John McCarthy has been the single most influential teacher I’ve had during my fifteen years of studying music. I first met him at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music when I was only seven years old, and had just begun studies in the Preparatory Division. He immediately made my family feel welcome in the conservatory community and helped us adjust to our big move from Japan to the United States. I became his student two years later and have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from him.
What I love most about studying with Mr. McCarthy is that he allows for each of his students to develop his or her own unique style of playing, letting them show their personality instead of setting one standard of playing and molding his students to fit that style. He has also served as a mentor and helped me focus on long-term goals for my life beyond my days as a student. Studying with him made me realize how much I loved music and that I wanted to pursue a career in it. Although I now study on the East Coast at Peabody Conservatory, Mr. McCarthy remains a close mentor, teacher and supporter for everything I do. I continue to keep a close relationship with him, and, when I play for him at home, still learn just as much as I did when I first began lessons with him nine years ago. I am always grateful for having had such a compassionate, profound teacher for these past several years.