Yoko Kimura-Yates, pianist, composer, and vocalist was born in Sapporo City, Japan. She began her keyboard study at age four and was always exposed to a variety of music in a music-loving family. In addition to her ongoing classical piano studies, as a student at Hokkaido University of Education, her interest towards “art” education motivated her to study more improvisational music and to find innovative approaches which nurture sensibilities and creativity of people in the US. She was awarded the Cultural Merit Scholarship from Sapporo City and the Professional Music Scholarship from Berklee College of Music to further her studies in Boston. Graduating from Berklee with a B.A. in music, summa cum laude, she went on to receive a Master’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge (MA). She then continued her studies at Columbia University, Teachers College (NY) for doctoral study in music education, where she was awarded a teaching assistantship and Minority Scholarship.
She has been a member of the piano faculty at Greenwich House Music School in Manhattan and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music since 1996, besides teaching at numerous other schools. At Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, she served as a piano chair in 2011 – 2013. All through her schooling and teaching years she has maintained a performing career as a pianist and sometimes as a vocalist, and has been particularly active as a composer in recent years. She has been contributing music to film, news and books, and they are shown at international film festivals and “Reuter Business Weekly.”
Yoko on her teaching style:
“As a pianist, composer and vocalist, I have been teaching classical and jazz piano and voice for more than 20 years focusing on basic techniques and musical knowledge from children to adults. Understanding music as a life -long learning, that also keeps us growing, I plan lessons based on students’ needs in their learning stages and their interest, using the approaches to improve various elements of music making.”