Curt Patterson

Curt Patterson

Curt Patterson

Japanese Music Teacher

Nationality: American

What year did you come to YIS, and where were you working prior to YIS? 

I started coming to assist with the Japanese Music Program about 11 years ago. Before that I was performing koto a lot, touring in Japan and internationally, while also teaching in Tokyo. I began teaching full time in the Music Department in 2012 with the implementation of the MYP.

What sports/non-academic activities are you involved with at school? 

I work with both the middle school and high school koto ensembles. I also help out with our various performing arts events. That keeps me quite busy.

What do you love about the subject that you teach?

Musical growth and development in students is a very tangible thing and it is exciting to be a facilitator of that. The fruits of our efforts are meant for sharing. This brings joy to both the musician and our audience.

How would you describe the IB Program, and its value, to parents?

I think that it is a balanced and well rounded program. Learning through inquiry, our students take multiple perspectives on the world around them. In music, they learn not only foundational musical concepts, but develop valuable skills in performance, composition and analysis. This prepares them to go out into the world and actively interact with music whether they choose it as a profession or a hobby.

What are your passions and interests, and do you have opportunities to incorporate them in your role at YIS? 

I love the modern repertoire for the koto. The YIS Japanese Music Program has been developed with this at its core. It is especially exciting to see some of our graduates making their mark in the field through both performance and composition. I am also quite interested in plants and gardening, which I pursue at home. There may be greater opportunities to bring this in to play with the new campus - possibly a bonsai club?

What do you find attractive about YIS, and Japan?

I think the school's long history along with the sense of community that is nurtured here make it a special place. Japan is an incredibly beautiful country with so much to explore. I especially like the way the country's rich past can be sensed on a daily basis in our surroundings and through various goings-on in the community. Being located in a major metropolitan center with easy access to central Tokyo is also a great plus.

What profession would you like to try aside from teaching? 

I have always thought of opening a restaurant, and I guess this stems from my love of sharing good food, served beautifully, with close friends and family. I also like driving. When I'm not at the wheel I often play a game, trying to outsmart the taxi driver in deciding on the fastest or most direct routes for getting places.

Who in history would you like to meet with and why? 

John Cage - his influence on much of the music I love is great.

What advice would you give to teachers looking to work in Japan?

Seek out a locale and work situation that will allow you to truly experience the country. There is so much here!

What events in the YIS school year do you enjoy the most, and why?

The annual Hougaku concerts are wonderful in that they show our students at all the different levels of musical development. "Play Perform Create" events in the fall and spring allow students to share their talents across the arts. I love the sense of us being a community of artists and creators. On a larger scale, Food Fair brings us all together and again provides us with an opportunity to share our best.