I was lucky enough recently to visit Japan on holiday with my husband and daughter. Whilst there, I connected with and interviewed Hiroko Arai, a Piano Teacher based in Tokyo with her interpreter, Makiko Akimoto. My family and I were privileged to attend a private traditional Japanese lunch while we recorded this interview. You can occasionally see the restaurant staff coming and going throughout the interview!
Hiroko tells how she struggled learning to read at school. However she got great joy from music and it helped her learn to read. This is what has driven her desire to be a Piano teacher herself, to spread that joy.
In this video you will hear how Hiroko, a “typical” Piano teacher in Tokyo describes her teaching position with a large Yamaha Music School after being a former student herself. Hiroko also informs us that music teachers in Japan in the same way as Australia are not required to have any specific qualifications or registrations to be able to teach.
The challenges faced by Japanese teachers
The challenges faced by Japanese teachers in cities such as Japan also sound remarkably similar to teachers around the world, including:
- Getting Students.
- Keeping Students.
- Keeping Students interested.
- How to Communicate with Parents.
- Students needing better quality instruments.
Japan though appears to have a dwindling population. With many one child families, finding students seems to be getting harder. Hiroko’s plan to expand her student base is to start teaching online via Skype or a similar platform. Wendy describes how she sets up her studio to teach students online.
The video concludes with Hiroko’s beautiful performance of Debussy’s Claire de Lune, made a week later at one of the studios she teaches from.
Thanks to Yahoo Oguma for helping to connect me to Hiroko.