Okinawa Hai fallback


I still cringe when I hear a kitchen timer go off.  I’m immediately transported back to those endless years of sitting on the piano bench hoping and praying the darn bell would finally sound and I would be free.  And that went on for eight long years.  Am I thankful?  Yes.  Did I love it sometimes?  Yes.  Did I hate it a lot?  Yes.  But enough about me…

Ed’s 12-year-old granddaughter (and her parents) are moving here in a few months and he’s wondering where you all send your kids for music lessons?  She’s been taking piano in Texas and hoping to continue here.  Advice ya’ll??

I know there are private teachers on the various bases.  And I know there is a music school next to the Home/Furniture Store on Camp Foster.  They teach piano, guitar, violin, voice & drums.  The kids can start at 6 years old.  It’s $110 for 4 weeks of classes, 55 minutes in length.  Their number is 645-8432.

And are any of you taking adult lessons?  Fill our hearts with music and information, please!



  1. Are there any woodwind instructors on island for private lessons with an brand new adult learner? I am seeking to learn saxophone and already own the instrument, everything up to this point has been self taught


  2. DO NOT take violin lesson from Foster Music School. 1st, they lied to me about their teacher’s Suzuki method qualification. Their violin teachers are NOT Suzuki certified! I already checked with Suzuki Association. 2nd, parents are not allowed to be in the classroom, even with small children – how can we help our kids to practice if we don’t know what they learned? My daughter has been taking violin lessons from a very reputable Suzuki violin teacher in VA for 3yrs and I sit through every class as her teacher requested. After making several requests, they finally allowed me to observe. What I saw was very disturbing – NO INSTRUCTION at all! I spent $150 a month just to have my daughter practice in a room with a woman who refused to demonstrate, gave no corrections to my daughter’s mistakes, and asked us to learn how to play each and every song in the Suzuki book OURSELVES, AT HOME! I called the school to withdraw and the so called professor yelled me over the phone! He said I shouldn’t be in the classroom and I am not a violin player, I don’t know what I am talking about. Dishonest people to the worst!

  3. Hi, I just got on the island a couple of weeks ago. I really want to start taking guitar and vocal lessons, and want to enroll my daughter in piano lessons. Is Foster a good music school? If not, is there any other place near that is good? Please let me know if you can, anybody. Thank you!

  4. I’m seeing suggestions on where to take cello lessons, but does anyone know where to buy one? I’d prefer not to order one online, and the music stores on the bases currently have about one cello apiece, so I’m not offered any choices. Anyone know of a local place to buy one?

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  6. I was wondering if you knew anywere were my son and I can get piano lessons at a reasonable cost we went over to the piano academy but they really didnt show us much so we are still searching on Island

  7. I’m a teen looking to take violin lessons perhaps soon. If anybody knows how the lessons work between alternating days and what not, please contact me. If anybody could possibly send me a link with all i need know it would be greatly apreciated. Thanks


    • Hi Dan, I just went to the Navy Ball and there was a Bag Piper, I’m afraid I don’t know his info but if you contact the Navy or any of the clubs that are hosting the Navy/USMC balls I am sure they can put you in touch with him. I’m sorry I don’t have any further info for you.

  8. Uruma City Junior Orchestra Concert / Uruma City Folk Art Theater (Double-check!) Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Doors open – 2:30PM Concert begins: 3:00PM

    Tickets: 500 yen each

    American students are welcomed with open arms.

  9. Is Foster Music School still operating? And if so, is professor pandanigam still teaching? We’ll be in Oki in a couple months and my son is a piano performance major at a university taking a year off to join us overseas and work exclusively on his piano technic. We heard that he is a great instructor. Thanks for your help!

  10. I will be moving to Okinawa the end of December and was wondering if anyone out there knows of a cello instructor that is willing to take on a new pupil. My daughter has been studying go 3 years, now and want very much to continue studying the cello. If anyone has any information please email me at Thank you!

  11. Courtney Music School offers vocal (singing lessons). $60 per month for 1 lesson per week, 1/2 hr duration or $110 for 1 hour duration. 622 6170
    Also they do guitar, piano, violin, cello, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet Monday through Friday 1pm to 7pm and Saturday 10 to 5pm

  12. My kids take piano through Sunset at the USO with Mr. Frankie. They really like him, and they have learned so much in the seven months they have been taking piano. The cost is very reasonable ($63 per month/1 lesson per week/4 lessons total). I highly recommend the school, and I also highly recommend anyone who wants to sign up with Sunset do it directly via their website and not with the desk at the USO. On a sidenote, Mr. Frankie never ceases to amaze me with his extensive musical knowledge. My son asked him how to play an Usher song, and Mr. Frankie knew which song it was and had my son playing it by the end of the lesson. The Sunset Music School website tells a little bit about his musical history- very neat!

  13. Hello.

    Beginning August of 2010, I will begin living in Okinawa Japan. I am a pianist and composer. Most of my time outside of work includes composing, producing, and performing. Nevertheless I am open to working with a few gifted student who are interested in the study of beginning piano, guitar, and music production.

