Feature Interview

September 2023

Diversifying Music Education: An Interview with the Showa University of Music Vice Chairman, Kimihiro Shimoyakawa

"This is Exactly What We Want to Convey"

Hyodo: We had the privilege of redesigning your website. What did you think?

Ai Ito, Showa University of Music

Ito: I was first struck by how quickly you responded. After contacting you for the first time, I remember you gave us documents, such as plans and design proposals, within a matter of days, which allowed us to picture how the redesigned website would look like. After that, your explanation of the system was convincing, and since you also do translations, we felt assured that we could receive quality support in the future if we decided to step up our publicity efforts. So, all that led to choosing you without hesitation.

Hyodo: Everyone at the Showa University of Music was very cooperative, which was incredibly helpful as we proceeded with the project. University websites have a lot of information and the target audience is widespread, with different needs, so it's difficult to try to figure out how to organize the content. But for this project, we were able to smoothly exchange opinions and make decisions, which was very grateful and a good experience.

Ito: The way your sales team quickly and efficiently understood what we wanted and made proposals was incredible. But more than that, we learned a lot from how you created designs, managed progress and proposed various other ideas that truly reflected what we were looking for.

Shimoyakawa: When I first looked at the website you redesigned for us, I thought, "This is exactly what we want to convey." The visuals tell the stories of students working hard to prepare for their performances, and I hope people who empathize with these elements of our education will apply to the university. We learned a lot about how to use visuals and create a website that is easy to navigate and use.

Ohsato: Hearing that makes us happier than you can imagine! Thank you. Our mission statement is, "Putting Your Business into Words, Conveying Your Business to the World," so we're glad we could be of help.

Shimoyakawa: We've seen a steady rise in users since the website's redesign and we hope it will stay that way. It's not just about the number of accesses or users though. We feel that the people visiting our website are from the exact group of people whom we're actively targeting. This outcome is very interesting. We only have data starting from April, so we believe we may see results that go beyond our expectations in the future. Thank you so much.

Hyodo: Being focused on the quality of traffic to the website feels very true to the Showa University of Music.

Shimoyakawa: Since I've been working at the university for many years, I feel that I have a fairly good understanding of the students' sensibilities. I'm very grateful to you for having brilliantly expressed that sensibility, and not just with words, to people who wish to join the Showa University of Music. I was truly surprised that you created a website that perfectly reflects everything that we didn't even realize we wanted.

Sato: We're very thankful for your keen perception of all the fine details.

A New Course That Engages in Words and Language Up Close

Ohsato: I heard you're going to set up a new course.

Ito: Yes, indeed. Starting next April, we're going to offer a new course called Creative Expression: Voice & Words. We envision future career paths to include jobs that are intricately tied to language such as voice actors, vocalists, radio personalities, moderators and TV anchors. We believe there are great benefits to taking such classes at a university rather than a vocational school.

Shimoyakawa: We talked to people who work using their voices and learned that they need skills that allow them to be successful in doing different types of jobs. So we researched what a person needs to study in order to work with their voice, for example as a voice actor. Of course, learning to use your voice is essential, but we were also made acutely aware of the importance of understanding language.

When we talked to a vocal music teacher about such a concept, we learned that many instructors are constantly striving to nurture singers who can clearly express language. Students in music universities, in particular, focus first on the music rather than the meaning behind the words. So, we decided to develop the idea that studying words and language up close is really interesting.

Hyodo: If I had known such a course existed as a student, I would have probably taken it. There are many advertisements for voice actor auditions, so I'm sure there is a lot of demand for a course like that.

Ohsato: If Hyodo says so, and she's the closest in age to university students, I'm sure a lot of students will apply. In terms of the website, how do you plan to develop it further in the future?

Ito: We want to update the foreign language versions of the website, including English. We receive a lot of exchange students from China, so we feel the need to create a foreign language website that targets them.

Ohsato: Information on admissions is universal, so a translation of the objective facts and requirements would be a good place to start. We would be happy to help.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. We hope that we can continue working together in the future.


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