by Diane Wiltshire

Looking back over the many ex­tracurricular activities that our children have dabbled in at dif­ferent stages, nothing has enriched their lives more than music. We started out with piano lessons, but the teacher was not very inspir­ing, so I allowed the children to stop classes for awhile as long as they continued to play for their own enjoyment. I was always hop­ing that the perfect piano teacher would ap­pear in our lives, and sure enough, about four years ago, she finally did.

Roselinda Rampp, our piano teacher here in the U.S., is the most dedicated, fun-loving, patient, cre­ative, and inspiring teacher that I could have ever dreamed of. I happened to come across her ad one day in a local newspaper: “Piano teacher seeking students.” Something told me to call, and our three children ended up being Rose’s first pupils. At age 34, she was just graduating from college with a degree in teaching piano to children, a fulfillment of her lifelong dream.

Our three children have different personalities and diverse approaches to music, but they all look for­ward to the day each week when Rose comes to our house to teach. There is definitely something special about a teacher who can foster creativity and allow such pure enjoyment in the lessons, yet still manage to implement all the basics, including music theory.

And now for the good news: Tokyo has its own version of our Rose, the incredibly talented and de­lightful Charlotte Akiyoshi! Charlotte not only teaches piano, but also voice, recorder, clarinet, flute and bassoon. Parents in this town are going to be thrilled with her approach to music, and may even want to enroll themselves, as Charlotte’s students include adults as well as children. In addition to voice and instruments, Charlotte also offers a popu­lar class in music appreciation.

Charlotte received a B.A. in Music and Creative Arts from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, UK, graduating in 1993. After moving to Tokyo in September 1994 and working for Britannica Encyclo­pedia Schools, she quit last September and decided to begin teaching music.

Classes are held at her own home in Asagaya, 10 minutes from Shinjuku, or Charlotte can travel to the student’s home, a real plus for families like ours with more than one student. The best way for me to tell you more about Charlotte’s music classes is to share some of the information from her brochure.

Everyone interested in learning more about music is entitled to a free trial lesson. Children’s classes in­volve rhythm work, appreciating and listening to all kinds of music, learning how to conduct for fun, sing­ing songs from around the world, and instruction in any of the instruments listed above. The lessons can be individual, pair, or group, and Charlotte’s rates are very reasonable.

An exciting bonus for Charlotte’s students is the opportunity to perform at the annual concert in a local jazz club. Pupils interested in recording are allowed to use this same venue, and Charlotte can arrange for a back-up band in the club whenever necessary.

There is no doubt that music enriches a child’s education and stimulates young minds; studies show that lessons in the early years can even help children with math concepts. Charlotte is able to provide all of these learning advantages, while making it lots of fun too! She stresses that her courses are designed to meet the individual needs of her students. To find out more about studying music with Charlotte Akiyoshi, contact her by phone or fax: 3310-1605, or email: [email protected].

And while we’re talking about children and the creative arts, I was recently contacted by Amy Jorrisch, a very active mom/performer with both Theatre for Children and Tokyo International Play­ers. It seems that there is some interest at TIP in mounting a full-scale musical, such as “Gypsy,” which would include featured roles for children. As you may know, TIP’s productions are very professional and a musical of this magnitude would need more funding than their budget currently allows. If you know of a corporate sponsor who would like to promote the arts, and specifically help create more outlets for budding young musical talent in the To­kyo area, please e-mail Amy at [email protected].