    Additionally if you have an event where you would like me to come and perform I would be happy to come and play my compositions. I have an excellent piano and sound system.


  14. I’m actually looking at re-learning how to play cello…it’s been years since I’ve left off and I was wondering if I bought myself a cello would there be adult cello classes on foster? Or if not someone who plays cello, to play with me and help re-teach me. :3

  15. Cassandra,

    Would you post the contact info and approximate location for the Suzuki Method violin teacher in Okinawa City (eg. in relation to Route 329 etc)? I used to live in Okinawa City and I’m sure I could figure out the location if I had some street numbers and landmarks. I am very interested in enrolling my daughter, who will be three in February, in violin lessons. In the alternative, can you post contact info for the Suzuki Method teacher that comes to Kadena? Also, how much your daughter’s weekly lessons cost?

    Thank you so much!


  16. Cassandra – thank you for the information! I would love to get more information from you about Yoshikawa-sensei. My email is, if you wouldn’t mind emailing me!

    The lessons we took were private (1 on 1) and then there was another little girl taking lessons so we would work together (overlap) with lessons in between our two times. It seemed the the girls both did really well when working together (maybe it took the pressure off of the 1 on 1?). Anyway, having the option for a group lesson sounds wonderful!
    Please contact me!

  17. I’m Joelle’s friend who knows about Suzuki. My three year old daughter has been taking lessons from a Japanese Suzuki teacher since March (just before she turned 3). Our teacher’s studio is in Okinawa City a few miles from Toys-R-Us. Tatum goes once each week for about 30 minutes. There is also a group lesson about once a month, but we haven’t made on of those yet. She teachers one other American family that I know of. Her English is good enough for lessons. All of the Suzuki literature that she gives us is in Japanese, so that sends me hunting for translation – but none of it is urgent.

    We like our teacher. She is young, patient, and kind. Also an expereinced Suzuki teacher. She also told me that her teacher teaches on Kadena for a cheaper rate, but we like Yoshikawa-sensei. She let us come observe a lesson before we decided if we wanted to invest in the violin. She has also told me that she knows a Suzuki piano teacher somewhere on island – that’s all I know about that.

    I’d be happy to answer more questions or even have you observe one of my daughter’s lessons – she’s not too far along yet. 🙂 I don’t check this site often – maybe Joelle could email me if I forget to check back. 🙂


  18. That was us… littlest wandering up to the Rottie who towered over him and getting slobbered on… He knows no stranger – man nor beast! Funny that the shots took less time than the wait for the bill!

  19. Awesome Joelle!!! Also, were you by any chance at the Vet today? I saw someone who I thought was from this site with 2 adorable little boys. I was going to say hi but got called into the room to get our kitty his shots before I could:)

  20. Suzy and Joelle – did you find anyone that teaches Suzuki yet? We started our daughter stateside last year and really loved it. (1/16 size violin – so cute!). I was hoping to start her up again and start her sister as well. We just arrived on island last week, and I already went to the Foster Music Store (?) and she gave me a couple of business cards with teachers listed for violin, but Suzuki method was not listed. I will likely call them this week to see if they are Suzuki teachers.

  21. I am in need of some service to my violoncello. I found out that I can purchase an entire string set, but not just one, at the Foster Music Store. But they can’t put the string ON (I know, I know, I should know how to do this, my husband usually does it for me, but he is TDY, I can’t wait and I NEED to play… for my sanity). So I assume they wouldn’t be able to reset the bridge and sound post either. The darn thing just isn’t right since being shipped here. I am beginning to think I should have had someone back home mail it to me (a week or two in transit), rather than send it through the household goods office (12 weeks in transit).

    Does anyone know an out-in-town place to have stringed instruments serviced? We are on the east side of the island, but I guess I could travel over – everything seems to be over there on 58 anyway.

  22. I take piano lessons at the Music School on Camp Foster. It is $110 per 4 lessons (1 a week). The books cost around $30. My instructor is a wonderful teacher, and really “dumbs it down” for me, so I can pick it up.

  23. There is a YAMAHA music school inside the SAN-A in Hambi Town. I just saw their commercial on Japanese TV, so I went online and looked up the info. The same YAMAHA school also offers English lessons, so I imagine that you will be able to have some help in English. I wish I knew more about the school, but I have never taken their classes. Here’s the brief translation about the school.

    The new courses start twice a year: May and November. Each class is 50 minutes long. Each class has about 8 students. The lessons will be conducted in Japanese.

    You can view the video of their classes. Go to the following link and click on a red, green or yellow button for different lessons they do at the school.

