Yamaha Music Education System (YMES)

The Yamaha philosophy for music education is based on the belief that all people have the potential to develop musical ability. Yamaha believes that everyone has the capacity to create, perform and enjoy one's own music and that through this joy of music one can enjoy a richer life. We hope to influence the greatest number of people to enjoy music.

In the early 1950's, a research team of excellent teachers, physicians, psychologists, and musicians were brought together to develop a new and effective way of teaching music. Through much discussion, research and experimentation, a unique and remarkable educational system evolved which is now being praised around the world. The four main characteristics of the Yamaha Education system are:

1. Timely instruction

2. Comprehensive music education

3. Group lessons

4. Systematic education program

The Yamaha method of music education incorporates weekly group lessons designed to give students the best beginning possible for the development of basic music skills.

Emphasis is placed on ear training and the development of a good rhythmic sense.

A variety of activities, including singing words and solfege, keyboard playing, sight singing, sight playing, ensemble work and musical creativity are part of the curriculum.

Yamaha Music Foundation has completed much research illustrating that a child's ear develops most rapidly between the ages of four and six (as shown in the graph below). Since hearing development is so closely related to learning music, this is the ideal time to start developing music skills. Accompanied by the parent, as the parent is the essential link between the class experience and successful practice at the home, both child and parent can both share the joy of learning music with one another.



The Yamaha courses began in the mid-1950s in Japan under the direction of Mr. Genichi Kawakami, the president Yamaha Corporation. Mr. Kawakami believed his company was responsible not only for making a quality product but also for teaching customers how to use the product. Consequently, he established the non-profit Yamaha Music Foundation (YMF) in 1966 for the purpose of developing and promoting music education and music popularization activities internationally. YMF guides the development of the Yamaha Music Education System in 41 countries and also sponsors international events such as the Junior Original Concert (JOC).

The Yamaha Music Foundation conducts consistent music education through courses designed for a broad range of students, including children, youths, and adults, from beginners to those who wish to acquire a high level of music ability, with the education for pre-school children as the basis.

The foundations of this idea began with "Music Class for Pre-school Children", in Tokyo in 1954. Later, this class developed into the Yamaha Music School, designed to teach music from the fundamentals.

After extensive practical experiments, the present Yamaha Music Education System, embodying our own methods, was established with the objective of bringing out children's potential and nurturing their capabilities to express themselves by music.

Today, Yamaha Music Schools have developed into a large system with 700,000 students and 20,300 teachers at 7,200 locations in the world. More than 5 million students have graduated from our schools.

Choosing a music education provider for your child is an important decision.

Proven Programs.

Our methods are effective. Today, Yamaha Music Schools have developed into a large system with 700,000 students and 20,300 teachers at 7,200 locations in the world. More than 5 million students have graduated from our schools, and some gone on to become professional musicians, teachers, and composers.

Our aim is for every student, whatever their aspiration, is to gain a love of music and an interest in making music.

Expert Teachers.

Our teachers are specially selected for their musical and communication skills and their love of working with children. They undertake intensive training programs and their work is regularly monitored. They receive ongoing training and support and undertake continuing self-development programs.

Motivating Materials.

YMES’ colorful student books are designed to excite and motivate young minds. Compact Discs have beautiful instrumental recordings to enrich musical enjoyment and involve the listener.

We aim to create the ‘complete’ musician, by nurturing the development of a full range of musical abilities. Listening and aural abilities, keyboard performance skills and reading skills are fostered through our unique group-learning methods — together with intellectual abilities and social skills.

Unique Opportunities.

Our network provides unique opportunities for participation in concerts and festivals locally and throughout the world. Children are encouraged to participate in piano competitions and special classes such as improvisation and composition.

Comprehensive Curriculum

We offer an integrated, progressive curriculum for children aged from 3 to 17 years.

Yamaha and AMEB music examinations are offered for children who would like their achievements to be formally assessed and recognized.

And Above All...

We are committed to doing our very best for the musical education of your child and to enhance your family’s enjoyment of music.



We know that music is an important part of life, that children love music and that every child should have the opportunity to participate in music. For these reasons, the Yamaha Music Foundation, creator of the Yamaha curriculum and course materials, was established half a century ago.

At Yamaha, we believe that music has an intrinsic value of its own and participation in music can provide your child with many additional skills and experiences.

Group lessons develop social skills, sharing, and teamwork, while confidence and self-esteem are enhanced through achievements including concert performances and examinations.

Listening skills can be developed to a very high degree through training and practice. These abilities, often taken for granted, help the acquisition of language skills and can lead to more acute observation, perception and understanding of the world in which we live.

University studies show that participation in music, and especially keyboard performance, has beneficial effects on other areas of learning and intelligence. These studies confirm what have been long-held views – a child’s involvement in music can have tangible, long-term benefits in the study of mathematics, spatial relations and language.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is a private lesson better for my child?

Our Group Courses are fun and motivating while following an outstanding syllabus that helps the children develop a strong musical ear and expressive musical performance skills. Group lessons also offer ensemble, composition, and keyboard harmony activities, which complement private piano lessons as the children grow. Yamaha children have the opportunity to work towards exams including AMEB and are consistently good achievers due to their strong musical foundations.

What instrument will my child learn to play?

Our Group Courses uses electronic keyboards.  At Yamaha, we feel that the keyboard is the most appropriate instrument to begin on as it requires coordination from both hands, and students learn to read both treble and bass clefs. Students develop basic keyboard skills which can make picking up any other instrument much easier.  

Why are electronic keyboards used in class?

The keyboard instrument is the ideal tool to obtain basic music abilities because:

  • It can produce constant, accurate pitch to help train the ear.
  • The individual notes are laid out in a clear way.
  • Even for small hands, it is easy to produce a sound.
  • Using an electronic keyboard will expose children to a variety of orchestral sounds.

Do I have to purchase a keyboard when my child begins the Junior Music Course/Young Musicians Course?

Yes, you need to have an instrument at home. It can be any type of keyboard instrument as long as it has sufficient key range; it must have standard-size keys, accurate tuning and be in good-working condition. It is ideal to provide the child with a good instrument as early as possible.  

What if my child is faster or slower than the others in the class?

As children are involved in a variety of activities in the lesson it is possible that each child may develop some skills faster than others. While one child may sing well, another may have good rhythmic sense. Instructors have been trained to deal with the individual differences of children in a group lesson, and can facilitate children’s development in learning from one another’s strengths. Classes are designed in such a way that each child can realize his or her potential in appreciation for an understanding of music.