Music is more than a literal experience. For Tomoko, music takes on metaphorical meaning. Here are a few of her analogies.
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Tomoko compares the piano to a garden. “The keyboard is a garden. Each key is a unique flower that needs to be cultivated. Together, the keys create a bouquet.” Of course, one difference is that the combination of those 88 keys offers much more variety because they constantly change; “How many pieces does a scale play?”
When talking about learning a piece of music, Tomoko compares it to climbing up a hill: “Each piece is a little challenge. You need to keep moving.” As the performer gains more confidence, “then you can look back to see your progress. And when you have mastered the piece, it is like reaching the mountain peak. You feel a great accomplishment, and can see a far distance.” In this same analogy, Tomoko points out the role of the teacher. “The student should go straight ahead, but sometimes he needs direction. That’s the biggest job of the teacher.”
Another metaphor is carpentry. “Music education provides tools for the pianist, like a carpenter. Each one draws upon his own experience using those tools to craft a beautiful performance.” Tomoko continues, “What is the difference in how the music sounds? Each composer is creative with his tools.”
And since Independence Day is forthcoming, a final metaphor is most timely. “Music is freedom.” Tomoko thinks of Mozart in this regard, “I love Mozart so much, I can repeat it 20 times because it gives me freedom.” She concludes “That is my main job, that spiritual idea of extending more freedom through music.”