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Bonnie Soon - Uzume Taiko

Discipline: Music
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English

Bonnie shares a love for movement and music through the art form of taiko drumming. Taiko means "big drum" in Japanese and the style of music incorporates aspects of the martial arts: body stances and vocal shouts with drum sticking techniques. Bonnie has worked as a taiko artist in Uzume Taiko, Canada's first professional taiko group, for the past 25 years. She incorporates choreography and theatrical elements with the festival drumming style of Japan to create new, Canadian works for the taiko drum. As an educator and artist mentor, Bonnie builds innovative student taiko drum gear and leads students in a hands-on taiko drumming experience which focuses on developing physical, musical and teamwork skills. Bonnie's goals are to promote self-esteem and a positive self-image and to foster an appreciation for cultural diversity through exploring and engaging in the cultural music art form of taiko drumming.


Testimonials

I too, was amazed at the amount of information that my class remembered from your teaching. I appreciated the gentle manner that you both used with the students. They were truly excited and focused on what they were doing. Helen Lum, Grade 2/3 Teacher, James Cook Elementary
Thank you for teaching us taiko drumming. The part I liked the best was when we went in a cirkl (circle) and youesd (used) all the drums. Student
Thank you for teaching us taiko drumming. The part I liked the best was ol-uf-it (all of it). Grade 1 Student, Hawthorne Elementary

Project Examples

Taiko Drumming and the Creative Process Residency


Taiko Drumming and the Creative Process residency program is a stimulating challenge for the mind, body and spirit as students work in teams to create short skits that communicate a selected classroom curriculum topic. Students communicate their knowledge of the chosen curriculum topic through movement and sound, using the drums as theatrical props and to create sound textures to help in the communication of the theme. The students practice teamwork to present short vignettes for their classmates. The artist leads taiko drumming activities each session and supports in the creative delivery of group ideas. The classroom teacher leads students in the subject research and creates teams for the project. The residency can be held over 3 to 5 consecutive weeks to give time for ideas to develop between the artist visits. The student taiko drum gear is provided and the program requires a gymnasium setting. Taiko Drumming and the Creative Process residency programs have been offered through the Sing Act Move program for the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, the Margaret Grauer Teaching from the Heart University of British Columbia program, the Royal Conservatory of Music Learning Through the Arts program and ArtStarts' Artists in the Classroom program.

Taiko Drum Basics Workshop / Residency


Students participate in a hands-on taiko drumming experience which focuses on developing physical, musical and teamwork skills. They experience the respect and cooperation of group taiko drumming and develop listening and communication skills through the group process. Participants engage in warm-up exercises, martial arts stances and vocal shouts. They learn basic drum sticking techniques, verbal notation and practice rhythmic drills and song rudiments. This indoor activity requires a gymnasium or multi-purpose room large enough for the number of participants. Student taiko drum gear is provided for up to 30 students. These workshops have been popular in lower mainland elementary schools and International Baccalaureate middle and secondary school programs. Week long Taiko Drumming Basics Workshop Residencies have been popular in lower mainland school districts and community art centers often leading to a presentation of the learning for the school body and parents in an assembly setting. For intermediate and secondary levels, Bonnie can share a brief historical context of the taiko drum in Japan and its present day developments in the North American Taiko Community.

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