Tomoko knows the power of singing, and how it relates to the piano.
Tomoko recalls her own history of singing in school when she started in elementary school during World War II. The Japanese government knew the power of sung words, and required singing in school starting with the earliest grades. The government would take well-known melodies and have nationalistic lyrics put to them for the children to sing.
In Tomoko’s high school Ferris, everyone was expected to sing. They sang European classical music, including religious songs, since Ferris was founded by the Dutch Reformed Church. Tomoko also accompanied the school’s singers.
Tomoko attended the Tokyo Cathedral near the University of Tokyo where she majored in piano. There Father Henri taught Gregorian chant, and Tomoko and other students would go to the church to hear and learn this music genre.
At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Tomoko’s composition teacher encouraged students to explore their own styles. This support led Tomoko, who was a voice minor, to have several opportunities to perform her many haiku compositions. She continues, “There were so many talented teachers; they were very open-minded and welcoming.”
Tomoko sometimes has her students sing along with playing the piano as a way to help with phrasing and interpretation. In fact, when students learn a song, Tomoko has them start by understanding the words.
Today, as Tomoko teaches piano, she sometimes has her students sing along with playing the piano as a way to help with phrasing and interpretation. In fact, when students learn a song, Tomoko has them start by understanding the words. Tomoko knows that the power of words is made stronger by music.