Learning to play the koto


 Learning to play the koto, a traditional non-Western instrument, can foster all the musical ability and knowledge required to meet the National Standards, while also attracting and educating students in ways that a traditional Western instrument cannot.  It teaches culture and language of another country, which leads to better understanding of people’s lives in other parts of the world, and also adds value to those who have knowledge of other music styles.

 Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto brings the experience of over 40 years of playing the koto to her students.  Her students experience improvement by focusing on the important basic techniques and level appropriate material, based on learning books from the Chikushi Kai Koto School of Fukuoka, Japan, and are exposed to koto music from traditional to modern styles. 

Muramoto is available for private lessons, and can teach koto classes for up to 10 students per class, if at least 5 students and venue are provided.  She has also presented clinics and classes at many schools and universities.







Want to Learn to play the Japanese Koto

Koto workshops offered  by Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto

    Koto master Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto is offering  workshops for beginners interested in learning to play the koto Instruments and equipment will be provided for these meetings Limited to the first 5-10 participants


About Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and learned to play the koto from her mother, and jiuta shamisen from Kazue Kudo  In 1976, Shirley Sensei received her Shihan€¯ degree (instructors license) with Yushusho (highest) honors from the Chikushi School in Fukuoka, Japan, and her "Dai Shihan" Masters degree from the same school in 2000 for her mastery of the koto.


Shirley Sensei has taught the Japanese koto for over 40 years, including private lessons and meetings at public schools and at universities. In 2012, she was inducted into the Bunka Hall of Fame administered by the Hokka Nichibei Kai Japanese American Cultural Association of America for her life-long dedication to teaching and performing on the Japanese koto. She became the first koto performer from outside of Japan to qualify for the prestigious Kenjun Koto Competition in Kurume, Japan in 2018.


What is a Koto? The beautiful sound of the koto has long been used to represent nature: the flow of water, the soft sound of wind, and the chirping of birds and insects.  The koto is an ancient stringed instrument with roots in Asia that extend back over 1,000 years.  The koto is very adaptable; it can be tuned in a variety of ways, played in many styles, and blends well with many diverse instruments. 

What will be covered in the Koto Workshop?
This workshop will be a basic introduction to playing the koto. You will be shown how to set up and break down the instrument, basic position and beginning techniques, and learn to play some simple songs. You will also learn to read basic koto sheet music.


 You do not need to know Japanese to take this workshop.  Koto instrument, finger picks and sheet music will be provided.  Workshops are once a week, 45 minutes per meeting, four meetings in one month. 


Cost of workshop  4 meetings for $120.00 for the month, in October (Cost includes use of koto, finger picks and rental of the venue. Must pay per month) or $35 per session.


Schedule: To Be Determined


Location: Oakland Buddhist Church 825 Jackson Street, Oakland, CA 94607

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto
(510) 482-1640




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