dr pianist header

The Authentic Dr. Pianist

“Dr. Pianist” is Makiko Hirata, who has a PhD in music and often plays at Villa Gardens Retirement Community—as well as in concert halls around the world.

Like many people, her parents and teachers tried to mold her to fit their view of
who she should be. However, from her early years in Japan and Hong Kong, and then her teen years in the United States, she struggled to discover how to be her true self. Eventually, through self-awareness and self-acceptance, she was able to become the genuine, authentic person she is today. She expressed a kind and gentle strength in all she does.

We are pleased to present some of her blog posts about the importance of music in our lives and the need to be kind to one another, even when we come from different cultures and have different ways of experiencing the world.

If Dr. Pianist Had a Billion Dollars
“If I had a billion dollars, I would use it to promote global mental wellness as “essential” and have music be a substantial part of it. It will make people happier, more resilient and productive, and enhance our individual and societal well-being
overall.


Music Encourages Empathy
“Through the power of empathy, we must restructure our society so that sharing
our joys can encourage and inspire us to share our burdens.”


White Patriarchy in Classical Music and Blind Tom
“I will say (although this is a gross generalization) that memorization became a way for non-composing performers – often women, child prodigies and/or ethnic minorities – to transform themselves as conduits to the canonized white male composers.”

On Stereotype Threat: Prejudice I struggled against . .
“You are so afraid of confirming a negative stereotype (e.g. “Girls can’t do math,” “White men can’t jump,” etc.) that the pressure of defying the stereotype ends up undermining your ability.”

Musician on a Mission!
“However, we musicians are not driven by the profit. What drives us is the power of the arts. We are on a mission to promote humanity with our faith in the power of beauty.”

Music Can Silence Your Chattering Minds
“On the other hand, birds chirping, ocean waves, melodies from our childhood, and rhythms we want to move our bodies to…these are music to our ears and
brains, that can give our mind a break.”


Glass Half Full = A Matter of Perspective
“Had this pandemic happened twenty years ago, none of this would have been possible. I am grateful for the computer, the internet, and social media… all the technology that allows me to share my music even under our current circumstance.”

On History and Culture - 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima“. . .
one of the powers of culture, art and creativity was to give voice to the voiceless.”

A Shared Destiny
“However divided we are on issues at hands, we all suffer the effect of our collective decisions at the end. We share our hopes and dreams for our future, and the future of our children.”

Let’s Reevaluate Music as a Social Resource
“Music is like a meal. Sharing it reminds us that what we share is greater than our differences. Our fate is entwined. We share our time and this globe.”