My Inspirations: Yoko From Timothy Goes to School
The character that sparked my fire as a would-be musician.
Growing up with Treehouse TV, Timothy Goes To School was among the many children’s shows I adored watching. Even to this day, I’ll search up episodes on YouTube whenever I’m feeling nostalgic. They’re only about twenty minutes each (two episodes are played back to back in a single video, as far as I know), and are actually quite relaxing to watch the more I think about it.
My favourite character from the show, and perhaps one of my favourite animated characters in general, was always the little Japanese kitten Yoko. She had always stood out to me from the rest of her classmates, and admittedly reminds me quite a bit of myself as a child. She was the kindest student in class aside from Timothy (who’s also a total sweetheart), and was incredibly calm and friendly towards everyone. You could definitely say that she was rather mature for her young age.
However, she also had her limits, and was upfront about her feelings when it came to speaking up for herself. There were very few things that made her shy, one of which I’ll discuss in a minute. More to the point, I’m glad that Rosemary Wells, the author of the original book series, created a character that was sweet and gentle, though not entirely passive.
Sure, there were emotional moments where she felt as though she was alone in her insecurities, but this is true of anyone experiencing barriers in real life, too. The characters who genuinely cared for her and recognized her good nature from the beginning always showed up to support her, and that made me very happy to witness as a child.
Of course, her character is an influence that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. But, what really cemented her as an inspiration for me as a child were her violinistic abilities. I think I was around nine years old when I first saw the very act of violin playing - interestingly enough - and that was when I watched her perform in “The Music Tree” episode.
I was supposed to start Grade five when I decided that I wanted to take violin lessons. I was just so enamored by Yoko’s graceful demeanour and movements, and the beautiful sounds she’d produce on this then-foreign instrument to me simply called out to me, telling me that I should learn to play it myself.
From then, I had played the violin for about ten straight years, and given that I was enrolled in the Royal Conservatory program, I took it pretty seriously. Not as seriously as my second instructor did, though. She had so much hope for me. I did well on my exams, and was apparently a pleasure to listen to at concerts. But for some reason, I’d go through periods when I wouldn’t practice that much, and other times I’d play every night for maybe two hours or more. It was, perhaps, a matter of mood and mindset.
What might come as a shock is that I never liked playing in front of people - not even my parents. It saddened them greatly - and now, that very thought saddens me even more. Very few people outside of my academic circle have heard me play, and they have all praised my playing style. Still, not only was I shy to perform publicly, but I was also very critical of my own performance skills.
At one point, I wanted to play professionally, and felt that no one should have to endure my errors until I could play every piece in my repertoire to perfection. If only I had known how wrong my way of thinking was then. My second instructor started filming my performances when I left the academy I was going to at the time, and switched me over to private lessons at her home. This made me even more nervous, despite the fact that I was no longer training for the RC program and practicing mostly fun, contemporary pieces for pure enjoyment.
Eventually - and rather unfortunately - I quit playing altogether once I got accepted to university almost six years ago. I was at Level Seven, so close to completing the program and potentially becoming an instructor and professional performer myself. You have no idea how much I regret it now.
I’m going to get into more detail about this in a future post. But for now, the most important thing is that I’ll hopefully become re-influenced by Yoko to get over my apprehension and return to one of my greatest passions - one that still resonantly characterizes every day of my life.