Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drum up dollars for recovering high-school dropouts

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT
  • screenshot

As with doing martial arts, or learning a craft, practicing music often takes on a greater meaning than you might expect. Take the badasses at the Taiko Society of Colorado Springs, province of Carla and Jesse Maddox (who also expertly craft the giant drums). Jesse talked to the Indy about the taiko practice in 2012:
Maddox says those in his school's performing group, both men and women, routinely warm up for practice with multiple sets of push-ups, tricep dips and three-minute plank exercises; one practice for a certain piece that requires the drummer to hold his or her body at a 45-degree angle for four minutes is often rehearsed for more than 90 minutes at a time.

And though beginners get off a little easier, everybody is expected to treat the dojo with deliberate respect — from arriving early to sweep the playing space, to saying certain phrases when entering and leaving. It takes the whole thing from part musical performance, part theater, all the way to a kind of lifestyle.

"[Students] enter into the classes thinking it's just a fun thing to participate in," Maddox says, "and then they realize it kind of spills over."
Though I've never done it, I imagine discipline, dedication and respect all enter into the picture somewhere, all facets useful to, say, a struggling high-schooler.

Toward that end, the Youth Transformation Center is partnering with Taiko Society and the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association in an attempt to offer an after-school music program to at-risk students in the Engage-Educate-Employ Program. But they need cold, hard help, so enter the Indiegogo campaign, which has so far raised $475 of the hoped for $4,500 with 34 days left.

"The Taiko Society introduced drumming to the E3 students in early February 2014," reads the summary. "The students are excited about the chance to participate. With your support, an E3 student class can be arranged with rehearsals, once a week, after school. The budget is $500 per month for a pilot project extending for up to nine months for a total of $4,500. It is expected that after two or three months the E3 student troupe could present a short Taiko drum performance. The project is slated to kick-off in April if the necessary funds can be raised. If more funds are raised than budgeted, the pilot program will be extended."

For a look at just what exactly the kids might be doing, see the below video:



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