IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Go to Re-Approaching Stanford for weekly updates on Academic Year 2020-21.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Behind the Big Drums: Exploring Taiko
Since 1992 generations of Stanford students have heard, seen, and felt the power of taiko, big Japanese drums, at Admit Weekend, NSO, or Baccalaureate. During a time of COVID, this online version of the seminar takes students behind the taiko. Taiko is a relative newcomer to the American music scene. The contemporary ensemble drumming form, or kumidaiko, developed in Japan in the 1950s. The first North American taiko groups emerged from the Japanese American community shortly after and coincided with increased Asian American activism. In the intervening years, taiko has spread into communities in the UK, Europe, Australia, and South America. What drives the power of these drums? In this course, we explore the musical, cultural, historical, and political perspectives of taiko through readings and discussion, conversations with taiko artists, and online taiko lessons. With the taiko as our focal point, we find intersections of Japanese music, Japanese American history, and Asian American activism, and explore relations between performance, cultural expression, community, and identity.