Yoko Kawaguchi

Yoko Kawaguchi is a long-time performing artist whose musical goal is to be able to play piano like “water”,  to get “freedom on 88 keys”. 

She graduated from the Indiana University School of Music with a Master of Music degree with a major in Jazz Studies and a minor in Piano.  She has taught piano for over 20 years to hundreds of students.  Yoko teaches Jazz piano to whoever has a passion for it.   

Jazz is America's classical music with African-American roots.  However, Jazz became the music for everyone on the planet beyond nationality and category because of its artistry and unlimited capability to absorb different styles and cultures.  

"Jazz" is also a big word covering many styles.  Yoko loves Bebop.  She believes that Bebop is the foundation of Jazz, it being the style that elevated Jazz to become recognized as an art form.  She holds profound respect for Bebop innovators Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell.  Just as Bach is introduced to all students of classical music, Bebop holds a similar importance in Jazz Education. 

Students request classes with Yoko because they know her teaching is guided by her mentor Dr. Barry Harris’ concepts. Whether pianists, vocalists, or other instrumentalists, it gives Yoko joy to work with each student based on their individual needs and goals.  

Her classical piano classes for children and teens are unique in that they combine the essences of both Jazz and classical music.  Whether her students are at the beginner or intermediate level, Yoko always encourages their personal interests. 

Yoko stands by Barry’s words when he’s teaching piano/guitar class.   Including classical elements in the class, he says, "We are the continuation of classical music.  I bet Chopin and Liszt, they were jamming at salons.”  She admits that her classical world has become enhanced by, and more fruitful with, the study of Jazz. 

Yoko feels fortunate to have similar aesthetics to Barry and another mentor, Dr. David Baker.  Finding what they think beautiful, including Dr. Baker’s thought to, “Provide students enough size of a white canvas so that they can draw and paint their own ideas eventually”.  Yoko has made it her mission to pass on to her students what she has been learning from them. 

Yoko’s own musical discoveries are also part of her teaching.  She currently offers remote/in-person private lessons, welcoming students of all backgrounds.

"Why we teach music" 

Not because we expect you to major in music.  

Not because we expect you to sing all your life.

Not so you can relax, not so you can have fun,               

But so you will be...human.  

So you will recognize beauty.

So you will be sensitive. 

So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world. 

So you will have more love, compassion, gentleness, good... 

....in short, MORE life! 

Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?" 

                                                                                                      ---Author Unknown.