Learn to play Japanese Music

The beautiful sound of the koto and other Japanese string instruments is familiar to many is the sound that conjures up the romance and traditions of old Japan. The world of this music is rich in repertoire and exciting to play.

Yoko Hiraoka takes absolute begiinners, or those with some experience, into this musical world gently and with great attention to the students' needs and pace of development. To many would-be students, studying Japanese music might be just a dream, however it is very accessible to anyone who delights in just strumming their fingers across the strings of a koto or shamisen, and enjoying the sound.


Studio lessons & Internet Lessons with Yoko

Yoko offers lessons for shamisen, koto and five string Chikuzen biwa, either face-to-face in her home studio or via the internet, in English or Japanese. Beginners will be introduced to the very basics of the instrument:

*Describing the components of the instrument

*Holding the instrument correctly

*Basic tunings

*Basic techniques

*History of the instrument and its music genres

*Caring for the instrument and string replacement

*Japanese traditional music notation and simple compositions


Teaching approach

Yoko's warm character and mature approach gives students confidence right from the start. Students relax and enjoy their time with Yoko. She is a compassionate and gentle teacher and will always go along with the most comfortable pace of learning that suits the student.

Everyone is encouraged to relax, enjoy, and be happy with wherever they may be on their musical journey. Yoko trains students to become deeply aware of rhythm, tone and the subtleties of plucking strings. She encourages the building of solid form and good practice. A lot of early teaching emphasis goes towards good skill-building with many types of exercises and a gradual building of strength as a player. Eventually players have such a solid foundation they become self-sufficient and confident in having a good core practice.

Please feel free to call or email Yoko to talk about lessons:

303-725-8683 or email



All the instruments Yoko teaches can be rented by students for a nominal sum per month. She will also help you if and when you want to purchase your own.

Lesson Costs

Instrument lessons are $40.00 per hour, payable in advance via Paypal, or by personal cheque or money order.

For those not familiar with Paypal, it is a simple to use internet payment service which enables users to pay for goods and services using a credit card or bank account.

Technical Stuff for Skype lessons

In order to establish a two-way video and audio link with Yoko, students will need the following:

-A computer with fast internet connection (DSL or Cable). This can be a laptop or a desktop machine.

-Camera and microphone. Some computers have built-in cameras and mics. If you don't have this on your machine, you will need a separate camera and microphone connected to one of the usb ports on your computer. Separate cameras exist with a built-in mic, which is most convenient. These are not very expensive items...usually they run between $60-$80 depending on the model.


Free downloadable software exists to create the video/audio link between Yoko and yourself. Once set-up, there are no extra costs involved in a video teaching session.


Yoko can help with any technical issues. Usually the link is made quite easily and the lesson can proceed comfortably.

Yoko Hiraoka

Concert Performances
Biwa Recital & Lecture
Contemporary Music Performance Calendar
Teaching & Skype lessons
Outreach Programs
Photo Gallery
Music samples & CD
String Instruments of Japan
Japanese Traditional Music