Mail Magazine vol.17

Kumiko’s “In Search of the Transparent Sound” vol.17

Sound goes to the deepest part of your consciousness with its resounding action when you

hear sound. At that time, the center sense of your consciousness becomes a compass.

Why is it important to go to the center of your consciousness?

Because you can go endlessly only when you go to the center of your rotating


However, sound swerves from the center of your consciousness just like light refracts

through a prism when your consciousness is distorted.

Your reaction to your surroundings swerves usually from your center while you do not

know. So it is necessary to tune to the center where your consciousness is transparent.

How to hear sound depends on individual. You cannot hear with others’ ears.

Try to be conscious how you hear now.

As I wrote in my previous essays, I was a bad example when I started taking Prof. Sasaki’s


When he happened to find me among his pupils who had been taking his lesson for many

years, he used to say,

“ Have a go of this tune, Kumiko”

The music which other pupils played was not so difficult for me to play. So I could sight-
read the piece.

No sooner had I finished playing, Sasaki turned to other pupils saying,

“ Did you hear? This is the sound of a student of a musical college!”

Hearing my piano, they were surprised saying unanimously,

“Gee! Indeed!“

Of course, as a bad example.

As for me, far from feeling bad or insulted, I was happy because my sound contributed

somehow to their comprehension about the difference between good sound and bad one.

The days when I started taking Sasaki’s lesson, I kept on thinking how I can derive warm

sound from a piano. I observed in detail others whose sound was warm.

How is his or her posture? And the form of his or her hands?

How deep is the angle of the fingers to the keyboard?

And how fast?

I thought through and through about the difference between them and me, besides

observing them in detail. And also I practiced piano more than two hours every day. But

however hard I practiced, my sound remained stiff and cold. The next day, I sat down at

the piano and started practice again. However, my sound did not change even after many

attempts. I tried this and that and so on. Sadly enough, my sound never moved. I felt

as if I was rejected by sound! Then I started practicing piano again for more than two or

three hours in vain. Exhausted, I was about to stop practicing when warm sound came out


I was happy thinking that I could start piano practice with this warm sound the next day and

that I would be very good pianist at last!

However, nothing had changed the next day. I had to struggle with my cold sound. My

efforts bore no fruit. My plan flunked again. I had been in the most serious agony since I

was born. I felt that I was surrounded by a solid and invisible wall. I could not reach the

space of wonderful sound.

I was about to be crushed by the exhausting repetition of the same thing since I started

Prof. Sasaki’s lesson.

After many years, I was finally despaired and murmured,

“ From the beginning, it was impossible for me to do this. I can’t do any more!”

I felt losing all my strength out and murmured,

“ I ‘ve made up my mind to give up playing piano.”

And I put my loose fist softly on the keyboard.

Then…….I heard the sound which I had been seeking for! Brilliant and warm sound

expanded softly in the space.

“Ah? What? ….No! Unbelievable!!”

I did the same thing several times. Each time, warm and rich sound filled the space.

“I can’t believe it! I have spent so many years seeking for this sound in vain. Is it so simple?

Gradually, suspicion sprang up in my mind.

It must not be so simple and easy! If it is so simple, have I spent many years for nothing?

What I learned at the musical college and my endeavor, are all of them useless? Was it

wrong for me to have learned at college and practiced very hard?

No! I never admit it!

My heart was filled with resistant feeling.

In a mean time, my resistant feeling faded away. And I began enjoying natural and warm

sound which was flowing up like a spring.

However, when I tried to play with some intension, the brilliance and warmth of my sound

disappeared quickly.

Sound is mysterious indeed!

I have experienced a lot seeking for good sound. If you have intension to make such and

such sound at the very moment, your sound become stiff as if it obeys your order.

I suppose that I had no intension when Prof. Sasaki said to me” Good! Kumiko”

By observing myself, I have come to be aware of how I intend.

Deep sound comes out when your superficial consciousness which makes your intension

is taken off. On the other hand, rigid and cold sound comes out when your superficial

consciousness tries to control all of your senses.

The former is hard to notice while the latter is relatively easy to grasp. Prof. Sasaki’s lesson

made me experience thoroughly endless variations between them.

Through teaching private lessons, directing the chorus a cappella ”The Song of the Wind”

and challenging to give piano concerts of improvisation, I have come to realize that the

consciousness is the law of energy itself.

So far, I have written the impressive memories of my young days under Prof. Sasaki.

From now on, I’m going to write how my sense which I have got through his lesson has

developed through my musical experiences.

Nevertheless, the core is still the sound which I got through his lesson.

The lesson of sound never ends!

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