What is Yamaha Music Education System (YMES)?

Designed to meet the unique needs and developmental stages of each age group, Yamaha Music Education System develops each student’s comprehensive musical ability in an environment that inspires a love of music and a lifetime of active music participation.

Yamaha develops children’s musical skills with three fundamental principles that are often neglected in traditional music classes:

  1. Timely Education: The internationally acclaimed curriculum is formulated based on the natural physiological development of a child.
  2. Group Lessons: Students are able to experience the importance of group music activities like ensemble and to learn with discipline among fellow students
  3. An Emphasis on Creativity: Improvisation and composition are core subjects in latter part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to experiment with making their own music even at the beginning of the courses.

How are Yamaha music classes different from traditional piano lessons?

The Yamaha curriculum is broad compared to traditional 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.

The comprehensive multi-facet approach allows young students to develop diverse musical skills without prematurely focusing on one instrument or style. Students will be able to more aptly choose their future musical path when they are more physically and mentally mature.  As a result, Yamaha students are often leaders in school orchestra, band, and choir programs.

Why is group music lessons better for my young children? Doesn’t the teacher give more attention to the student in a private music class?

The debate between whether group or private music lessons are better for students has been always a big concern amongst parents. From the point of view as music educators, group lessons indeed are more beneficial especially to younger students because a classroom environment encourages and motivates students to participate in group activities that most private students do not have a privilege to experience.

Students also are able to learn from their fellow friends while attending to teacher’s commands. As great as solo piano music sounds, one of the biggest disadvantages of piano players is that hardly do they “make” music with others, which is an imperative part of music learning.

As the students grow and they begin to pay more attention to the instrument they like, private piano or other instrumental lessons will be a perfect complement to the group lessons because, firstly, group lessons have already laid a solid foundation for students’ continuing study on a solo instrument at a higher level. Secondly, since aural training has been such an important part in the group lesson training, the students’ hearing is now so sensitive and finely tuned to discern their own performances; hence, the music they make is much more musical and beautiful. However, this is often neglected in most traditional training methods where drilling is the only method and technical perfection is the only goal. Thirdly, students at an older age are more patient to sit down and focus on accomplishing tasks in a private lesson setting when the teacher can give 100% attention to what individual students need.

How do the Yamaha teaching methods help my child’s development?

Here are some facts that explain the importance of music lessons in your child’s life.

  • Builds self-confidence
  • Early music training improves verbal and memory skills
  • Enhances memory
  • Music training increases children’s listening skills and their ability to recognize patterns
  • Teaches self-discipline
  • Improves academics and SAT scores
  • Reduce stress and improve focus

I have a hard time making my child practice piano at home. Should I let them quit?

A large percentage of students quit before they realize their real potential in music. Nevertheless the truth is usually the parents giving up before their children do. Ask yourself: do you prefer practicing and drilling to shopping and playing?

Parents must remember that practice is not an option to students who learn to play music. There should be at-home rules and schedules, like time to go to bed and time for meals, dedicated to just practicing the instrument students are learning. A child’s success in music learning owes a big part to parents’ participation and support. Prioritize their activities. If you do not want to put music study on top of your child’s list, you had better rethink whether you want to take on this commitment to help your child maintain a healthy and productive learning habit so that the student can really enjoy the music and see the results.

My child always complain that he/she does not have enough time to practice piano. What should I do to help them manage their time?

Our experiences tell us that perhaps your child has too many activities. Most parents tend to overwhelm their children with extra-curriculum activities that fill up every minute in their schedules. Prioritize their activities and drop some of those that are merely killing time.

Allocate regular practice time everyday as part of the daily routine and make practicing the instrument an obligation but not an option. Once the habit is formed, your child will be able to follow their schedules just like bedtimes and mealtimes. More importantly, they will thank you in the future for helping them persevere when they are all grown up.

The progress of my child’s group music class is too slow. Should I put him/her in private lessons?

Group lessons have to follow the age-appropriate curriculum established by the system. All students in the group should learn at the same pace. Although some students may progress faster than the fellow students in one area, like playing at the piano for example, they may still need time for the others, like group playing and rhythm training.

When the teacher spots the special talent in individual students, they will be given special assignments in addition to the regular homework so that they can work more at home. Of course, the student can also take private lessons concurrently to further advance their instrumental skills.

Why is my child learning note-reading not by letter names like C-D-E but by solfege like Dol-Re-Mi?

Because of the emphasis in singing and hearing in group lessons, solfege (dol-re-mi) is easier to pronounce and more practical to sing in. Also, what the students learn is called “fixed-dol” method, i.e. dol=C, re=D, mi=E, etc, which is different from the “movable-dol” method that is prevalent among pop music and singers.

The “fixed-dol” method communicates the same name-to-note orientation as letter names. Students are actually learning the same thing with different syllables. In fact, letter names will be introduced later in the course as one of the subjects, which students must study and familiarize themselves with.

Why do I pay a fix monthly amount for tuition when sometimes there are only 3 lessons in a month?

The amount of our monthly tuition is calculated based on the total classes per calendar year divided by 12 months. Hence, each monthly amount is an installment of the total yearly tuition. On one hand this simplifies our accounting process, one the other this method allows us to bill a fix amount to accounts which choose to automatically pay their bills with credit cards. Moreover, parents must realize that music study is a long-term investment of time and efforts. The result is not immediate. One to two years’ time is well worth spent to find out a student’s real interest and potential.

My family needs to take a vacation for an entire month during summer? What are the procedures of requesting vacations?

Students who take leave for more than a month can request a “Student Vacation Request Form” from our front desk or download it from our website. Provide us with the information as instructed in the form and prepay the tuition of the month you will be returning. The deposit is for reserving the same lesson time as the student returns, for we cannot guarantee the availability of the class time if the reservation is not bounded by the deposit. Should you have paid in advance, a credit for the vacation month(s) will appear in the next month’s statement.

How is Yamaha Different from Other Pre-School or Elementary School-Aged Programs?

Most music programs share a common goal to introduce children to the joy of music making. YMES and the Yamaha Music School of Boston is unique because:

Teachers Our faculty has a genuine commitment to teaching beginning musicians and are certified by Yamaha through extensive training and rigourous exams

Fun and Rewarding Children can have fun and achieve a high level of music proficiency
Play Performance opportunities are available in a wide variety of settings, from casual Saturday afternoon performance clubs and semester recitals to annual All-School Concerts and national or international concerts

Curriculum Materials include books, CD’s, DVD’s and other materials that combine decades of experience with the most recent research in music education.

International History We are part of a vibrant international network of Yamaha education centers in over 40 countries. More than 6 million students over 50 years have learned to play using the Yamaha method.

What former students say…

"Early music training definitely opened my eyes towards the world of music. I would not have been able to pick up the instruments that I play now and write songs without learning the training that the school taught me! I'm so glad my parents kept me in music when I was little, I made some great friends that I still talk to today and I am so blessed to have been given the gift of music by my wonderful teachers and parents :) "

Former Student Kara Rollins

Click here to learn about attending a free class and how music can help your child's development.