the students.

Performance Challenge (practice like Mu Daiko!)
Saturday 9:00-10:30am – Weekly
Teacher: Emma Valentine
Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Do you want to perform taiko more than once a year at the annual student recital? This new offering will focus on kata, stage presence, and learning standard Mu Daiko repertoire. Expect an accelerated pace while you build your confidence and performance skills. Some students may be invited to join Mu Daiko in small performances in the future.

Taiko Energy Advanced
Sunday 7:30-9:00pm – Weekly
Teacher: Michiko Todokoro Buchanan
Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Take your taiko training to the next level. Expect more complex repertoire, an accelerated pace, and a focus on performance skills, solos, and musicality.

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ONGOING TAIKO CLASS TUITION (effective Jan 1, 2016):
• $180/10-Class Card; $100/5-Class Card.
• Taiko Class Cards are valid for 12 months and are nonrefundable and nontransferable
• Pay online or via check payable to “Mu Performing Arts” and given to instructor

• In the event of a class cancellation due to adverse weather conditions or instructor illness/emergency, the class will be notified via email. The cancellation will also be noted on the Class Calendar.

• The length of any given class will be reduced if the minimum class enrollment (5) is not met: 3-4 students/1 hour; 1-2 students/30 minutes; tuition for the reduced-length class remains the same – one stamp on your Taiko Class Card or the single class rate of $20
• If a class does not reach the minimum enrollment (5) for three consecutive sessions, it will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester.

Purchase a Class Card:

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Small Drum Technique
Tuesday February 14th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Teacher: Eien Hunter-Ishikawa
Tuition: $45
This workshop will focus on playing smaller taiko with smaller bachi.  Improving small drum technique will strengthen your technique for percussion and larger drums.  Areas to be covered include stick selection, grip, rebound, dynamics, ji uchi (groove playing), and tempo control.  Ideas for practicing at home will be provided along with exercises to help play together in a group.  Please bring a pair of shimedaiko bachi. More on Eien below.

Intermediate Shinobue
Tuesday, February 14th, 8:15pm-9:45 pm
Teacher: Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

Tuition:  $45
This workshop is for shinobue players with some experience on the instrument.  Basics will be reviewed, but most of the time will be spent on how to get to the next level.  Topics may include warm-up exercises, breath control, finger articulation, intonation, dynamics, improvisation, and non-traditional techniques such as tonguing and vibrato.  We will look at a variety of styles including folk melodies, Western songs, original compositions, and participant requests.  Please bring your shinobue and any music you might be working on.

Edo Bayashi Master Class
Wednesday, February 15th, 6:30pm-9:00 pm
Teacher: Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

Tuition:  $75
For anyone who has or is currently working on a part(s) of this music, Eien will share the knowledge and expertise gained from his study and mentorship with Kyosuke Suzuki, the leading proponent of the Wakayama style. Eien will be listening to, giving instruction, corrections and feedback to the Minnesota practice group in preparation for a possible workshop session with Suzuki Sensei in Minneapolis in August, 2017!





Mu Training Institute (MTI). MTI is Mu Performing Arts training program for aspiring Asian American artists in both Theater and Taiko. This program provides scholarships for unique training classes, workshops and mentoring to develop the next wave of Mu artists.

There are no auditions for the program at this time.