Taiko Drumming Club to Build SEL Skills
As part of an International Baccalaureate World School, students at Manor View Elementary School are encouraged to view their learning through a global lens and learn about various cultures and perspectives through authentic experiences. This year, fourth and fifth grade students had the opportunity to learn more about Japanese art and culture during an after school Taiko club. Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums ranging from roughly the size of a snare to nearly the size of a car. Students have been practicing with “chu-daiko” drums, which are about the size of a barrel. The club has been lead by artist-in-residence, Earl Fox. Mr. Fox has been practicing and playing Taiko since 1980 and has performed with Sacramento Taiko Dan, a west-coast professional performing group, and Stockton Bukkyo Taiko, a Buddhist performing group, where he was artistic director and principal instructor for 11 years. Mr. Fox has been running Taiko programs for schools across all grade levels for several years in California and more recently in elementary schools in Anne Arundel County.
Mr. Fox started the club at Manor View during the fall of 2016 with the goal of teaching students about the Japanese culture as well as the art of Taiko. Students were very excited about the club and it enjoyed it so much that a follow-up session was offered in the spring so they could continue studying the art. Due to high interest from other students, a second spring session was added for new participants to allow more students to experience Taiko. At the close of each session students proudly demonstrate their new skills in a concert for the student-body and parents.
In addition to the many STEM clubs offered in previous years, Taiko is one of several new clubs added at Manor View during the 2016-2017 school year, thanks to the DoDEA Tapestry Grant. New co-curricular options this year include a mindfulness club, running club, green club, and foreign cultures club, as well as a Chinese club supported by the AACPS Foreign Language department. Aside from Taiko, after school clubs are organized and run by teachers at Manor View who continually look for fresh ideas that meet the needs and interests of students beyond the regular classroom setting. The wide variety of clubs means there is something to meet almost any student’s interest and each session continues to be met with overwhelming response.