08.18.2008 // Bill Bachman reflects on his Trip to Taiwan 2008!

Hey guys, I recently returned from teaching marching percussion at the Taipei International Percussion Summer Camp held at the Taipei National University School of the Arts in Taiwan. The week long percussion camp in its ninth year had 170 students from fifth graders all the way up to college music majors. The students were divided up into seven classes based on age and skill level. They all had daily classes in different disciplines of percussion: Marimba, Jazz Vibes, Steel Drum, Drumset, Marching Percussion and three different styles of traditional Chinese percussion.

The students were great to work with! They were very open and interested in the drumline classes even with it being a rare thing in their musical culture. There's a lot of really good general percussion instruction going on over there so they were all good readers and caught on quick. We worked on fundamentals for the first two sessions, and then got on the drums to learn a few cadences of mine from my "Street Jams book 1" (published by JW3.com). It was great to watch them having fun with the beats, especially once all of the visuals we could possibly fit were added in.

The week ended with a concert where the students of all levels performed on various percussion instruments for an audience of about 500. I had three groups selected to perform on marching drums which included the 5th graders! They were a big hit and watching them go at it isn't something I'll soon forget.

The translators turned out to be more like Teacher's Assistants, most were percussion majors studying in the US and were actually capable of teaching the classes themselves! My translator Yi-Jan Liu (a.k.a. Rachel) is working on her Doctorate at the University of North Texas and even had drumcorps experience. It's funny that she was my ride from the airport to the hotel a month earlier when I was in Denton for the UNT drumline camp. Small world!

My favorite thing about overseas trips like this is getting to know the people and their culture. The people are kind and are passionate about what they do, the food is good and of course I love the history and art/architecture. If you have the chance to visit Taiwan I highly recommend it--be sure to stop by the Taipei National University of the Arts and reef some beats for me!

-Bill ><>