Florentine Yamaha Music School
Yamaha Music Schools are beloved in Japan since the mid-1950’s. Known for their highly-trained teachers, beautiful classrooms, and quality instruments, Yamaha music schools are centers of community fun, serious learning, and life-long enjoyment of music. Here in NYC, the Florentine Yamaha Music School in downtown Manhattan has offered the authentic Yamaha experience since 1986.
At Florentine, the beginner’s Junior Music Course for 4-5 year olds is taught by Ms. Junko Arita, whose warmth, energy, and beautiful voice are contagious to the children and parents. At the beginning of class, students come bounding in, seat themselves at their keyboards with parent or guardian beside them, take out their music books, and await Ms. Arita’s directions. Each lesson they sing, move, engage in musical reading and writing exercises together, and learn solfège—a singing technique used to teach musicians pitch and sight reading. It is amazing to see young children develop such keen musical ears as they follow Ms. Arita’s lead. When students move to their keyboards, Ms. Arita sings, saying each note’s name, as students follow along on their keyboards. Students learn songs section by section until they are able to play the entire song as a group, later with harmony parts.
Ms. Arita herself is an accomplished jazz musician who teaches adults at The New School when not working with the youngsters and their families at Florentine. Other class offerings include Music Wonderland (for 3-year olds), Young Musicians Course (for 6-8 year old), and group classes for teens.
Director Olympia Moy, whose mother introduced the Yamaha approach here, says, “The emphasis on group lessons reflects Yamaha’s goal of raising musicians who not only know how to play with good technique, but who listen, adapt, and thrive with others in bands, ensembles, and orchestras. As a result of the well-rounded Yamaha method, students are well-equipped to take on additional instruments or sing in any musical environment.” Ms. Arita agrees, “No matter what age or skill level, they all come away with a love of music.” Free preview lessons will be held from September 9th to 14th.
Ms. Junko Arita is a certified teacher in the Yamaha Method, which gives young children and their parents a fun and rewarding start to a lifetime of making music.
Florentine Yamaha Music School offers piano, guitar, violin, and drum classes for children and adults in their beautiful new facilities in downtown Manhattan.
219 Park Row, (at Chatham Sq. & Worth St.), New York, NY 10038 | TEL: 212-625-8338 | www.florentineschool.com
Rukasu Budo Dojo
A martial arts school that focuses purely on training the mind and soul through the martial arts discipline is a rare sight among many schools in the city which train for tournaments, and self-defense fighting. Returning to the Buddhist teachings, Rukasu Budo Dojo in Flushing, Queens, focuses on understanding the roots of their practiced art and each of its moves.
The Rukasu Budo Dojo takes pride in providing its disciples a well-rounded martial arts education without getting caught up in the competitive mind set. Lessons in Buddhism, Bushido, Japanese language and culture, and respectful manners are all part of daily life at this Dojo. Head of the school, Charles Lucas-Sensei grew up learning many forms of martial arts from his father who had been stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam War. He employs aspects from the multiple schools he has trained in; such as Gyokko-ryu (Jewel Tiger School) and Togakure-ryu Ninjitsu (School of the Hidden Door). While Gyokko-ryu is steeped heavily in Buddhist traditions and knowing yourself, Togakure-ryu Ninjitsu focuses on understanding your opponent. By combining these schools and others, Lucas-Sensei has created a unique experience at his Dojo, where disciples can form a comprehensive understanding of Martial Arts and life for themselves.
The added lessons in Japanese language and Buddhist philosophy allow disciples to step back in time to understand the roots of the martial art traditions and why they were created. To move well in Martial Arts you must understand your own body, but to truly master the martial arts moves themselves, you must first understand the background and motivation behind the origin of the moves.
The combination of such different schools is a rare find in dojos around the world. Lucas-Sensei warns, “The complexity of melding schools together and mastering yourself takes a lot of time and patience. It is something that needs to become your way of life, and not just something you practice a few times a week.” For this reason, he has primarily taught teens and up throughout his career.
The Rukasu Budo Dojo teaches classes of mixed ranks in a teaching environment conducive to each individual’s level in order to allow each student to mold their own Budo way of life.
Lucas-sensei mixes one-on-one training, small classes, and Japanese culture, religion and language lessons into his Dojo, all while keeping a smile.
25-38 Parson Blvd., (bet. 25th Dr. & Willets Point Blvd.), Flushing, NY 11354 | TEL: 917-975-0925 | www.rukasubudodojo.com