Koto Performance Reflection|Music

At the Koto night, us the 7th graders performed a song called ‘OKOTO’ written by Sawai Hikaru. We have practiced for few months and now I want to reflect on the work I did for this piece.

When I first started to practice the piece, I thought it was a very easy piece to remember, since the first movement was pretty slow and had some simple patterns that repeated along the piece. Then when I tried playing with the koto 2, I thought it was very hard piece to play, since you have to match and synchronize with koto 2 to play the piece. What really helped me when I was practicing alone, was the recording of Sawai Hikaru playing OKOTO. That recording gave me the whole melody of the song with koto 1 and koto 2 combined, and helped me out to synchronize with the koto 2 when practicing together. Thanks to the recording, I was able to play well together with koto 2. Some parts that I can improve is the speed and the tempo I play. Because I listen to the recording a lot, I started to practice play faster than we were supposed to. This I believe caused to speed up the tempo of the whole piece, since I played it fast and the people behind me tried to follow, since I was up at the front. For next time to improve, I will use metronome to keep my pace steady, and when I play, I will always count in my head and not just go with the flow.

Memorizing was for me pretty easy, since ‘OKOTO’ had a lot of repetitive patterns. The patterns were very unique and I was able to memorize all the patterns quickly. One problem I had with memorizing was that it took me a while to know what pattern comes after one. Even if I knew all the patterns, If I don’t know where I need to play them, that does not mean I memorized it. After memorizing the piece, I still made some mistakes since I sometimes forgot what pattern is going to come up next.

In the actual performance, I think we played it confidently and clearly. Some parts we didn’t come into together which made it sound bit unorganized, but when both koto parts were playing, we were very organized and synchronized well and able to play the piece confidently and clearly. I thought everyone playing confidently was a great success, since some parts I made some mistakes by playing the wrong note, but the other students in koto 1 was able to cover up the sound since they were loud and clear. We could’ve worked more on the dynamics, since some parts we forgot about them. I think I should always take notes of the crescendo and decrescendo, so I won’t forget. In the end I forgot to come in, which I thought it was the biggest mistake for me. Since all the koto 1 players were looking at me, they didn’t come in either. I reconsidered that being in the front is a great responsibility and If don’t come in right, no one will, since they are all waiting for me to play. But even though I made that mistake, I was able to go back in quickly without panicking  and we smoothly went back together. Overall I think we did a good job of playing the piece, organizing, and our cooperation to play the piece beautifully.


The piece has a lot of patterns and most them are repeating, so it was very easy for me to play this part of piece. I think I did a pretty good job on switching notes to notes, and underlining the notes on the score helped me a lot understand and play it smoothly. What I have to be careful is that this piece switches a lot with the beats like eight notes to quarter note. I have to pay attention to the beats and not get confused because If I mess up, then koto 2 will mess it up too. I also I have to keep the rhythm because the beat was a bit faster some parts. I will use metronomes to help keep the beat.

1812 Overture|Music

In music class, we each chose a piano song and changed it so we can play it on koto. I chose a part of the song by Tchaikovsky called 1812 Overture.

While arranging the music, I didn’t really come across some problems when making the tuning for the koto. My tuning had no flats or sharps, which made it easier to fit all the notes into the 13 strings. It was had to play when I had a half rest at the very first part, so I used the left hand to fill the rest so I don’t have to count for every rest.

Although my piece had repeating patterns, most of them were disjunct so I had problems with fingers and if I can reach them on time. For example at the fifth measure, when it goes down, its conjunct but, at the sixth measure the part it goes down is disjunct. This might easy to play in the piano, but skipping one string is pretty hard since I was playing that part with the middle finger and I have to play and skip a string smoothy to keep it on rhythm.

The last problem I had is the left hand. The original piece had a lot of parts left and I thought it was too hard to keep up so I gave up and decided to create it on my own. I first tried it out with 1 and 5, which is often used for 合わせ爪 in koto. But it didn’t sound right since the tuning were different. Then I tried 1 and 4, since the melody starts with 8 then 11, and 8 and 11 has 4 notes away, same with 1 and 4. It sounded pretty well and I thought it created a harmony so I used it.

