September 13, 2014

Inner Riches

Money does not make the musician; hard work, dedication, and persistence do. And other people will recognize that effort. You can see that in Tomoko’s early professional life.

Money was tight for Tomoko when she arrived in San Francisco as a young Conservatory piano student.  She lived with a widow, taking partial care of the widow lieu of rent. She taught piano to the children of Japanese families, sometimes going to their homes. When Tomoko was fearful that she would not have the money to continue at the Conservatory, she found out that a board member paid her tuition.

As a student, Tomoko tried for a San Francisco Foundation award that would help finance her studies. Tomoko remembers, “ That morning was rainy, and I had only one dollar, not even enough to take a taxi.” Instead, Tomoko took a bus, holding her umbrella to keep her nice outfit dry. She thought to herself: “I am going to make it.” When she got to the auditorium, a competitor arrived in a Cadillac, and someone held out an umbrella over her head. After Tomoko played the required selection, the judges liked her performance so much that they asked her to play another solo piece. The competition took all day, and Tomoko had to go home alone on the bus at 8pm, when there were few buses at that hour. Two days later she found out that she won.

Tomoko won several other awards, and has continued to make money through her piano teaching and performance over the years. But it has been her love of music and people that have been the main driving forces for her own dedication.  Tomoko truly has vast inner riches.