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🌊 Essence of Life and Music: Gary To
LoTW: Vocal Coach, Choral Coach, Life Coach Gary To reflects on health and arts
I am Gary To, a vocal teacher, choral conductor and life coach. I focuses on teaching professional musicians, music teachers and music undergraduates.
It’s not I don’t like to teach amateurs and teenagers (they’re actually are more fun because they’re usually more energetic and enthusiastic). However, my goal is to share musical knowledge and passion with more people, to be a teacher of teachers. This is the very reason why Paul chose Timothy: “faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (Timothy 2:2).
That way, not only my students can share the joy of music, but also they are able to share this joy and grace with their students. I want to help them enhance their musical abilities and pedagogy.
Connect with me on LinkedIn or with my various musical and lifestyle businesses featured here. I hope you too will find something to be passionate about.
The Essence of Music
In my mind, music is about community. I started my own studio Music Essence last year, a very difficult time for freelance musicians. The previous owner left Hong Kong and asked me to take over. It was the perfect home for my two grand pianos. It is a lovely furnished place, with two decent rooms for teaching.
This is also a place for sharing and hanging out. Come get a drink!
Coaching for life, not just for arts
Life coaching is a way of helping people fulfill what they need through understanding themselves. I was ‘rescued’ through several mentors when I was in my 20s and when I was 22, I set a goal to become a mentor (or Life Coach) by the time I was 45.
Now my dream has come true.
GaryTo.Life is a website and blog talking about various aspects of life that inspired me from my own reading. I wish that I can be a good listener and support for others.
There’s a space in Music Essence for Life Coaching, something that I provide for students and friends.
This space is also the GaryTo.Life podcast is recorded. Anyone is welcome to join - you are welcomed to be my next guest! I hope that the podcast can give a space for people to talk about what they are passionate about, and give listeners something to reflect on.
Japanese Culture and Food
When I’m not teaching or coaching music, I like to be a student myself. Japanese culture is something I’m personally very passionate about and have been a student of for a long time thanks to Vivian (a good friend of mine who now lives in Japan) that introduced me to two close mentors that I want to introduce to you now:
Matsudaira Yoshiko-sensei (松平 洋史子)
I For You Sora is a modern Japanese tea ceremony developed by Matsudaira Yoshiko sensei. I’m so honoured to have studied both traditional and modern Japanese tea ceremonies with Matsudaira-sensei.
The concept of Zanshin (残心), which refers to a state of awareness and relaxed alertness, helps me improve a lot personally by making me have more empathy and patience for my students.
Most importantly, quality matcha is really tasty! Real medicine for chaotic minds.
Tomonori Shodai-san (小代智紀)
Tomonori Shodai san is the founder of Shodai Bio Nature and a great award winning pâtissier. His products have crossed over with Louis Vuitton, Microsoft and Harry Winston, so it’s mazing that I’m also able to share his products!
I have a sweet tooth but at my age, I cannot indulge myself anymore. Shodai-san always chooses seasonal and organic ingredients for dessert. I’m picky but I love their pound cake and Baumkuchen. Their flavours are always surprising; I can’t wait for their Christmas desserts!
Editor’s (Cyril lol) note:
Hey remember those mooncakes we sold a few months ago? Well we’ll be teaming up with Music Essence to bring you some Shodai products this Christmas. I’ve seen them, I’ve tasted them, they’re reallllly good. Details to follow! Watch this space!
Final thing: Exciting Event coming up
Music Essence Art Space - an annex to the original studio - is having its opening this sunday 14th. Obscured by bars and restaurants, the space in Knutsford Terrace, TST, follows ME’s goal of giving space to those are starting out by presenting work of emerging artists in curated dialogues and solo exhibitions.
The current exhibition program has a broad focus of total installation, word art, painting, and photography. It’s cultivated by public talks and events to facilitate discourse and critical reflection.
Thanks to all the support from my partner Elsa Too and the curator of the art space Brian Wu!
Please come visit us and support local artists!
Venue: Music Essence Art Space.
15F Cheung Lee Commerical Building, 25 Kimberley Road
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Disclosure: At time of publishing Cyril Ma (Managing Ed-In-Chief of Harbour Times) is a vocal student of Gary To’s. No Harbour Times staff receives any benefits from this feature. High Tide’s Leader of The Week is always provided free for local businesses who want more exposure.