Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Yamaha Music Education System (YMES)?
Designed to meet the unique needs and developmental stages of each age group, Yamaha programs develop 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:
1) Timely Education
2) Group Lessons
3) an Emphasis on Creativity

To learn more, please see Three Fundamental Principles and the Yamaha Method.

How is Yamaha Different from 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.

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. Yamaha students are often leaders in school orchestra, band, and choir programs.

Will My Child Learn to Play the Piano or Keyboard?
Yes! For ages 4 and up, an instrument is required at home (keyboard or piano). Children enjoy playing the keyboard and can become excellent pianists with Yamaha’s holistic approach. See our graduates page to learn more about Yamaha alumni.

Do We Need to Have a Piano or Keyboard at Home?
A piano or keyboard at home is required for children ages 4 and up. For more information, see our Yamaha Class Keyboard Requirement: Frequenlty Asked Questions (pdf download)

Are Student’s Required to Practice?
Yes. For ages 4 and up, Yamaha’s programs require parents to spend time making music at home with their child. Students receive ‘homework’ to reinforce the classroom activities. This serves as a guide for parents as they begin to integrate fun, active music-making into the daily life of the family. We provide our parents with workshops and tools to support their time outside of the classroom.

How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready For Music Lessons?
We believe that all children can learn and are ready to begin music training at a young age. Our programs are carefully designed to meet the unique needs and developmental stages of each age group.

I’m Not Sure That My Child Is Ready, But I’d Still Like to Try. Do You Offer Any Sample Lessons?
Yes! We have a FREE trial lesson you can register for here!.

Should Parents Have a Musical Background?
Parents do not have to have a musical background to support their child’s learning. In the first few years, parents are deeply involved and learn right along with their child. Parent support and commitment are the most important. Click here to learn more.

How Long Are the Lessons?
Classes meet one time per week for 55 minutes (age 3/ Music Wonderland meets for 45 minutes). Each book lasts for one semester (fall/ spring), and is approximately 18-20 lessons.

What is the Tuition?
Classes range from $20 – $25 per lesson. Students enroll for the semester or year and pay by semester. A variety of tuition plans are available. Learn more here.

How Many Children Are in the Class?
Classes are typically taught to groups of 8-10 children. This format motivates children and provides an opportunity to develop ensemble skills and cooperation within a supportive community of friends and parents.

What is the Parent’s Role?
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.

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 Hellert School are unique:

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.

How is Yamaha Different from the Suzuki Method?
The Yamaha curriculum and the Suzuki Method both began in post World War II Japan. They share some core concepts, such as teaching music like a language (introducing music in a manner similar to native language acquisition, or ‘mother tongue approach’), timely education (training at a young age) and a belief that all children can learn.

Some general differences include:
Group or Private Lesson
Yamaha: emphasis on an immersion into the musical community through group classes, ensembles, parents, teachers, friends and concerts.
Suzuki: while the musical community is valued, the emphasis is on the individual lesson.

Early Emphasis on Comprehensive Musicianship or Instrument Technique
Yamaha: systematic and comprehensive training model includes singing, ear training, movement and music appreciation. In the beginning, the keyboard is a tool to confirm a broad range of musical abilities. While private lessons are an important part of the curriculum, they are added later when the student is more physically and mentally mature.
Suzuki: students acquire fundamental musical skills. However, there is an early emphasis is on specific instrument technique (violin, etc); during the lessons, time and effort is spent on holding the instrument, bowing, and producing a sound.

Curriculum Materials and Assessment
Yamaha: broad range of materials: method books and workbooks, CD’s and DVD’s in a variety of musical styles; integrated use of repertoire and tools to develop the child’s musicianship. After two years, children may take the Yamaha Fundamental Skills Survey (FSS). As they advance through the curriculum, students may take the Yamaha Grade Exam.
Suzuki: in general, students learn musical concepts and instrument technique with a reliance on listening to and playing a single piece, rather than multiple pieces and styles.