Midori Goto, a world-renowned Japanese America violinist, spoke to the University of Oregon last Thursday at 1 p.m. in the 175 Music room. The lecture, “Singing for Your Supper,” put on by the Music Department at the University, discussed an array of topics ranging from the joys and challenges of being a violist to Midori’s love for teaching music in schools through her many non-profits.
“For me, everyone’s different. My biggest joy comes form the music itself,” Midori explained to the crowd of 150 students and faculty members. She explained how music makes a strong impact on a person emotionally and mentally. For Midori, the process of learning the pieces and practicing is the greatest joy of all because it has kept her mind stimulated and active.
University of Oregon music student, Heather Bachelder explained that, “I was really moved when she talked about the impact you can make as a musician and the power of music.” While Heather struggles with her role as a pianist, she felt inspired by Midori’s words.
Midori also stressed the importance of being aware of the audience the musician is playing for in order to be an accomplished musician. The musician’s role is not only to play well, but to be able to find a common ground with certain groups to be able to connect much more effective with the audience.
The crowd listened intently while Midori gave a piece of advice to the students in the music school: “Even if I don’t have time, I never skip the warm-up.”
Even though performing in front of an audience is important, she emphasized that the greatest importance lies within the warm-ups and practices of the pieces. Because of the amount of traveling a concert violist must do, it is key to stay healthy and to continue practicing every single day, regardless of the violinist’s concert schedule. It can be easy to fall into a routine of playing only during the concerts, not stimulating the brain by playing new pieces.
When Midori isn’t flying around the world playing at exquisite locations, she finds comfort in teaching younger students the importance of music in elementary and middle schools that are without music programs.
“I can’t think of my life without teaching,” Midori explained.
Growing up, Midori watched her mother teach her brother how to play the violin and constantly heard her friends thinking out loud about pieces while constantly playing. While she graduated from a private liberal arts college with a psychology degree, she was offered a job as a substitute music teacher at New York University. Not too long after, she was offered a full-time teaching job at the University of Southern California and took it. She wanted to experience teaching at both a conservative music school and in a University environment.
During her 29-year career, Midori has also started three different non-profits advocating music education. While two of the programs are located in the U.S., the other is located in Japan.
Midori & Friends organization strives to bring quality music education into the lives of students in New York City. Partners in Performance aims to bring purely classical music to students and to help other art organizations bring performances to students. Lastly, Music Sharing also strives to bring quality music education to students, but only in Japan.
Midori continues to support students not only in her lectures and in her concerts, but also in classrooms throughout the country.