Jonathan Yasuda

Pianist, Lecturer

Student & Family FAQ

College of the Holy Cross

Q.  I'm a Holy Cross student and I want to take private piano lessons -- how do I enroll for semester piano lessons?  

A.  Everything you need to know about signing up for lessons, including guidelines and expectations, course codes, can be accessed on the Music Department's Instrumental and Vocal Lessons web page.  Students of all disciplines are encouraged to explore private lesson opportunities in the department, whether for credit or not for credit.  The Department may assign you to another faculty member due to demand and other scheduling considerations.  If you have any further questions, please contact our Music Department secretary, Alice Resker (  If you'd like to reach out and say hi, even better!


Music Department Mailing Address:

College of the Holy Cross

Music Department

Prof. Jonathan Yasuda

PO Box 151A

Worcester, MA 01610

Q.  Where is your piano studio located on campus?

A.  My studio is in Brooks 241, overlooking St. Joseph's Chapel, and is furnished with two Steinway L grand pianos.  I try to make the space comfortable and inspiring with paintings and pictures of Boston's Beacon Hill, Paris, as well as a bulletin board with practice tips and music cartoons.  

Worcester State University

Q.  I'm a WSU student and I want to learn piano -- how do I enroll for semester piano lessons?

A. Everything you need to know about signing up for lessons, including guidelines and expectations, course codes, can be accessed on the Visual and Performing Arts Department's Applied Lesson Application web page.  There is an audition process.  If you are truly a beginner, you will most likely be encouraged to enroll in Class Piano MU-104 which I teach each semester.  I also teach Piano Ensemble MU-228 for early intermediate students.  If you have any further questions, please contact VPA Applied Lesson Coordinator, Prof. Kyle Martin (  Feel free to email me as well:

Q.  Where are lessons conducted on campus?

A.  My studio is in the Learning Resource Center Room 131C.

Newton Music Academy

Q.  How many makeups do you offer?

A.  As an NMA teacher, I have the discretion to offer more than 1 makeup lesson for parent cancellations.  Please understand that due to my professional teaching and performance schedule throughout the academic year, I can only afford to offer 1 makeup lesson for parent cancellations per term (14 lessons).  I do offer makeups for my own teacher cancellations.  If you'd like to talk more in person regarding my teaching philosophy, I encourage you to attend a lesson.

Q.  What's your reasoning behind limited makeups?  

A.  This is really a big can of worms because it crosses into a lovely enmeshment of economics and personal ethics.  Not every teacher applies the same discretion, and professionals may agree to disagree, each with compelling arguments for and against offering multiple makeups, or no makeups at all.  

When I was in my formative years growing up in Wellesley, my family valued the dedicated weekly time slot of all my private teachers, from elementary through high school, as sacrosanct.  If I had a sports conflict, we didn't expect a makeup, as we wouldn't want to impinge or infringe upon the teacher's other personal or work schedules.  The meeting of the minds between teacher and parent was this slot is our regular time for the term, so let's both live up to our commitment -- end of story.  Of course, another family might argue that this approach to makeup lessons is inflexible, unfair, and unreasonable for parents, given other extracurricular school commitments, activities, and ever-shifting family schedules.  So, is anyone "right"?  

Let's first take a look at the parent-teacher relationship from a micro-economics perspective.  Generally speaking, I agree with the economist and parent, Vicky Barham, who describes piano lessons as "non-durable goods."  Unlike "durable goods", such as clothes or merchandise where one can "take it back and expect either a refund or store credit," she writes, "once my Monday slot at 3:30 is gone, my son's teacher can't turn around and sell it again [. . .] If the conflict arises because my child is in the school play, and they have their dress-rehearsal during his lesson time, then I feel I must choose between the two activities, and if he attends the dress rehearsal my private lesson teacher doesn't owe me anything."  She goes on to list other examples of missing lessons, such as a 3 week trip to New Zealand with her son to visit great-grandparents:  "I might ask her to consider preparing a special 'practice tape' for that period, or to answer my questions via email [. . .] I certainly don't expect her to credit me with three make-up lessons; there is no way for her to find a student to fill a three-week hole in her scheduling during our absence.  Instead, I hope that she will enjoy the extra hour of rest during those three weeks, and that we will all feel renewed enthusiasm when we return to the lessons at the end of the trip."  

From the standpoint of pure opportunity cost, I believe the economist's reasoning is sound.  However, I believe this approach needs to be tempered according to the teacher's personal and professional schedules to provide makeup(s).  If a teacher can truly accommodate setting aside times for 1 or more makeups per family, then I do not see any ethical quandaries in doing so, as both parent and teacher are mutually satisfied with this arrangement.  In many instances, especially in less populated regions of this country where piano students are in less supply, teachers often feel conflicted when not offering makeups, as their personal income relies on pleasing parents' demands for makeups.  In order to maintain both my integrity as a teacher, as well as best serve the economic interests of my family within the context of my other work commitments, I believe my decision to offer 1 makeup per term is reasonable.

