Kyoko Hashimoto: Find your own musicality!

Canada-based pianist and chamber musician Kyoko Hashimoto visited the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki on a wintery week in January. She has visited Finland several times during her career and seen the summer courses and festivals for example in Rauma and Kuhmo. This time, she was invited to the Sibelius Academy to teach both piano and chamber music master classes. Already after a short period of teaching, she complements the high level of the students.
Ms. Hashimoto is currently Professor of Piano and Chair of Piano Area at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and she also worked at the the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands for 12 years. She has been in the music field since the age of five and lived through some decades of changes.
-  The internet has come and made everything new. There are more good musicians around at the moment, more competition among musicians. The influences of the internet have both good and bad effects. One can get enormous amount of information through the web – but on the other hand, quite superficial information can be spread there and truly wonderful music making can get lost and hidden in this flood of information. 
Hashimoto wants to encourage every student to boldly find their own approach to music. She doesn’t follow any particular method in her teaching but tries to take every teaching situation as a new starting point for cooperation. She says she tends to see herself more as a fellow musician, sharing to the younger generation the knowledge she has gained along the way.
- I would like the students to find their very own approach, bring out their own musicality. The choice of interpretation should come from the depth of understanding of the musical works. Good teachers can perhaps help to give the tools to find it, but this finding should be done by students themselves.
Collateral cooperation
In exhange for having ms. Hashimoto in Finland, Sibelius Academy professor Juhani Lagerspetz is visiting McGill University in March 2018 for concerts and a masterclass. Hashimoto is all for international exchange of ideas. She says it is important for any music school to go over borders to have experiences from other schools, countries and cultures. It is always valuable for the students to get a chance to get a different kind of angle.
- There are teachers that are reluctant to allow their students to work with other teachers - it is actually very common. But I don’t mind that at all. Other teacher’s views may be contradictory but students have to be trained to have good judgement. They may get confused, but confusion is not always a negative thing if it leads the student to find his or her own judgement in the endl. This is required in the real professional world, anyway, Hashimoto says.