Kaoruko Pilkington

  • Career Highlights
    • Voice principal
    • Leader of Kaoruko Jazz Ensemble
    • Performances with Greg Hopkins, Mark Shilansky, Doug Johnson, Keala Kaumeheiwa, Fernando Huergo, Bob Tamagni, and others
    • Recordings include Joy Spring (2000), and Bright Side of My Life (2014)
  • Education
    • B.A., Nihon University, College of Arts, Tokyo, Japan
    • Professional Diploma, Berklee College of Music
    • Graduate-level certification in somatic voicework, CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute, Shenandoah Conservatory

In Their Own Words

"I believe a healthy instrument (larynx) and its function comes first. The stronger the instrument, the freer [students] can sing and the more artistic choices they can make. I check my students' instrument for being healthy and functional, then strengthen their mechanism. Then my lessons go to what style they are based in. It often means some detailed work in their voice production. It can be the mechanics of improvisation or riffs, depending on the style."

"I'd like my students to leave my studio/classroom feeling encouraged, determined, and hopeful. I believe each student has unique talent and capacity to create art only they can create. My job is to find each student’s 'gem,' bring it out, and show it to them."

"One thing is for sure: successful people are not always the most skillful ones. What they have in common is confidence. I’d like to be one who can teach students to believe in and appreciate what they have. Ultimately, that’s the way we create a happy environment, happy people, and a peaceful world."

"Students gather from all over the world, just for the sake of music. I was one of so many international students when I first came to this school. I didn’t speak English well. I always carried an English/Japanese dictionary to the classroom. Many kind teachers helped me understand. This school always embraced me. It’s an institution that tries to include all students with passion who might not be able to ‘fit’ at another conservatory. I am confident that I can understand and reach out the students from abroad."