July 19, 2014

Teaching at San Domenico

Tomoko’s teaching home has been the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. However, she also taught at San Domenico School: A K-12 independent school known for its pre-professional music preparation conservatory. The music conservatory and pavilion are located down the hill from several of the hillside campus buildings, and the music wafts up the breeze. As stated in the school’s website: “Music has been a part of San Domenico School since 1850. The Marin County based Music Conservatory offers private and group lessons in piano, strings, woodwinds, and voice at all levels. Instruction is open to students enrolled in San Domenico School as well as children who live in the surrounding Bay Area community.” Along with lessons, students have many opportunities to perform, the most reknown venue being the Vivaldi Festival.

While the lower grades are coed, San Domenico’s upper school of 9-12th graders are all girls. Some of these students board at the school, especially international students. In that respect, Tomoko’s Japanese background provided an inside advantage for students who were far away from home.

In 1983 Tomoko joined San Domenico’s teaching faculty as a piano instructor. Tomoko’s daughter Beata also attended San Domencio for a couple of years. At that time, Faith France was the director of the program, and the wife of professional violinist and conductor Hugo Rinaldi. One of Tomoko’s San Francisco Conseratory students performed Saint Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 5, and Faith was impressed with the student – and Tomoko’s teaching.

Tomoko had a range of students,both in terms of socio-economics and musical ability. Some of them became professional in their own right. However, Tomoko treated each student fairly and equitably, matching the girls’ interests and needs to the music and skills appropriate for her musical development. Regretfully, because the number of students taking piano lessons decreased over the years, Tomoko left San Domenico in 1993. However, she still remembers the many hours of teaching, practice, and recitals that graced the halls of San Domenico. 

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