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Yamaha Music School-- Fun for the Little Ones!
When most people year the word Yamaha, the first product that comes to mind might be a motorcycle. Others may conjur the image of various musical instruments including pianos, guitars and drums. In Shiogama, Yahama is the name of a small school, specializing in kids classes on the electone electric piano. They also offer kids English courses as well, though we've never had need to make use of them. Like many new schools to an area, they sent out fliers to prospective students around the same time my daughter was coming into the right age for their youngest class, called Puppuru. We came to a trial lesson and my little one loved it. The energy of the class was great. The transition between many different activities kept her enjoyably occupied for the entire duration of the 50 minute class. Admittedly, my kid was a handful and did not always listen or do the activities as instructed, but we tried and the experience was such a good one that I have to give them at least partial credit for my daughter's current love of school. Her classmates tended to be more settled down for every class, and the other mothers all engaged in happy mom-friend conversation after class. My lack of Japanese fluency kept me from joining them, but they still seemed a happy bunch. The classes themselves are less structured than what I would have assumed for Japanese kid's music class, which is kind of nice considering the mental image I get is usually of strict and scary disciplinarians forcing tiny people to perform scales until their fingers bleed. Instead, these early classes have been a fun and interesting way to get the young ones used to rhythm and how it works within music. There was a lot of dancing and some usage of minor musical instruments like tambourines, but nothing too advanced or difficult. When Kindergarten started in April, her class had to change as well to accommodate new schedules and levels. Now she is taking a group class on the electone, still 50 minutes, three times a month. She is really enjoying the class though she still hasn't really been taught notes or even how to really play a single song. I'll admit that I don't know what kids this age are meant to be learning in a music class because where I'm from kids don't even start school until the age of five, but part of me does wish that they were learning something a little more focused in a way. I wish she was able to play a whole song or scale, but what she does now is also good. Getting used to waiting for a certain part of a song to make a noise is important for later musical endeavors, as is understanding how a crescendo works, and these are things that are being reinforced in the current class. In addition, the electone-specific classes have the kids opening the electric pianos, turning them on, and switching between musical options all as instructed but without parental interference. The staff always seem patient and kind, even when a kid is having a bad day, and are good about keeping everyone informed of upcoming due dates and lesson schedules. I'm still permitted/encouraged to sit with my daughter during her class, which is wise as kids this age can still be quite a handful.