ETC 2017 – Evaluation Report

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Workshop Leaders
Isabel Romeo Biedma
Nora Emri
Kristof Vydt
Lucy and Andrew



In February 2017, the second European Taiko Conference (ETC) took place in Devon, England. 102 players from 49 taiko groups and organisations travelled from 12 countries. They participated in a packed programme of workshops, performances, yoga sessions, discussion sessions, joint performances and shared meals.

In order to support the development of ETC, a three-stage evaluation model was developed and applied to ETC2.  This was fully supported by Kagemusha Taiko (organisers and hosts of ETC2) and designed to ask some challenging questions: does the programme meet the needs of attendees? Are participants able to share learning after the conference? Does the conference enable the development of a European taiko community? Herewith a summary of the main findings:

1. Participants primarily sought to develop people-to-people connections with other taiko players at ETC2.

Conference participants were asked about their goals for taking part in the conference. Networking emerged as the most common motivating factor. After the conference, 83% of respondents rated the networking and contacts made at ETC2 as “very useful.”

2. Shared taiko practice (i.e. evening performances, joint performances and workshops) overwhelmingly supported individuals’ objectives for attending the conference.

Participants were asked the degree to which conference activities helped them to fulfil their objectives for attending the conference. Shared taiko practice activities (i.e. evening performances, joint performances and workshops) were very highly rated – for instance, 96% of respondents scored the evening taiko performances positively. Other activities were somewhat less favourably rated yet still valued by participants.

3. Participants typically shared concepts (rather than specific techniques or skills) with their group members following the conference.

The vast majority of participants (88%) reported that they planned to share knowledge and/or skills acquired at the conference with members of their group who could not attend. During focus groups held in March and April 2017, participants noted a strong tendency to share concepts that, in turn, affected performance and teaching practices. One example included Eiichii Saito’s “beam” or “present,” an approach that promotes connection among players on stage and between performers and the audience. By way of contrast, a small minority reported sharing specific skills or drills.

4. Discussion sessions are viewed as “the cement for building the community.”

Discussion sessions were repeatedly positioned by respondents as central to the success of the conference and a space in which ideas were shared. Participants, however, clearly reaped different benefits depending on their involvement in taiko. For instance, newer teachers or group leaders reported gaining lots of ideas and advice, whereas longer-standing leaders repeatedly reported feeling reassured about certain approaches following discussion sessions. Others were extremely positive about being exposed to a broader perspective beyond the activities of their own group.


A more detailed evaluation report can be viewed here.

The ETC2 evaluation findings will directly support and inform the planning of future iterations of ETC. It is also hoped, however, that organizers of taiko conferences, festivals and gatherings in other parts of the world can reflect upon some of the conclusions and recommendations presented and consider them in the context of their own events. 

Both the researcher and conference organizers would like to thank conference participants who took part in the evaluation process. The volume and thoughtfulness of responses provided a rich data set which, in turn, offered some clear challenges as well as suggestions for future iterations of the European Taiko Conference. 

Kate Walker is a PhD Student, Department of Music, University of Sheffield and a member of Tsuchigumo Daiko, Glasgow. 

Tiffany Tamaribuchi
Shoji Kameda
Mark H Rooney
Karen and Tiffany
CCS Taiko

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See also: European Taiko Conference Homepage; 1st European Taiko Conference; 2nd European Taiko Conference.; 3rd European Taiko Conference.