It was my first time rearranging a music piece into a koto piece and I had a lot of fun doing it. Maybe next time I will try to add more of the left hand to make my song more fancy. I will practice more so I can play it without mistaking or stopping.

Koto Concert Reflection |Music

This was my first time playing the 17th string koto, and that was a big challenge for me. It was much bigger than the 13th string koto and also I had a lot of 合わせ爪 but it was different from the 13th string koto, so I had to get used to the 17th string koto and that took me a bit of a time. It was also a pressure because I was the only one doing the 17th string and if I mistake some parts, theres no one to cover for me. I also had to come to ICJC to practice, but that made me motivate to practice. I think I practiced more than last year or the year before that. Memorizing the piece was bit hard, since I had to work more on the rhythm than memorizing it so I can play correctly. The rhythm was challenging too, because even if I got the rhythm right when practicing alone, I was confused when all of us played together since every part had different rhythms. But when I got the hang of it, it got really easy, because most parts have the same rhythm. Counting really helped me a lot with the rhythm.

When I was rehearsing, I made some mistakes on the easy parts, and I really thought had to count on that part. While I was waiting for the concert to start, I literally did nothing so I won’t get nervous.

When we were playing in front of the people, I was a bit nervous, since I was the only one playing the 17th string. Around the second page, 2nd line last measure, I forgot to play that part and I made a mistake. But at the same time, I became not nervous since because I thought ‘I already made a mistake, wouldn’t it be the same even if made another?’. Because of that, I was able to play strong and powerful. Around page 8, I thought we were going a bit too fast. To improve I think we should really look at each other when playing because I think the reason why we going fast is because people are too into the music and they’re not looking at other people and playing by themselves.

To improve next time, I will try to practice not only the hard parts, but also the easy parts, because those parts we get fast since its easy to play. Also for me, I wasn’t able to play because I didn’t practice enough on that part. Also I will try to pay attention to other people when playing the koto, so I don’t go too fast and try to keep the rhythm with everyone.

Jupiter Focus Area | Music

Hello, heres a video of me playing one of the part from ‘Jupiter’

This part was one of the hard parts in Jupiter. This part is slow, but it has a lot of moving fingers across the strings and it was pretty hard to play it smoothly. Like on the last 2 measures, I had to get ready for the next one while playing and I kept on missing the strings. Now I improved a lot since I couldn’t even play those lines but now I even memorized it. I also got better at keeping rhythm, by counting in my head every beat which helps me a lot. One part I can improve is the press. I have to press not too strong because its a weak press, but also I have to press until you can’t hear the sound so you won’t hear the weird sound.

Tsuchi Ningyou

Hello. I played a part of the piece in “Tsuchi Ningyou”

I think I did good on the dynamics and the volume in this performance. I was aware of the decrescendo, crescendo while I was playing it and I think the power really expressed this piece. Another thing I thought I did well was the presses. On the first line I pressed hard as I can so the 13 string and the 14 string sounds the same. I could’ve worked a little more on the beats and rhythms because some parts I rushed and some parts I went very slow. I could fix this by using metronome to help me get the rhythm right and also practice more so I won’t have to slow down to understand the piece. Another thing after looking at this video was I should relax my hands a bit more. I think this would help me play easier and your wrist won’t be tired.

Yamazato no haru- Koto reflection

We’ve been working on a piece called  『山里の春』 (Yamazato no haru) and this is me playing one of the part.

When I played this piece I think I went smoothly. I worked hard on going slow and steady so I won’t make much mistakes. I think I did well at the presses and I managed to let it go after so it won’t make a weird sound. Also I think I did good on the rests and I counted the rests carefully.

I think the grace notes need more work on it so I will work harder on that. I also have work on the accelerando because it wasn’t clear enough. Although I didn’t miss much notes, I missed the rhythm at one part so I will put extra work there.

Anyways thank you for listening.

Hana Ikada

This is me playing Hana Ikada. What I have to practice is the tempo. I always screw up the tempo and since this is a duet (Koto 1 and koto 2) tempo is very important. I will also work on my full press and release the press without making a weird sound. But overall I think i’m doing a pretty good job and I hope I can do well at the concert.