The Academy Staff
Courses are taught by Taiko Life Israel founder Nitai Zelniker and Einat Chitayat, a senior drummer with over 15 years of experience.
Ran Guy recently joined our staff.
Hello, I am Nitay Zelniker, founder of Taiko Life
I was always looking for a place to train and develop, not only on a technical level. I wanted a way of life that would combine music with practicing physical, mental and spiritual abilities. A training framework that will be socially enjoyable but also serious and has added value.
I experimented with different musical instruments and martial arts, but I never felt that I found my way - a way where I could develop and enjoy but also produce results. I always felt something was missing: Either I'm having fun but not developing and progressing enough, or the training is hard, unrewarding and feels truly meaningless.
I felt a connection to meditation and the Eastern philosophy of life. A place where discipline, precision, aesthetics and diligence are an integral part of the culture. And so my first dream was to train in the Shaolin monasteries in China!
I was exposed to taiko drums in the movie "The Drummer". The musicians expressed the music with powerful drumming movements and trained in martial arts and meditation. The frequency emitted by the Zen drums was exactly what I had been looking for all my life.
In the end I found myself in Taiwan and Japan, to which I have always been drawn, for almost 5 years. I went through grueling training and many challenges, I met supportive friends and had many people as my teachers, and finally I reached a level where I could continue to develop a path myself and pass the knowledge on.
I met my wife Maho on the trip, and together we moved to Israel in order to establish the first team in Israel that would train in the way I had always dreamed of.
After years as a student I found teaching as the continuation tool for my development - I started with the extreme age groups: children in kindergartens and adults in sheltered housing. I knew that if I "reached" them, I could connect with anyone.. The children taught me leadership, charisma, creativity, honesty, passion and friendship. The adults taught me sensitivity, awareness, acceptance, patience and meaning.
I realized that I needed to develop a way - a language of music in motion that would help those who know nothing and want to learn, or those who want to go far and play professionally.
The performances were the place to test the theory. A place where the audience reflected the truth back to us.
Little by little, more and more people arrived in a rich variety of ages and the first and only Taiko academy in Israel was created, with a large number of students, original works of drumming, performances and true friendships.
Hi! I am Einat Chitayat, a member of the Taiko Life professional team and a teacher at the academy
Living most of my life in Japan, it was Sen Amano's taiko drum performance that swept me into this special world. I immediately began studying under sensei Moko Igarashi in a traditional Japanese classical playing style infused with aspects of the western orchestra, before joining the performing group.
When I returned to Israel, I met Nitay and was exposed to a different world of taiko that combines the powerful Japanese approach with the meditative Taiwanese approach, creating a balance between power and peace, between the beat and the silence, between movement and stillness.
I believe that the learning process continues never endingly. What I learn, I feel the privilege to pass on whether it's on stage or in class - and that in that moment I continue to learn - and that this two-sided process creates a unique environment and connects between all present.
Hello, I'm Ran Guy, and teach at the Taiko Life Academy.
Hi, I'm Ran Guy, a graduate of the first cycle of the courses and currently a teacher at the academy.
I started my path with Taiko Life 4 years ago when I saw the launching for the professional group's first album.
I have loved Japan since I can remember, the culture, the language, the folklore and mythology, the anime and manga genre, the martial arts, and also the music.
But nothing of my knowledge and love of Japanese culture prepared me for the overwhelming and bewitching sound of the taiko drums - When I saw the performance of the professional group I was simply thrilled and amazed by the movement, the unity, the precision, the softness and also the power.
Not long after that I joined the first cycle of the academy's courses, and I discovered that the more I persevere and invest the better I get. Taiko came to me at a critical point in my life and helped me overcome difficult periods of crisis, gave me a sense of satisfaction and pleasure that I haven't felt in a long time.
I knew that my path had only just begun, but even then I was determined to move forward and reach a position where I could have a positive impact on people's lives as Taiko had impacted my life.
Today I am a teacher in the academy and outside. I have a bachelor's degree in education and I teach taiko both in sheltered housing for adults and children in special education schools.
In my eyes, playing together in a group provides a tremendous experience for body and soul and I am grateful for the privilege to take part in the path that each and every one goes through.
Dina Yehla Sominski