Ausnew Home Care | How a Japanese drumming class in a Hobart college

How a Japanese drumming class in a Hobart college changes the lives of students with disabilities

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For Shante Glidden, the unique art of taiko drumming makes her feel "at home".

"It makes me feel relaxed and it makes me feel really calm. It feels like home because I feel like I am a part of something," she said. 

Taiko means drum in Japanese, and the art form has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries.

"It's a bit of a workout for me because I am still trying to figure out the rhythm," Ms Glidden said.

Ms Glidden is one of a dozen students at Hobart's Rosny College involved in the school's taiko drumming group, offered through the Springboard program that supports students with disabilities.

The idea is to help students foster creativity and resilience whilst preparing them to live independently after they graduate college. 

Four students standing in a row, holding drumsticks with drums in front of them. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, My Aged Care
Shante Glidden says the unique art of taiko drumming makes her feel "at home".(ABC News: Monte Bovill)

Rosny College teacher Andy Short, who works in the program, said he had seen the confidence of the students grow thanks to the drums.

"When we bash these drums, we actually generate a lot of energy," he said.

"Some of them have picked it up very quickly and it's an honour to watch them play and see them evolve."

As part of grants given to the school by the local councils, the drumming group has visited local primary schools to share the art form. 

Student Nikolaos Moutsatsos, who is in his second year in the program, said it has helped him connect more with his peers and the community. 

"I like drumming and I like performing for people. I feel like we are a really good team," he said.

"It takes me a lot of time to practice all those tricks."

tudent Nikolaos Moutsatsos smiling, learning Taiko drumming with two of his teachers. They are all wearing traditional dress.
Teacher Andy Short says the students leave the class feeling "vibrant and alive".(ABC News: Monte Bovill )

'Bigger and better' things to come

Taiko drumming was introduced to the college in 2014 by the group's taiko teacher Belinda Graudins, who has been playing the drums for more than 15 years. 

"It's just amazing to be able to teach them a little bit of what I do. I want them to have fun and enjoy it," she said.

"Watching them improve as the weeks go on, it's just wonderful to see them grow. It blows me away."

Ms Graudins said after the school purchased its own set of drums, the group could perform to fellow students at the college, along with people in the community. 

Two students in school uniform listen attentively as they hold drumsticks. They're joined by Alderman Beth Warren, smiling.
Taiko drumming is offered through the Springboard program.(ABC News: Monte Bovill)

"It's extremely rewarding to see how they shine when they are in front of an audience. It's really uplifting," she said.

In 2017, two taiko masters from Japan visited the college and invited the group to visit them and perform in Japan, which Mr Short said was a "life changing" opportunity for the students.

He hopes the program can continue to be expanded in years to come.

"We've got bigger and better things planned next year. Maybe one day we'll take the students overseas again, that might be a while away, but we want to continue to explore the world through drumming," he said.


Source: ABC

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