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About Sakura Music School

About Sakura Music School

sakura.gifWelcome to Sakura Music School's website!    

Sakura Music School was founded in 2010 by NYC based professional musicians.

In addition to private lessons for piano and vocal, Japanese music & movement classes for 0 - 5 year-olds are available now.

Students can transfer from group lessons to private lessons very smoothly since the instruction is offered by the same teachers.

We hope that students grow musically together with us!



Ayako Shirasaki   Piano         

(Park Slope-Brooklyn Studio)

Jazz pianist and composer Ayako Shirasaki has been playing the piano since the age of 5. She began performing in jazz clubs at the age of 12, and has won numerous piano competitions in her native Japan including 1st prize for “Asakusa Jazz Contest”. Extremely versatile, Ayako majored in classical music at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Since moving to NYC in 1997, Ayako’s has garnered praise and admiration from both her fans and fellow jazz musicians for her impeccable musicianship and the natural ease with which she plays.

A recent guest on Marian McPartland’s NPR radio show, Ayako is also a three-time finalist in the 2004 – 2006 Great American Jazz Piano Competitions. As a leader, Ayako has released three albums including most recent piano solo album “Home Alone” and regularly performs at many of NYC’s premier jazz clubs.

Ayako made her European debut at the International Jazz Solo Piano Festival 2009 in Germany, and has just returned from a tour of Northern Germany in fall of 2009, which featured piano trio and solo performances, including a concert at the prestigious Laeishalle in Hamburg.

As a music educator, Ayako has taught at Tokyo Metropolitan High School for Arts for 5 years, and at the Suzuki Method summer workshop in MA in 2005-2007 and enjoys teaching private piano lessons to all ages of prospective students.

Ayako is currently taking a Dalcroze teacher training course with Anne Farber while she engages in intensive performance schedule.

Ayako is enjoying motherhood with two children (2 & 4 year olds).



Kazuko Mausner   Piano   

(Fort Lee-NJ Studio)      

Kazuko Mausner, maiden name Nagaiwa, was born in Osaka, Japan and started playing the piano at the age of three. At the age of five, she began studying classical music with Yuko Yamaguchi, Toshiko Tsukagoshi, and Satoshi Shigematsu. She studied popular arranging with Akihiko Takashima, and jazz with Ted Rosenthal, Junko Moriya and Ken Shima.

After college, Kazuko worked as a theatrical conductor/pianist in Japan for more than 14 years, and played in more than 50 Broadway shows such as "Fosse","Full Monty", "On Your Toes" etc.

In 2006~2007, she debuted in Boublil and Schoenberg's "The Pirate Queen" at the Hilton Theatre on Broadway, followed by "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" at the St. James Theatre, and also in the American tour of "Evita". 

2005~2007, she worked as a music teacher at preschool in NJ. However,she has also established herself as a talented jazz pianist throughout the city regularly with her band.  She also enjoys teaching private lessons to American and Japanese students.



Sanae Kojima   Vocal

Currenly no lessons are available

Influenced by her Grandmother who was a Koto player (The Koto is a traditional Japanese string instrument) Sanae Kojima started playing multitiple instruments at the age of 5 and by age 6 was playing in a junior orchestra winning contests and earning early recognition.

After drumming in Rock 'n Roll bands as a teenager she would travel abroad as a University student. Not able to speak any other language than Japanese, Sanae was forced to use music as a tool of communication. This experience affected her greatly and she decided to become a professional.

From the late 80's until now Sanae has performed in multiple venues and Jazz festivals around the world and played with the likes of Jimmy Scott, Etta James, Lee Konitz and more.

In the early 90's she started teaching voice, vocal performance and performance technique and has given workshops in Japan, Europe and the US earning a reputation for her patience, sincere style and deep understanding of multiple genres.

She has also worked as a radio DJ, done commercial voice work and organized multiple concerts for children.

Today Sanae lives in New York City with her husband and son where she continues to perform and teach.



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