Our Teachers

Yamaha Teachers Are Highly Trained and Supported Educators

The initial YMES teacher training is administered over a two-year period. Only teachers sponsored by authorized Yamaha Music Schools may enter the training process to join the international community of Yamaha educators. Upon passing entrance examinations, teachers attend seminars locally and at Yamaha Corporation of America headquarters in southern California. In addition, teachers receive feedback from a team of mentor teachers who evaluate videos of their classes. As they continue their career, teachers attend seminars that introduce new and revised courses and participate in workshops on a variety of subjects.

Highly-trained Yamaha teachers are the key to they Yamaha classroom environment. Florentine’s Yamaha teachers are outstanding pianists and performers who have undergone intense training to teach young students in a group environment using the Yamaha Method. Our teachers are specially trained in conducting, childhood development, classroom techniques, and fostering musical relationships between parent and child.  

Meet the Florentine Yamaha Faculty

Ms. Junko Arita is originally from Tokyo where she began studying piano at age 3 and later sang and arranged for jazz vocal groups. She moved to New York City in 1992 where she received a masters degree from New York University and a BFA from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. She has performed, recorded with and produced for artists including Chico Freeman, Charles Tolliver, Billy Harper, Reggie Workmen, and Senri Oe. She has also conducted workshops and performances at jazz festivals throughout the US and Europe. Ms. Junko is also currently on the faculty for Sight Singing and Ear Training at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Ms. Paula Collins, a native of Louisiana, is an accomplished pianist, composer and educator holding masters degrees in Piano Performance and in Music Composition from the University of Houston. She obtained undergraduate degrees in Piano Performance and Music Composition at Louisiana State University and studied for three years with pianist Mary Norris at the Aspen Summer Music School and Festival. Ms. Collins is an experienced Yamaha Teacher, having taught for 8 years in a Yamaha School in Houston, Texas, where she also served as the Local Representative for the ABRSM.

Ms. Reiko Takahashi is a graduate of Musashino Academia Musicae, the prestigious music university in Tokyo, where she received a B.M in Classical Piano Performance. After graduating from the university, she taught for 9 years at the Yamaha Music School in Chiba, Japan, focusing on music theory, piano performance, and how to make learning fun for beginners. Ms. Reiko moved to New York City in 2007 to pursue her interest in jazz music, and graduated from the City College of New York in 2011 with a degree in Jazz Piano Performance. After further training at Yamaha’s California headquarters in the U.S., Ms. Reiko is now authorized and excited to teach the Yamaha Method in the United States.

Ms. Yuko Fujiyama was born in Sapporo, Japan where she majored in classical music at the Hokkaido Educational College. After moving to the United States in 1987, she began performing her original improvisational music in and around New York City (Knitting Factory, Merkin Concert Hall, & the Texaco NY Jazz Festival), as well as overseas (France, Germany, & Switzerland). She has performed as a lead collaborator of the Yuko Fujiyama Quartet on two records (Tag, Re-entry) and in concert throughout New York City’s improvised music scene. Ms. Yuko has been teaching Yamaha courses at Florentine for 15 years.