February 11, 2018

Mapping the Musical Journey



Tomoko loves to travel and broaden her musical horizons. She also guides her students’ musical journey.

As a young girl, Tomoko began her musical path by following her brother’s trail. They would take the train to have piano and organ lessons. 

When the family moved from Tokyo to Yokohama, Tomoko enrolled in the prestigious Ferris Academy, where she expanded her performance skill. From the school’s hilltop, Tomoko would view the harbor with its sailing ships. “There’s a ship waiting for me,” she thought. “I will play the piano in America some day.”

After graduating from the University of Tokyo, known for its music program, Tomoko mapped her emigration to the United States, both in terms of flying and in pursuing her musical education.

And her journeys did not end there. Tomoko traveled to Europe, not only to compete internationally but also to experience the continent’s musical history and scene. In the process, she met great musicians, played a Medici harpsichord, visited Chopin’s residence, and had other musical adventures.

For fifty years Tomoko has also helped her students map their musical journey. She encourages them to explore each composition for its musical paths, and to visit the lives of the composers. She challenges them to climb musically in order to view the landscape of the profession. Tomoko assserts, "We need to grow and develop."




Each trip and each student, unfolds, like a map. Tomoko enjoys opening a new map. What will be the goal? How will we get there? What sites are along the way? What challenges will we meet – and overcome? And at the end of each experience, Tomoko knows to let the map “fold itself.” She does not try to reshape the experience or the student. Instead, she enables her students to reshape themselves and to make their own musical journeys. 

Tomoko knows her way – and applauds her students’ own musical explorations. 

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