Back when I was a child, growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, if someone
had told me that I would spend most of my life living in Europe, and
even move to Japan, I don't know how I would have reacted - I suppose I
would have been intrigued by the idea, at the very least! At that time,
I had little interest in other languages; that
only came after a trip to Europe during summer break when I was in
I gave my first language lessons way back in 1976,
during a prolonged visit to Mexico City. I was already studying both
German and Spanish at the university at the time, and wanted to see
what it would be like to teach my own language to non-native speakers.
From the beginning, I really loved helping people learn another
language, so it's no wonder that when I moved to Germany in 1977, I
started to teach English, in addition to piano, which I had also
A few years later, I co-founded a music school in
Kassel, Germany. My business partner and I hired mainly American
teachers, talented young musicians who had studied German for at least
two years at university level.
Unfortunately, that had not been enough to enable them to have even the
most basic conversations in German, so it was my task to
give them intensive German courses during the summer prior to their
commencing to teach music to German pupils. This experience was
invaluable to me as an instructor, as it not only gave me my first
experience in teaching a language besides English, but also proved to
be quite challenging: after all, raising the level of somebody's spoken
German from almost nothing, to a level that would allow them to teach
piano in German, and that within 2-3 months, was not a
task to be taken lightly! Fortunately, of the twenty or so teachers I
trained during that period of my life, all were able to successfully
teach in German when the time came.
In addition to running the language school,
and practicing piano myself, I also spent a lot of time during
the 80's researching astrology - no, not the "newspaper horoscope" sort
of nonsence all too
popluar today, but rather serious astrology, that deals with the
effects of planetary cycles on the human condition. This period
a book that I wrote in German in 1988, and that I finally had
published just this year ("Harmonics - Schlüssel zur
astrologischen Aspektdeuting", 2009, Chiron Verlag, Tübingen).
"All things come to him who waits!" as the saying goes.
In 1990, I decided to pull up roots once again,
and move to Granada, Spain - an enchanting city that I had been visiting on a
for a number of years. There, I began a new life, though of course,
English teaching was one of my main activities. From 1990
till 2009, I lived in a number of Spanish cities - Granada, Madrid,
Barcelona, then Granada once again. Besides teaching English, and
occasionally German, I also concertized, giving quite a
few harpsichord recitals, during my years in Madrid (I had switched
from piano to harpsichord in 1985). In addition, I was an actor in an
occasional television commercial, and worked on a number of software
and Internet projects.
Some years ago, I received invitations to give
talks about language learning, and quite a few other topics as well (my
interests include areas as diverse as languages, music, astrology,
history, hypnosis, and the phenomenon of clairvoyance, to mention the
areas in which I have more than just casual knowledge).
I loved public speaking from the
beginning, since it gave me the opportunity to reach larger numbers of
people. Since the talks I give are usually in English (though
designed for audiences of
non-native speakers of English), they offer the participants the chance
their English, while learning about topics that they are interested
in. At the end of my seminars, I encourage
discussion, an excellent way to get those attending to use
their spoken English!
As fate would have it, my settling down
Europe was not to be. When in Madrid, I fell in love with Maki, a
Japanese beauty. After years of indecision, I decided to take the
plunge, and move to Japan. I came here to Saginuma (just west of
Tokyo) on March 4, 2009. Maki and I were married on March 10, and it is
here that we will be spending the next few years (we both suspect that
the pull of Europe will eventually become irresistible).
It's a bit odd for me: I speak fluent English,
German, Spanish, and can get by in French,
yet where am I now? In a country where knowledge
of those languages does you practically no good on a daily basis! So
now, I will tackle the Japanese language, and
see what I can pick up. Of course, here In Japan, I will be
dedicating a large portion of my time to giving seminars and
workshops (in English), and also to language teaching;
perhaps I will also return to the concert stage, and see what
acting possibilities present themselves. Variety is the spice of life!
Louis XVI and
Antoinette at Versailles?
The great harpsichordist Domenico Scarlatti
and his pupil, Queen Maria Barbara at the
Palacio Real in Madrid? Or perhaps Voltaire
and Madame du Châtelet at Cirey?
No, that's just a Spanish actress and myself,
on a break during the filming of a commercial
for Spanish television.
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