The goal of the YIS music program is to involve students in the active, creative processes of making, listening and responding to music, in ways that promote individual aesthetic growth and fulfillment. A life-long enjoyment and appreciation of music is an ultimate goal.


Children will be able to:

  • Respond spontaneously to music, and to opportunities to create music.
  • Enjoy making music, listening to music, and moving to music.
  • Develop an appreciation for, and enjoyment of music traditions and ceremonies, including music within their own families and cultures, and that of other cultures.

Children at all grade levels will:

  • Perform
  • Respond and Reflect
  • Create/Compose
  • Read and Notate

In doing so they will learn about the following musical concepts:

  • Higher and lower pitched sounds
  • Longer and shorter sounds
  • Faster and slower sounds
  • Louder and softer sounds
  • Smooth and detached notes
  • Changes of timbre
  • Pitch moving in steps, leaps, or staying the same
  • Like and unlike phrases of music
Course Structure

Kindergarten – Gr 5: 2 x 45 minutes lessons per week


  • K-2: Spring Concert in May
  • Gr 3-5: Spring Concert in May
  • Gr 4-5: Koto concert in December

Japanese and Instrumental Music Program (Grades 4 & 5)

The YIS 4th and 5th Grade Elementary Music Program is a groundbreaking and eclectic curriculum combining several forms of creative expression. These include studies in Western vocal and instrumental music, Japanese vocal and instrumental music and global music and dance. These two years serve as a solid foundation with which students may explore individual interests in music preparing them for a more concentrated study of music in middle school. With an eclectic approach towards music incorporating performance, history and style of music compositions, the student gains a thorough and qualified experiential background in music.

Instrumental Music : Japanese Instrumental Program

The YIS Japanese Music Programme began in September 2003 and is the only English language based in-class curriculum and certified Japanese music education program in the world. All 4th grade students learn about Japanese music instruments, music history as well as instruction on the koto. Students learn how to read Japanese music notation (completely different than Western notation), sing in Japanese and play the koto. All students receive 4 months of Japanese music out of the year then return to general and vocal music as well as dance from January to the end of the school year. Selected students are chosen in November to continue learning the koto throughout the year.

Instrumental Music : Western Instrumental Program

We offer instrumental music training to all students in grade 5. Students are given the opportunity to participate in large ensemble music making. Instruments are supplied by the school, but students are required to purchase their own accessories. Selection of instruments is limited to brass, woodwind, and percussion; selection is made in consultation with the music instructors. Students who opt to continue Japanese music may either choose koto, shamisen or taiko drums.


Concerts include the annual Winter Solstice Concert at Myokoji Temple in December as well as the Spring Concert. Other performances may include various festivals or collaborations with Japanese elementary schools.