Asia Education Foundation

TaikOz - Australia-Japan Taiko Drumming Fusion

cover image: Music Unit: TaikOz – Australia-Japan Taiko Drumming Fusion

In this unit students will explore the music of TaikOz, an Australian group formed in 1997. They will learn how taiko drumming pieces are created and analyse the movements used in taiko drumming. Students will get the chance to make their own piece of music, drawing on elements of the taiko drumming style, and look at the techniques used by other taiko composers.



Unit Overview

Stage of schooling

Middle Secondary

Learning focus



  • Mu5.1 Students create or interpret music works that present imaginative responses to values and beliefs.
  • Mu5.2 Students create a musical ensemble piece using Asian, European, digital or constructed instruments to create a specific atmosphere.
  • Mu6.1 Students investigate and discuss the values and beliefs embedded within musical performances influenced by or performed in Asian cultures, using music terminology.
  • Mu6.2 Students use appropriate musical language to analyse how points of view about and attitudes towards particular musical styles change over time.
  • Mu6.3 Students explore and discuss aspects (ideas, values, beliefs, performance conventions) contained in comic or dramatic theatre works from Asia and Australia that incorporate dance, drama and music.

Focus questions

  • How is traditional taiko drumming from Japan assimilated into the music of an Australian musical group?
  • How do the composers write music for a group like this? How important is choreography in performances of taiko drumming?


TaikOz is an Australian musical group formed in 1997 by taiko player/percussionist Ian Cleworth and shakuhachi dai-shihan, grand master Riley Lee. The group has established itself as one of Australia's most energetic and exciting drumming groups. It combines the power of the traditional Japanese taiko with the bamboo shakuhachi. This unit provides students with the opportunity to investigate the music of TaikOz. Students will learn how the concepts of music are used to create taiko drumming pieces and analyse the movements used in taiko drumming. The unit provides opportunities for students to create their own piece for drums using elements of the taiko drumming style and to explore the techniques used by composers to create pieces for taiko.


This unit will take around 6 hours and can be completed in 6 x one-hour blocks over a term.



  • TaikOz 2003, Live at Angel Place - DVD/Video available for purchase on the website.


  • Background notes on the website are also useful
  • Large map of Japan