There was music in Tomoko’s house as she was growing up: singing, listening to the radio. Tomoko followed her brother’s lead in playing the piano. So family can certainly determine what musical instrument might be pursued.
Sometimes people will choose an instrument because it’s available, or because a certain kind of instrumentalist is in short supply. Even the size and weight of an instrument might be a criteria for choice, such as varying configurations of stringed instruments. In in some cases, how the music is produced physically, such as a violin versus a clarinet, can impact which instrument “works” for an individual. In addition, different musical instruments resonate with different people. “Why can’t some people play the piano?” Tomoko muses, “It’s a type.” In choosing an instrument, Tomoko has a broad perspective: “Choosing a musical instrument is like being at a big fest. Make you who know you are. Look from the start. Know what you want. Whatever is your path.”
If you ask Tomoko, why choose the piano, she says, “Piano is a basic instrument. It can be played independently or as part of a group, so it brings a certain freedom.” Tomoko asserts, “Pianists are luckier than singers, as well. Pianists can make same image at orchestra. They can see the whole.”
On the other hand, Tomoko says, “The piano can be the most difficult musical instrument.” She asserts. “You need a long time and patience to play, at least three years. So it is a long-term investment. Some students quit too soon because they are not patient.” However, that effort can be stimulating; Tomoko counters: “Enjoy the challenge, and gain confidence.” As can well be imagined, she is a very encouraging piano teacher. And she is very happy with her lifelong choice of playing the piano.
You can share her pleasure of performing by listening to her recordings at http://www.tomokohagiwara.com/recordings.html