October 8, 2017

Tomoko's Life Lessons Made Personal

My name is Solange Fortenbach. I study at NYU, double majoring in Politics and Environmental Studies.

Studying under Tomoko Hagiwara was one of the most memorable, exhilarating and nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Her passion for music resonates in her teaching and rubs off on her students. She says devotion to one's  work translates to personal success, and she values musicality more than anything else. In our lessons, Tomoko tended to give motivational speeches, and in many she discussed the value of hard work, compassion, and humility. 

My time as a student of Tomoko required discipline. Tomoko's lessons taught me to be meticulous as much as I was musical. I learned to identify different intonations and understand how the tone in which a note is played can change the story of the piece, also affecting the emotions experienced by the audience. A required component of musicality that everyone must understand is one of compassion. Tomoko saw me grow up, and, in that, saw my family experience some hardship. In this time, she showed more compassion than anyone I’ve ever known. 

Coming to NYU, I've used Tomoko’s lessons to help guide me through university life. When writing essays and coding, Tomoko’s lessons on thoroughness and hard work keep me writing and proofreading. When debating fellow students in my seminar courses, compassion has taught me the importance of seeing another’s point of view. In times when I am wrong, Tomoko’s lessons on humility have taught me to admit my mistakes and learn from them. Tomoko’s lessons are life lessons which I will continue to live out not only in my work ethic, but also in my comportment towards others.