We hope this newsletter finds all of you safe and healthy. As we begin our second month of sheltering in place, we are settling into new routines, from working or studying at home, to homeschooling our children and even tackling long-overdue home organization projects. Beyond the changes to our daily lives, we’re adapting our taiko routines as well and are excited to share some of our activities with you.
Music continues to be a huge part of our members' routines but without our drums, a lot of us have been turning to other instruments. Joel meets remotely with other shamisen players around the country to practice new songs and techniques. Katie continues to study fue and has recently begun learning shamisen as well, after participating in the Bachicamp workshop at our studio last fall. Katie has even hinted at taking on yet another instrument that may find its way into our repertoire in the future. She notes that diving into music has been her happy place during this difficult period, a sentiment that many of us share.
Andrew has also been practicing other instruments. He's been studying clarinet for some time but could never find time for practice; now he's building a regular practice routine and is even learning a part to include with taiko. We can't wait to see his progress!
We're also finding new ways of staying in shape. Playing taiko requires a lot of energy, so of course we worry about losing our taiko muscles before our performances resume. Mana and Heather turn to the outdoors when the weather is warm, going for a run in their neighborhood parks or a quiet hike on trails where we can practice safe social distancing. Helena has been coping with dance, returning to one of her favorite video games from college, Dance Dance Revolution.
Group exercise is also becoming part of our regular online meetings. Adding movement throughout the day makes a huge impact on our outlook during this uncertain time, and participating as a group strengthens the bond we share as a performance ensemble. Of course, we'd rather be at the studio playing taiko - but when that time comes, we will be ready!
Perhaps the key to maintaining a positive outlook is by adding a little humor to our days. Joel notes, "Now that I'm working remotely and seeing friends and family over remote chat, I set up a green screen in my office to have fun with pictures and videos as my background."
In addition to unique green screen backgrounds, Joel has added trivia and other games to our regular get-togethers. In addition to having fun, we're finding out who will do anything to win - even cheat!
How are you coping during this challenging time? Whether it's through music, exercise, gardening, or renewed time with family, we hope you are finding ways to stay health and strong, and we will see you again!