Meet Haruna Fukazawa, Piano and Flute Instructor

Classes for Kids on Upper West Side

By Anu Kapur, Publisher, Lower Manhattan Macaroni KID & Upper West Side Macaroni KID August 10, 2022

Haruna, please tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Originally from Tokyo in Japan. I started playing piano at four years old and wanted to be a classical pianist. When I was twelve years old, my piano teacher at that time suggested learning another instrument because she wanted me to study about phrasing, breathing and ensemble. That’s how I began playing the flute.

After graduating from Mushashino Academia Musicae in Classical flute major in Japan, I was working as a professional classical musician. But a few years later, I started playing jazz and became an active performer in the jazz scene in Tokyo.

Since I moved to New York in 2013, I have been performing at various venues including the Blue Note, Carnegie Hall, The 55 Bar, The Bitter End, Shapeshifter Lab, Joe’s Pub, The Rubin Museum of Art and more.

Which instruments do you teach young kids? 

Flute and Piano.

What is the ideal age group for your classes? How are classes structured?

There is no particular age that works better for my lessons. I think the most important thing is a kid’s desire to “learn music”. I offer private lessons because students can keep their own learning pace and spend more time on what they need to focus on.


The most important factor when you start flute is that if student’s hands are large enough to facilitate playing its numerous keys. For that reason, my lessons usually begin around the age of seven or eight.

My class starts with warm-ups and includes studying the method books and songs.


Compared to flute, size of hands and body are less problematic for beginner students. It’s more important that the student has enough attention span that will last during their lesson.

My class starts with warm-ups and includes studying the method books and songs.

How do you motivate young musicians to keep practicing?

It’s not easy to motivate students to practice week after week. I always ask them, “How’s your practice going?” before the class. If they have trouble, we work on it and it gives them some confidence.

Also, it is helpful to ask students to set their specific goals and challenges. These depend on student levels: such as playing a specific song, playing scales faster, finishing a piano book, etc. 

As a performer, I share my music, performing videos and information about my shows with students. Showing my genuine love of music can be good motivation for them.

Do you regularly evaluate student progress?

I provide honest criticism in the classes. But this criticism does not only include negativity, judgments or comparisons but also praises.

At the end of the year, I usually ask my students to evaluate and celebrate themselves, what they have accomplished through the year, and to plan the next year’s goal.

When they finish a book, I give them a certificate and share the joy with big praises. 

Do you host recitals during the year?

Yes, we have had recitals every November for the past years. However, during the pandemic year of 2020, we had it on Zoom. The students performed from their house and it was great. Because their grandparents and friends could watch it from the other states and countries.

How has the pandemic affected you?

Most obviously, the pandemic has forced me to cancel or postpone all live shows and tours for the foreseeable future.  

On teaching, when the pandemic hit, I planned to resume in-person lessons soon but as the pandemic continued, I had to put all in-person lessons on hold. Instead, I’ve reached out to my students and suggested that we continue the lessons remotely. Schools are closed but there’s no reason to stop playing and learning music. For my students and me, continuing practice and lessons make us smile during this hard time.

What advice would you give a parent whose kid is passionate about music?

Listen to music with your kids. Exposure to music helps your children, encourages them to play instruments and motivates them to keep practicing.

Live performances have the best influence and impact on kids. However, listening to CD’s or online sources such as YouTube, live-streaming can be beneficial.

Are there any music books you would like to recommend for kids?


Elementary Method” by A.C. Petersen, “Essential Elements for Band” and “Forty Little Pieces”.

“Elementary Method” has the basics of reading notes, rhythms and flute technics.

“Essential Elements for Band” also has the basics of reading notes, rhythms and flute technics.

“Forty Little Pieces” - Not a method book at all, just nice songs by classical composers such as Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann.


A Dozen A Day” by Edna Mae Burnam and “Piano Adventures series” by Nancy and Randall Faber.

“A Dozen A Day” has good warm-ups and exercises for fingers. I like the song titles, too. 

“Piano Adventures series” - This book includes many types of music: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Latin, Irish, Japanese music, etc. Sometimes, they ask you to compose your own melody, rhythm and transposing keys. Kids love it!

What is the best way to reach you?

Email is good for me. Also, you can contact me through my website.

Thank you!