January 13, 2013

A student's letter about Tomoko

I had the honor of being a student of Ms. Tomoko Hagiwara for nine years before going off to college. Five years later, I still brag about having an overzealous Japanese piano teacher who is like a second mother. Not only did she constantly push me beyond my musical limits by challenging me with the most exciting and difficult pieces, but she also instilled a deep appreciation for music and desire to share my talents with others.

After joining the working world, I realized so clearly the impact Ms. Hagiwara had on my upbringing. Everything I learned in her two-piano classroom has translated directly to the “real world.” Discipline, incredible work ethic, high standards, pressure cooker situations, performing at the highest level, and acting with class are all fundamental lessons I have embedded in my value system. With equal importance, she vocalized her concept of “Yoshi!” – the resilient spirit necessary in finding a way to succeed no matter the challenges; this means grabbing things in the moment and learning quickly. Despite the gallons of tears I have cried and urges to give up at times, I look back with a great sense of accomplishment, inner strength and ability for overcoming.

Ms. Hagiwara has equally applied her teachings to all of her students throughout her nearly 50-year tenure (shhh!) with more vigor and ferocity over time. Her passions have transformed the quality of prep department of the SFCM and held it to the highest standard. Simultaneously, she has created a sense of family among all her students spanning generations and has well prepared them for their journeys in college. I can never repay her for all her tough love and the impact she has had on my life. However, I am proud to have known such an amazing and selfless person and forever grateful of her.

Andrew Ahn
Inline image 1

No comments:

Post a Comment