In a piano piece, musical arcs are phrasings reflecting changes in tone, rhythm and mood. They might be steady, ascending or descending in their dynamics, starting quietly then becoming loud only to end calmly, or they might be frenetic.
That same concept of arc applies to a musician’s daily life – and lifelong trajectory. That certainly applies to Tomoko.
When instructing students about a new piece of music, Tomoko advises, “Take each piece as a house. Read and make notations about it. Identify the arcs of phrasing; they are like glue to connect the notes and measures.”
Tomoko’s daily schedule is also like a musical arc. When asked what her favorite time of day is, Tomoko responds, “4:30 am. I set up the coffee. This is good time to write thank you notes. I go outside and watch birds and other animals.” As she starts the days, she asks herself: “ What should I do? Ready is ready.” What about the end of the day? “I review the day, and prepare for the next day. Clean up and put together.” Tomoko realizes the importance of reflection, even when, she acknowledges, “sometimes it is hard to look.”
That latter statement reinforces her philosophy: “You should plan and be a good decision-maker. That leads to success.” Tomoko’s life arc is intentional, like a composer’s intentional writing.
Thinking more long-term, Tomoko’s entire life reflects a steady and ascending arc. She says, “When you get older the pieces repeat. They gain warm memories and consolation.” She sums it up as: “How beautiful.”