When I value a family's non-durable good of time as equal to my own, and the family reciprocates this understanding, I find we all benefit immensely.  I can only speak from my experience, and I've found much success with families willing to make the same sacrifices that I make for their children each week.  The intangible asset of goodwill only increases for all parties, and the investment in piano lessons beautifully unfolds into realizable, measurable gains in school and beyond. We all grow ever more towards the primary goals of educating the child.  The piano lesson becomes the vessel, with parent and teacher serving as mediators, sailing towards shaping a compassionate leader in today's fast-paced world saturated with purely transactional relationships.  The great concert pianist Arthur Rubenstein once said about his pupils, "I try to discover who they are; I've found much success in it."  If you share my teaching philosophy, let's make each lesson count.  


For information regarding NMA Private Lessons, including absences, cancellations, refunds, or payments, and any other administrative matters, please visit this web page.

Q.  Do you have your own private piano teaching studio business outside of NMA?

A.  No.  This website is designed to give my students at various institutions, and the general public, tips and resources, so they can better understand who I am as a pianist and educator.  My employment as an educator and performer is limited to my faculty appointments with the state of Massachusetts, private higher education institutions, and my 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Volunteer Musicians for the Arts, Inc.  My part-time teaching hours at NMA helps support my nonprofit's program services of delivering professional chamber music concerts to local hospitals and shelters.  Because of your support, we have promoted the implementation of environmental chamber music outreach programs at world class conservatories and institutions like the Peabody Institute at John's Hopkins Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jonathan's Bio

Jonathan Yasuda, pianist, born in Boston, began his music studies at the All Newton Music School, and at age twelve, received first place in the school's concerto competition.  Jonathan enrolled in the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, soon receiving first place in the Preparatory School's Concerto Competition.  Upon graduation, he received honorable distinctions and certifications in the fields of theory, chamber music, and piano performance.  

Jonathan graduated with honors from the College of the Holy Cross, majoring in Music with a minor in Economics-Accounting and a Pre-Law concentration.  He served as the Brooks Scholar for his class, gratefully accepting a full tuition merit based presidential scholarship.  In addition to fulfilling his academic responsibilities on campus, Jonathan concurrently studied at the New England Conservatory throughout college.  He continued his weekly studies in advanced music theory, composition and piano performance, with pianist, Jonathan Bass, and composer, Rodney Lister.  Notable private master class teachers include Gunther Schuller, Robert Levin, and Daniel Pinkham, among others.  Jonathan also served as special assistant to pianist Emmanuel Ax and The King's Singers.  

Post college, Jonathan further developed his piano performance career as a founding member of the Worcester Chamber Music Society.  He earned a Specialist Certificate in General Music Studies from Berklee College of Music, and studied Juris Doctorate coursework extensively at New England Law Boston for several years as an evening law student.  He gained valuable legal insight and experience at the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, among other law firms in Manhattan and Boston.  He defended artists' intellectual property rights, and served as a Steering Committee member of the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition.  Jonathan received national recognition from the National Jurist Magazine and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Magazine for his dedication to defending artists' rights as a law student against major record labels and international corporate conglomerates.  

In 2012, Jonathan founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit Volunteer Musicians for the Arts, Inc. in order to deliver exceptional classical chamber music outreach performances to Boston area hospitals, educational institutions, and accessible outdoor spaces.  Artists in Residence consist of local professional classical instrumentalists and singers who live the VMA mission and spirit: that everyone deserves orchestra seats.  Whether performing for patients and visitors at Massachusetts General Hospital or passersby in the Boston Public Garden, Jonathan and the VMA strive to promote wellness while raising classical music awareness.

Jonathan serves as piano performance Lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester State University, and Assumption College.  He is also piano faculty at Newton Music Academy.  As a private event pianist crossing beyond the classical genre, Jonathan has worked for notable clients such as General Electric, Natixis Global Asset Management, CB Richard Ellis, Taj Hotel, Boston Harbor Hotel, Omni Parker House, among others.  A fun fact about Jonathan is that he enjoys sailing and actually worked as a Coast Guard Licensed Merchant Marine Officer Dockmaster for many years.  

Lastly, please visit my nonprofit, Volunteer Musicians for the Arts, Inc. and support professional musicians who volunteer in hospitals, shelters, and schools -- they are truly the unsung concert artists. 

Thank you, and best of luck on your musical journey!

Chopin Fantasy (Live HC)
Jonathan Yasuda
Brahms Intermezzo No. 2, Opus 118, mp3
Jonathan Yasuda
Jonathan Yasuda

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