FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About the Koto and Shamisen

1. Where are the koto and shamisen lessons?
Midtown Manhattan,West Side, a block from the 42nd Street A,C, E, subway station and a short distance from Times Square. Also offering NJ and Washington DC lessons on weekends. Please contact us for more information.
Skype Lesson is available.

2. How much for each lesson?
Private lessons only (no group lessons): 1 hour private lesson, $70 per lesson. 2 lessons per month minimum requirement, thus $140 per month. If you want to come more than twice per month that can be scheduled. If you are living outside of New York City (for example Boston, Philadelphia, etc.)

I offer these options:
One (1 hour) lesson per month at $90 per lesson.
Or, One (1 hour 30 min) lesson at $110 per lesson.
Single lesson (non-regular student): 1 hour at $100 per lesson.

3. Do I need to bring my instrument to the lesson?
No, you can use one of my kotos or shamisens.

4. When are lessons offered?
Usually Monday-Friday 10AM-8PM (last lesson starting time: 7PM)

5. What about weekend lessons?
If you are unable to come during the weekdays, for example because you live far away from New York City, it is possible.

6. How can I make an appointment for a lesson?
By e-mail or telephone.

7. How can I buy a koto?
A koto costs about $1000, which includes koto bridges and a koto cover.
They are imported from Japan.

8 . What else do I need to play koto?
Everyone needs 3 koto picks which cost $60-135.
Koto stands ($65/Pair) and music stand ($38) are optional.

9. How can I buy a shamisen?
A shamisen can be bought from Japan via the internet for about $1200 including shipping, and a hard case for the instrument.

10. A shamisen is played with a hand held pick called a bachi.
A plastic bachi costs $45.
A bachi case is about $38.

11. Can I rent the instruments?
No, I don’t lend them.

12. Do I have to speak or read Japanese to play koto or shamisen?
No, many students are non Japanese and cannot read or speak the language.

13. Do I need to read music or have prior knowledge of music?
No, many of the students never played a musical instrument before and cannot read Western music. You will need to learn to read koto music, which is not very difficult. All levels and ages are welcome. Students range from children to retirees.

14. Is it possible to take a trial lesson?
Yes, anyone can have a free 30 min trial lesson. Please make an appointment by e-mail or phone.

15. Koto Lesson for kids
Koto lessons are available for kids of 4 years and older.
Shamisen lessons are available for 7 years and older.

16. Now Skype lessons are available.
Prior appointments are required.

17. Are there any chances to play in public?
Yes. We appear in seasonal events throughout the year like Sakura Matsuri (Cherry blossom festival), Asia Festivals, and many others. We also have an annual academy recital. These opportunities motivate students to tackle more difficult pieces.