August 27, 2016

Recording Life

Music is experienced “in the moment.” The performer executes the sound, which the listener absorbs in the context of the immediate environment. Tomoko has had the wisdom of recording the performances of her students and herself for decades. Tomoko listens to these recitals and analyzes them in order to improve performances. Sometimes she waits a bit to listen to provide more objectivity. She also copies the recording for her students.

Her daughter Beata remarks, “She would take her cassette player, and tape record us around the house.” 

Recently, Tomoko found audiotapes of her performances done early in her career in the United States. One special tape recorded a musical event planned specifically for Japanese people in the States who felt isolated from their compatriots and home country. Tomoko both played the piano and sang. for this appreciative audience. In listening to that recording,Tomoko remarkes, “Hear how nimbly I played!”  She rubs her hands, “Now I choose my pieces carefully to suit the physical ability of my fingers.” In analyzing her performance, Tomoko says, “My technique on the recording is very professional, but I play with more depth now, I think.” She continued, “So many life experiences have enriched my understanding and interpretation of music.”

Some of her students have been inspired by Tomoko to record their own performances, often utilizing video to archive both the sound and the visual experience. While it is not the “live” event, such recordings do bring back memories and spark the same emotions as in the original experience.