The Sound of (Japanese) Music: Online Mini Course for Educators

The Sound of (Japanese) Music: Online Mini Course for Educators

 Co-sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh NCTA

Join us for “The Sound of (Japanese) Music,” a series of presentations and demos by four Japanese music ethnomusicologists. Designed to take you to a deeper level of understanding of traditional Japanese music, these presentations expand your knowledge of Japanese history and culture, including modern music innovations. You will learn about the evolving traditions of the kotoshakuhachishamisen and the recent development of taiko drumming. Some presentations will be recorded for your use later with your students. All sessions will be held through Zoom.    Registration Required: Please click here to register.


Koto: Its Music and Musicians, Yesterday and Today

Thursday, May 14

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)

Dr. Anne Prescott, Director, Five College Center for East Asian Studies

Music for the koto is a living, evolving tradition shaped by its past. Explore the history, present and future possibilities of the music and musicians of the koto world. This presentation will also include a brief overview and timeline of traditional Japanese music genres.

To access Koto Handouts for mini-course, please click here.


The World in a Single Sound - the Shakuhachi, its History, and its Music

Thursday, May 21

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)

Devon Osamu Tipp, PhD Candidate in Music Theory/Composition, University of Pittsburgh

For more information on Tipp's work, please visit

Steeped in the aesthetics of Zen Buddhism, traditional shakuhachi repertoire focuses on the discovery of the world that lies within a single note, a single sound. This presentation will introduce you to the history of shakuhachi, as well as some of the fundamental aesthetic concepts that continue to capture audiences hearts and minds.

To access Shakuhachi Resources for mini-course, please click here.


Strings Revolution: History and Music of Shamisen and Geisha

Thursday, June 11

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)

Dr. Yuko Eguchi Wright, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh

In the mid-1500s, the soundscapes of Japan dramatically changed because of the introduction of a three-stringed instrument—the shamisen. This presentation covers the historical background of shamisen and its music, particularly focusing on the songs practiced among geisha. It includes a demonstration and virtual hands-on session of shamisen songs.


Taiko: Tradition as a Basis for Innovation

Thursday, June 18

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET (5:00-6:30 CT)

Dr. Benjamin Pachter, Executive Director, Japan-America Society of Central Ohio

Taiko can be found in a wide variety of performance venues in modern Japan, from the imperial court to regional festival processions to large concert halls. This presentation will explore the many ways in which taiko are used in Japan today, including the contemporary group performance style that has spread across the world since World War II and integrates a wide range of musical and visual influences.


The programs will be conducted by Zoom. You can sign up for one or all of these presentations. Act 48 for Pennsylvania teachers provided. Certificates of Completion available upon request for teachers who attend all four sessions.


Registration Required: Please click here to register.

 Co-sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh NCTA

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