Teacher Spotlight: Karen Matsumaru

This installment of our Spotlight series focuses on our violin/viola teacher, Karen Matsumaru. Karen discusses her family's involvement in her music, her favourite piece to perform as well as gives advice for all students.

What initially drew you to music?

My mother drove me to music! She heard of a free group violin class offered at the community centre. When my older brother refused to play, I stepped up to the plate, as it were! 
What do you like most about your instrument? 
I love the sound quality of the viola; it is both alluring and mellow. Also, I enjoy the role we play in a symphonic context. I like playing this supportive role; we create a beautiful platform on top of which the melody can be free to soar! 
What's your favourite piece to perform? 
I loved performing Hindemith's Trauermusik at a summer festival I was teaching in 2004. It is intimate and poignant. 
Tell us your favourite musical memory. 
I remember my father would put a record on almost every night when I was growing up. He still does. He has the most stunning collection of vinyl, and likes to pump up the volume! I distinctly remember listening to a lot of Tchaikovsky Symphonies. 
What advice would you give to a new student? 
I would say what my teacher told me in Grad school: "You play the way you are." Everything in life carries over to music, and vice versa. This advice probably makes no sense to a child, but the older I get the more I appreciate its significance and potential. If you are a timid person governed by fear, for instance, you will play as a timid person governed by fear. Allow yourself to explore creative expression in music, and you also open the door for possibility in any other endeavour. 

New & notable

What's new

ToMA Children's Choir Starting September 12!

Our ToMA Online Choir - for children ages 6-12 - is gearing up to start rehearsing on Saturday, September 12. The cost for the choir is $270 per term, with two terms during the school year. Rehearsals run from 10-11 Saturday mornings, and rehearse via Google Meet. Feel free to contact us for the link to our rehearsal room, and join in the musical fun! You can join us starting anytime, even partway through the season (we will made adjustments to the fee for later starts).

To see just a small sample of what they do, click Read More to see one of the videos from our Summer Virtual Choir program.

Why Online-Only Lessons?

We've heard from many of you asking both when we will be able to return to in-person lessons, as well as why we are working only online with our students. The first answer is, we don't know. But the second answer is simple: safety. And we have the science to back it up.