Tomoko Isshiki was born in Chiba, Japan. She moved to New Jersey and Mexico with her family in her elementary school days, and returned to Japan when she was 12 years old. She received the Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Meiji University in Tokyo. While at Meiji University, she joined a student exchange program with the University of Oregon and was awarded a full scholarship. She switched her major to music, and received the Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy and Piano Performance from the University of Oregon. She continued her music studies and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Houston. Dr. Isshiki received numerous awards including the 2nd place prize in Carmel Chamber Music Competition as the Moores Piano Trio. She played as a soloist with the University of Oregon Symphony after winning the concerto competition. She made her New York Solo Debut at Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall in 2006 by receiving the Artists International Special Presentation Award. Dr. Isshiki has 20 years of studio teaching experience. Her students had won awards at the American Fine Arts Festival, Crescendo International Competition, Elite Music Competition, and performed at Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center Bruno Walter Auditorium, and Baruch Performance Center.
at the Zen Music Institute
Is your child showing an interest in piano?
What kind of teacher are you looking for?
Through many years of teaching and raising two children of my own, I am always thinking about what kind of approach is suitable for each student. Generally, I maintain a friendly atomosphere and use positive words to praise and motivate them. In their notebook, I write down easy instructions on how to practice at home. Many parents sit in the lesson so they know the children's progress.
Musically, my goal is to let the children play artistically to sound like seasoned musicians. Rounded hand positions and rounded fingertips along with use of relaxed wrists and arms allow one to acquire the correct technique. When the students listen to themselves making beautiful sounds and imagine the music, they feel good about themselves. At this point, practicing becomes a routine and not a torture. They feel confident that they were able to go through this process and make a big improvement.
Performing is a vital part of students' improvement. We have more than 2 student recitals per year at the Zen Music Institute in Edgewater NJ, and the Nicholas Roerich Museum in Manhattan in collaboration with the Russian Heritage Foundation. I also encourage students to participate in competitions such as the Crescendo Competion, the American Fine Arts Festival, and the Golden Key Music Festival for an opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall or other halls in Manhattan. Students learn to work hard, perform under pressure, and really improve beyond the levels they had imagined.
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