April 8, 2016

I Have Confidence

Confidence is an important element in playing the piano, and Tomoko tries to instill confidence in her students. She knows, “Confidence comes from talent. If you have talent but no confidence, then there is nothing.”

It must be noted, though, that confidence without talent or effort, is insubstantial. Confidence is best when you have true pride in your own effort and results. Accordingly, Tomoko says, “I got my confidence from my contests.” She challenged herself to do her best, and she could hear and see her competitors  in comparison to her own performance. Furthermore, professionals judged everyone’s competence, so there was expert validation. Tomoko also received validation from people who gave her scholarships to continue her studies. 

Not that confidence is always there. “Just before performances, I ask God for help,” says Tomoko. “Back stage is horrible and stressful.” However, Tomoko has a higher aim: to communicate the expression of the music. “I hope that the audience gets it.” That communication during the performance takes super energy – and shares it with the listeners. The preparation and the wish to communicate the composer’s creativity brings forth self-confidence. “The spirit is great,” confides Tomoko.

Sometimes it is hard for people to feel confidence about their own playing. Tomoko tries to give them that confidence to persist in their efforts so that they will master the music and be justifiably proud. It is not only the end that is important, but also the means that make up confidence. Tomoko shares her strategies. “I tell them that they can make it. I say that I was worse than them to trick them into keeping on trying. They just need confidence. They never say, ‘I want to quit.’  They want to make me proud.” This approach also shows Tomoko’s self-confidence as a teacher – and rightly so.

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