Tamako Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi Tamako! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. To start off, can you tell your students a little bit about yourself?
A. Hello! My name is Tamako. I am currently working as a jazz and bossa nova singer while offering music lessons including vocal training and piano, as well as language lessons including English and Japanese. I look forward to meeting you in my lessons.
- Q. You have been practicing the piano since you were 3 years old, playing the flute since you were 10 years old, and belonged to a children's choir. Please tell us about how you were introduced to the world of music from such a young age.
A. My father played the piano and guitar, and my mother was a singer. As my parents loved music, I often heard classical, jazz, and bossa nova music in my house from a young age, either through their practices or through their records. My father studied in New York when he was younger, so we had many jazz records that he bought there, and they were often played at home. He often took me to concerts as well. I was very fortunate in terms of having access to music, and I am grateful to my parents for that. Because of this environment, I naturally became interested in music myself. When I was a child, I had a yearning to be a classical pianist, but I found myself becoming a jazz singer.
- Q. What do you think are the differences between playing music and teaching music?
A. I believe that teaching is to convey the joy of playing music. I believe that lessons are a place to show students how to enjoy music and how to enjoy it more. The word "music” in Japanese means "enjoying the sounds," so I think the first thing to focus on is to enjoy it. However, I also give detailed advice to those who wish to learn more. I try my best to listen to my student's requests in detail, and to tell them what is most necessary for them during our lesson.
- Q. What motivates you to pursue a career as a language teacher and music instructor?
A. I am glad when I get to see my students making progress. I think this is a joy unlike any other job.
Even a small progress makes me happy. In my vocal training lessons, I am always glad to hear that my students passed an audition, were accepted to music school, or performed in a live concert after gaining confidence.
In my language lessons, I also receive positive feedback from my students who have passed the EIKEN (English Language Proficiency Test). Although qualifications are not everything, some people find it easier to study when they have an exam to works towards, so I hope that you will make good use of them in your own studies.
- Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What is your teaching style?
A. During my 25-minute vocal training lesson, we begin with stretching and breathing, and then work on vocal training according to your needs. If desired, I can also offer singing advice during your vocal training lesson.
If you would like a more in-depth lesson covering a specific song, I recommend you take my 50-minute lesson. I have created lessons for each genre, but if you are not sure about the genre, please take the lesson marked "Vocal Lesson". I would recommend that you take lessons twice a month, so that you can remember what you did the last time, which will make progress faster. It is also a good idea to practice a little bit every day on your own. Instead of once a week for an hour, you will improve faster if you practice every day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. It is the same as in sports.
For my piano lessons, I teach mainly jazz piano and chord playing for beginners. Moreover, having knowledge in chords is necessary when considering “scat” (improvised singing like improvisation by an instrumentalist) and “faking” (breaking up a melody), so learning some jazz piano is recommended for both singers and composers. It is also very good practice to try singing the root, 3rd, 7th, etc. while holding the chord, as it is the basis for “scats"" and “faking"". Practicing with the piano, rather than just somewhat scatting or faking, will make the sound you are imagining in your head more concrete. I also encourage vocalists to practice the piano.
- Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, is there any lesson you can recommend in particular? Or can you give a quick overview of which lesson might be good for which type of student?
A. My most popular lesson is the vocal training lesson. Our main focus will be on vocal training for singing, but I have recently been teaching vocal training for speaking, such as practices that help you speak smoothly, which are also popular. I welcome one-time lessons as well, so please feel free to book my lessons.
In my jazz piano lessons, I start with teaching the fundamentals of chords. They are intended for students with some kind of previous experience on the piano. My lesson will be tailored to each student's needs, so please feel free to book my lesson even if you are not confident in chords or jazz piano, or if you have previously taken a lesson but did not understand it well.
Also, if you are struggling with anything in your life, please feel free to take one of my coaching lessons if you would like. We can sort it out together.
I also offer English coaching services for learning English, and a lesson called "7 Days of Habit Building Challenge," which is designed for those who are not good at continuing to practice and learn English. This is a lesson in which participants are asked to send me a report via Skype every day for a week after practicing and learning. I would love to see you in my lessons.
- Q. What do you do when you are not teaching at Cafetalk, or having a concert? Please tell us about your hobbies and interests!
A. I often practice singing, playing the piano, and studying languages. In order to practice singing, you would also need to learn languages. This is why I have been working hard to learn Portuguese in order to sing bossa nova, and recently resumed studying French. I place special emphasis on learning English and Portuguese pronunciation.
Due to the recent global situation, I have also started learning Ukrainian and have registered as a volunteer with a local international exchange organization. Although it would be easier for me to learn if my tutor explained it in Russian because their pronunciations are similar to Russian, the Ukrainian tutor I am learning from does not want to talk to me in Russian, so the lessons are conducted in English. Nevertheless, it is also good for me, as I can practice my English conversation skills.
I believe that I will mainly be using Russian during my actual volunteer activities, so I am also relearning the Russian language that I studied when I was a student, and I am trying to speak with native speakers as much as possible to practice it in preparation for my volunteer activities. I have also been involved in international exchange activities. I look forward to learning about the music and food of various countries from people around the world.
- Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?
A. To my regular students:
Thank you so much for taking my lessons!
I will continue to do my best so that you can enjoy your lessons and feel your progress.I look forward to continue working with you in the future!
To my future students:
Let's have fun while learning together!
I will do my best to assist you. Please feel free to book my lessons!