Yamaha music classes are the perfect start to your child's musical journey.
These age-specific group music classes are broad when compared to typical piano lessons at this age. Your child will learn to play the keyboard, sing songs, move to music, play in keyboard ensembles with their classmates, develop ear training (identifying pitches by ear), and create their own music.
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What We Believe
We believe that all children have an innate ability to learn, enjoy, and express themselves with music. The method develops each student’s comprehensive musical ability in an environment that inspires a love of music and a lifetime of active music participation. Significantly, the courses teach students to express themselves creatively through the language of music.
As their education progresses, they build performance, improvisation and composition skills. This approach has produced award-winning professional musicians, successful music teachers and millions of music lovers worldwide.
The Teacher is the Key
Highly trained instructors with a love for teaching, Yamaha teachers are dedicated to helping students reach their full potential. Yamaha teachers are trained and certified through rigorous examinations and seminar training. The teachers must possess a variety of skills, including the ability to sing on pitch expressively, play piano and keyboards, accompany the class, conduct, transpose, improvise and manage both children and their parents in a group setting. And of course, they must enjoy young children and have the ability to motivate them and communicate with them effectively.
Principles Fundamental to the Yamaha Method
From "Yamaha Music Education System: celebrating 50 years of growth." American Music Teacher. By Kathy Anzis, Director of Teacher Training, Yamaha Music Education System.
Group Lessons: Teacher + Children + Parents
"I believe that music should not be competitive, but should be a means of fostering friendships. Music provides a context in which goodwill may be exchanged..." Kawakami, Genichi. Reflections on Music Popularization. (Tokyo: Yamaha Music Foundation, 1987): 6
Lessons are taught to a group of students (typically 8 to 10 per class) and, in the case of the Junior Music Course, one parent attends with each child. This format motivates children and provides an opportunity to develop ensemble skills and cooperation within a supportive community of friends and parents. With their peers, children become part of a musical team making music together. With their teacher and parents, the group becomes a musical community.
The group format, in conjunction with the musical content, brings joy and fun to the learning process. Students who attend class with their friends have extra-musical reasons to return every week. The camaraderie that grows contributes to tight, expressive ensemble performances at advanced levels and promotes long-term involvement in music.
Parental attendance facilitates accelerated growth. The parent/child partnership is active, not passive. Each partnership develops into a mini-ensemble, where co-learning, co-practicing and co-discovering can be enjoyed in class and at home. The entire family hears music shared between two members and often is motivated to join in the fun. In fact, when younger siblings of students become students themselves, we often find their sense of pitch is more developed than that of other entering students. They have heard the language of music at home and already have begun to absorb it.
Comprehensive Music Education
The JMC curriculum is broad compared to typical private piano lessons. Children sing solfège, play the keyboard, sing songs with lyrics, move to music, play rhythm and keyboard ensembles and participate in "music appreciation" activities (initially a non-analytical experience). They develop diverse musical skills without prematurely focusing on one instrument or style. This approach allows students to choose their future musical path when they are more physically and mentally mature.
Music is a Language
The method assumes music is a language children can learn naturally in the same way they learn their spoken and written language: we hear, we imitate, we speak and we read. You will find a parallel sequence played out in JMC classes throughout the world-children hear a melody or harmony, sing it in solfège, play it on the keyboard and then learn to read it. The aural awareness of four and five-year-olds is more developed than their manual dexterity and visual skills.
Therefore, the Yamaha approach for this age group focuses on aural training versus emphasizing piano technique and reading. While early lessons cover the basics of keyboard technique, technical study is more actively undertaken in upper- level courses when students are developmentally ready. Likewise, the introduction of reading and theory takes place gradually in a timely and contextual manner. When students are intellectually ready, it is explained in academic terms what they have sensed and experienced musically at a young age.
The Yamaha Method employs "Fixed-Do" solfège (without altered syllables) in both ear training and keyboard activities. Fixed-Do enables a child to connect a specific pitch and syllable, such as middle Do (middle C), with a specific key on the keyboard. Aural training using Fixed-Do helps children internalize pitch, resulting in a strong relative pitch sense and, in many cases, perfect pitch. Consequently, in JMC classes one will observe students singing solfège by ear and eventually playing keyboard by ear.
Solfège is the core of the Yamaha Method; students absorb this musical vocabulary and use it in both beginning and advanced courses. Solfège becomes each student's first musical voice. In every class, teachers sing melodic patterns and chords that children imitate. Solfège sessions at the teacher's piano account for approximately 15 to 20 minutes of a 60minute class. Through singing solfège, students begin to acquire a sense of pitch, rhythm, meter, harmony, form, phrase structure, key, articulation, dynamics and mood.
By the end of two years in JMC, students have built a substantial vocabulary of solfège, having sung 50 melodies and numerous chord progressions using the I, IV and V7 chords in the keys of C major, G major, F major, D minor and A minor. Aside from developing musicianship, these solfège experiences prepare children to play in these five keys. In fact, children experience singing in a key for approximately one semester prior to playing in that key.
The Yamaha Music Education System represents the realization of the Yamaha Music Foundation (YMF) goal of promoting music globally and Yamaha's belief that "music knows no national boundaries." Children all around the world learn from the Yamaha method, contributing to the development of a new musical generation. In fact, Internationa Junior Original Concert performers, the most musically advanced YMES students, have been described as "ambassadors of music."
The objective of the Yamaha System is to develop each student's comprehensive musical ability in an environment that inspires a love of music and a lifetime of active music participation. The courses teach students to express themselves creatively through the language of music. As their education progresses, they build performance, improvisation and composition skills. This approach has produced award-winning professional musicians, successful music teachers and millions of music lovers worldwide.
Yamaha Grade Examination
The Yamaha Grade Examination System was started in 1967 for the purpose of enabling everyone who is learning music to improve their musical skills in a well-planned manner while verifying their overall ability. The purpose is to give everyone who is learning music a set of standards and motivation for achieving goals.
Yamaha Grade Examinations help teachers and music learners to confirm their musical abilities and encourage them to acquire all-around musical abilities so that they can enjoy creating and performing music. More than 10 million people have taken these proficiency examinations over the past 40 years, and this system is widely accepted as the standard for assessing musical abilities.
Yamaha Music Courses began in the mid 1950's in Japan under the direction of Genichi Kawakami, the
president of Yamaha Corporation. Mr. Kawakami established the non-profit Yamaha Music Foundation (YMF) in 1966 for the purpose of developing and promoting music education and popularization activities internationally. YMF guides the evolution of YMES in 40 countries with continuous research into child development and new teaching techniques. It also sponsors events such as the prestigious International Junior Original Concert (IJOC).
Today, Yamaha Music Schools have developed into a large system with more than 600,000 students,
18,000 instructors and 4,500 locations in the world. More than 5 million students have graduated from the Yamaha school.