    Red Apple Class (3 times/month) – 2 Year Old
    Registration Fee: 3150 Yen
    Tuition (per month): 4725 Yen
    Facility Fee (per month): 210 Yen

    Class starts from May, 2008
    Monday 10:30
    Thursday 11:30

    Friendly Music Class – 3 Year Old
    Registration Fee: 3150 Yen
    Tuition (per month): 4725 Yen
    Facility Fee (per month): 525 Yen

    Class starts from May, 2008
    Monday 13:30
    Thursday 14:30

    Toddler Class – 4 and 5 Year Old
    Registration Fee: 3150 Yen
    Tuition (per month): 6300 Yen
    Facility Fee (per month): 630 Yen

    Class starts from May, 2008
    Monday 14:30
    Tuesday 14:30
    Wednesday 16:30
    Friday 17:30
    Sunday 10:30

    Junior Step Basic Class(Group)
    Registration: 3150 Yen
    Tuition (per month):6825 Yen
    Facility Fee (per month): 630 Yen

    Class starts from May, 2008
    Tuesday 17:30


  24. My daughter takes music lessons with Ms. Mimi and she loves it there. Ms. Mimi started with her when she was three and now she is almost five. She’ll take younger than five on a case-by-base basis. We truly do love it there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is their web site:

    Also, if you’re closer to Courtney/McT, they just started piano lessons on Courtney (PX side). I’m sure if you called the PX, they could get you to the right number!

  25. Suzy — thanks for reminding me! I’d wondered about Suzuki myself and tried to get info online. I only got as far as someone up on the mainland, so if anyone knows, I’d be thrilled. The pix of my bro & I at like 3 & 5 playing these little 1/4 violins are so cute I WANT SOME LIKE THAT of my kiddos!

  26. I’m in a playgroup with a woman named Kristen who will be starting a Kindermusic class I beleive next month. Her name is Kristin. If you’d like some more info just leave a comment here and I’ll get some contact info for you:) Also, does anyone know if they offer violin lessons for children under the age of 5. When I was little I was involved in Suzuki (sp??) classes which are for the little ones. I still have my tiny little violin and would like to pass it on to my daughter.

  27. My daughter’s been taking piano with Miss Mimi at Sunset for about a year and we’re very happy. As Aviva said, the prices are reasonable. Before I had my baby, I took adult lessons and they were discounted 10% if you could take them on a weekday morning. What I love about Sunset, too, is the location. It’s at the end of the Sunabe Seawall, so when my daughter goes for her lesson, I hang out w/my other 2 and enjoy the view.
    Tara, we just had a recital last month and it was NOT mandatory. My daughter decided to participate anyway and I have to tell you that it was a comfortable, delightful experience for our family.
    Take care.

  28. My son went to Little Pianist (notice that he went!! He stopped practicing so we pulled him) and he never had to go to the recitals. They are on Sundays and we told them that we don’t participate in Sunday activities. They were ok with it! They are an awesome school if you want to sign your kids up for piano. We are going to take our son back when he gets a little older (we started him at 4 1/2 and then kindergarten started 1 1/2 years later plus sports. We think it just became to much for him. We are going to retry this summer). They are a nice staff and the lessons are 1 time a week for a 1/2 hour. The price depends on your ability. If you live in the Courtney/ McT area it is right outside the McT gate towards the Japanese School!

  29. Okay, so I have a question for those involved in the piano lessons (whether you or your kidlets). Do you know if the recitals are mandatory? I’ve wanted to take piano lessons for years, but having to perform in front of others has kept me away. The anxiety ruins the joy for me….

  30. I am a Music Teacher!! I am new to the island (been here about five weeks) and am trying to get my business, Whole Note Music Therapy, off the ground. I teach voice and guitar to all ages during the week, and I also offer “Rockin’ Babies,” an interactive music class for babies and their parents, and music therapy services. Please, Please contact me for more information through my website:

  31. Yes SUNSET! My 7 yr old son and I both take piano lessons through Sunset Music School. I take from Mimi at the studio and my son takes from her father, Mr. Frankie, at the USO on Kadena. Our classes are $50 for the month for our 30min/week lesson. Both Mimi and Mr. Frankie are great teachers and we are enjoying it so much.

  32. Sunset Music School on the Sunabe Sea Wall has violin and piano lessons for 5 and up, I know for sure. The prices are REALLY reasonable ($50 for once a week classes) and I’m signing my daughter up for piano lessons in March when I find out what days she’ll be playing soccer. My neighbor’s kids take piano lessons there. They’ve been playing since June and they’re excellent and love to play and practice constantly. I loved playing up until I graduated high school (when sadly I moved away from my piano and went to college), and my neighbor also told me they give discount lessons for adults whose kids take lessons. I plan on going back to it!

    The website:

    They also rent instruments! Hope that helps.

  33. Heidi — My kiddo did Kindermusik here with Kelly Martin. But I saw her yesterday and she’s not sure she’s going to do a summer session or not (current session ends in April I think). There is another woman on island who teaches it, but she’s having a baby this summer. So we may have to wait til the fall. I’ll try to update this with info when I talk to Kelly again.

    Would love to know if there are OTHER preschool music options!

  34. My seven-year-old goes to the Foster Music School and we love it there. She began lessons in August 2007. Her teacher is a very talented man, Professor Panganiban, but there are several other teachers as well. It’s a very professional, organized place. And there’s a soda machine outside for after the lesson (a new tradition).:)