Hiyaku Focus Areas | Music

Here are my 3 focus area for our koto piece, ‘Hiyaku’

Focus Area 1: Page 3 line 2 measure 3 to line 4 measure 2

I thought I needed to focus on this part since the rhythm is different from other parts of the piece and I thought it was hard for me to play the note at the right timing. First it is very slow compared to other pages, so I had to count in my head to play the note on time. I focused on counting the beats every time I played this area, since it helped me a lot to play on beat. I also used the metronome to help me keep a steady beat while I was practicing. This helped me a lot for me to remember when to play at what timing.

Focus Area 2: Page 3 line 4 measure 2 to page 4 line 2 measure 2

I thought I needed to focus on this part since this part had a lot of presses and skipping notes while playing. This area one of the hardest thing I thought was switching my fingers to play different parts. I had to be quick on the transition from my thumb to my second finger, and that sometimes made it difficult for me to play the piece fluently. I tried to practice slow at first so I would be able to understand all the finger switches and presses, and then gradually speeding up so I would be able to play this area fluently. Presses were another problem where sometimes its a hard press and some times its a half press. By playing it slow at first again helped me to read my sheet ahead and place my left on the next press.

Focus Area 3: Page 5 line 3 measure 3 to page 6 line 2 measure 5

Since this part is pretty easy for me to play, I tend to play it very fast. To help me slow down at this area, I used a metronome to keep a steady pace for me when I play. By doing this I was able to remember how to play the area slow and steady.  I also broke and highlighted the parts I easily get fast and tried to be extra careful at those parts not to play fast. One of them is line 3 measure 1 and 2, where all I just do is go down from 12 to 7. Because its so easy, I tend to speed up but I tried extra aware of not playing too fast. Also by both listening to the metronome and counting in my head works very well too, since my brain would remember the correct beat and rhythm.

Aki no Hi- Concert Reflection | Music

I believe that the biggest problem were not getting too fast at playing the piece, that we stop synchronising with koto 1. ‘Aki no Hi’ was a fairly easy piece to play, it had simple, but fast patterns. Because of that we tend to go fast during the performance, and if it becomes too fast, we might go out of sync with koto 1. In rehearsals, we didn’t do very well job on synchronising. I was worried that we would stop playing during the performance, and everyone being confused and not knowing where to play. At the actual performance, we did went pretty fast, but we were all able to catch up on the beats, and we were able to play it fluently and synchronised. When we are going to perform it again, I will practice my part using a metronome to help me keep the steady beat. I used metronomes back in 7th grade, and I might use them again to stay slow and steady.

Another challenge was the dynamics. There was a lot of dynamics in this piece and it was a little challenging to play the dynamics while playing the fast rhythm. I would get too focused on the dynamics that I will stop listening to koto 1, and can lead to getting out of sync. Also we had a lot more students than in 7th grade. This would mean that we had to over exaggerate the dynamics so the audience can hear them clearly. I took videos of my self playing the dynamics and I listen to them and see if I could hear them. This helped me a lot to find out which part I need to work or fix on. I was able to play the dynamics well during my practice, but when it came to the actual performance, I couldn’t hear much of the dynamics. I believe everyone was a little nervous, and most were too focused on playing the koto, they forgot about the dynamics.

I always practiced twice a week, from 30 min to 45 min. The warm up really helped me to play one of the fast patterns.  I will continue with my warmups. I think I should pick out the hardest parts of the piece, and use them as the warmup, since you have to endlessly play the pattern you are struggling with, and gradually got better at them. Also next time to improve, I will use a metronome to keep my beats steady. I believe when I practice, I should practice not only memorising them and playing the right strings, but practice with the dynamics and plying them smoothly.

I think the concert went well than I thought it would be. The bows were perfect and in synced very well. Koto 1 has done a tremendous job to keep up with koto 2. We did speed up a little too much in the end, But all of us were able to play the whole piece, and we were able to play the piece very fluently. Next time, I will try to be more aware of the speed and dynamics since those two things didn’t turn out well during the performance. Over all, I didn’t make any big mistakes while playing the pie, and I was able to play the piece smoothly with koto 1

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.

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.