JMT Web News

August 04, 2017 04:48 PM

“Sing and Swing” Yamaha Music Foundation Offers New Lesson Course for Seniors

Yamaha launched a new “Enjoy Young Days Pops” course specially designed for seniors across Japan in June following a pilot project ran last October at Aichi, Mie and Gifu prefectures.
Tomoyuki Hirose, manager of Market Development Dept. of Yamaha Music Foundation says, “We have offered music lesson programs mainly for children and adults so far. The students learn to play musical instruments and acquire musical skill through lengthy period of lesson and practice. But we feel there are those who want to stay away from such accumulated pains-taking efforts. The new Enjoy Young Days Pops is designed that everyone can enjoy music without any musical experience. We just expect them to feel music in relaxed atmosphere and enjoy happier life with music around them.”

With a catch phrase, “More than Karaoke singing, no more than music lesson”, it’s a 90-minute class organized twice a month. The students enjoy hit tunes between 60s and 80s singing, swinging, sometimes in chorus with classmates of the same age group. The monthly tuition is ¥3,000, more reasonable than ordinary instrumental lessons (additional ¥2,000 required for the first month as registration fee.)

Yamaha ran a TV ad featuring Gutch Yuzo, a TV personality in May. Hirose explains, “Yamaha Music Learning Course has earned good reputation thanks to its established history and proven lesson programs. We have found that has prevented people with no or little musical experience from contacting us. That’s why we set reasonable monthly tuition and produced the TV ad, which tells watchers relaxed and friendly atmosphere and easiness of participation in the class. I believe “Enjoy Young Days Pops” will appeal not only dwellers in urban cities but also residents in rural areas. In fact, some classes in remote towns are filled to near capacity as the students saw value in the course, that is organized by Yamaha, different from ordinary vocal and Karaoke classes. On the other hand, seniors in suburban cities of populated areas find the course attractive in place of shopping or simply outing twice a month. We started the course across the nation level in June, and responses are more than we expected.”

As of July, 500 classes are open throughout Japan with 6,000 students enrolled. About 90% to 95% of them are female, and 65% of them are in their 60s. Enrollment increases as students bring in friends and relatives. Yamaha expects 15,000 students to be enrolled by the end of March.

In the classroom, facilitators project lyrics, simple dance moves, etc. of individual tune on screen using iPad. The students sing and swing along the screen image. Without using scores, they don’t need any musical experience. They can enjoy melody, harmony and rhythmic body movement matched to tunes. The course generates relaxing atmosphere, often laughs among senior students. The lesson closes with sing-along to Electone.

Unlike ordinary instrumental and vocal lessons, the course picks up new songs every time so that the students feel easy and not worry about progress.

Organizing “Enjoy Young Days Pops” course for seniors during weekdays is a benefit for music teaching operation as it fills the classes unused in the morning or early afternoon.

Easy impulse registration likely causes easy dropout. Recognizing the point, Yamaha Music Foundation is seeking effective measures to encourage students keep going. Being part of its efforts, it provides the students with Karaoke scores and sound source on its website for practice at home.

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