Japanese Traditional Music Workshops (CANCELLED)

Guest Artist Workshops
Sponsored by Batchelor Foundation and Residence Inn Boca Raton by Marriott

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health threat, and the concern of our students, staff, and instructors’ health and safety the 2020 Youth Summer Music & Culture Camp and Guest Artist Workshops: Japanese Traditional Music will be cancelled this June. Morikami will continue to reevaluate and reassess as information about the virus and its impact on public health is presented. Please continue to visit this page for further updates on a reschedule of this program at a later date.

Adults in Kimono playing Shakuhachi woodwind instrument

Program Description

There will be two opportunities for adults to take the Japanese traditional music workshops at the Morikami Museum with our professional musicians from Japan. Instruments and sheet music will be provided for use in the workshops.

Participants will choose which instrument they would like to study: 13-string koto (zither) or shakuhachi (bamboo flute). The program is aimed at beginners, those with no or little experience with the shakuhachi or koto. An intermediate course is be offered on the weekends for those who have taken the beginners course and want to go to the next level.

About Morikami’s Japanese Traditional Music Program

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens established a yearly Japanese traditional music education program in 2017 aimed at the general public and school children. This groundbreaking program includes hands-on workshops and a youth music camp.

Program content includes practical instruction on the Japanese shakuhachi and the 13-string koto for both children (grades 3-12) and adults. In addition, the program will feature special classes on Japanese music theory and history, culture, and an introduction to Japanese traditional arts.

Led by Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato, coordinator of the program and koto teacher, the faculty also includes shakuhachi performer Kyle Kamal Helou and Morikami Education Staff. The Japanese Traditional Music Program is proudly supported through special grants received from the Toshiba International Foundation, Japan Foundation, JM Family Enterprises, Inc. and the Morikami Wisdom Ring Members.

Overview of 2017 Morikami Music Program Results

Overview of 2018 Morikami Music Program Results



  • Beginner Session: 9:00am-12:30pm (10am-10:30am break)
  • Intermediate Session: 1:30pm – 5:00pm (2:30pm – 3:00pm break)


  • June 27 and 28, 2020 (each session is two days)


  • $200 per session


  • Intermediate Session: complete beginners course or prior experience with the instrument.


  • Morikami Theater (Koto class)
  • Tea House/Classroom A (Shakuhachi class)

Meet Your Instructors

Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato

Coordinator, Japanese Music Program
Koto Instructor

Joseph Gashō Amato received his Ph.D. in composition in 1998 from New York University with primary studies in Italian contemporary music. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Bunka-chō Japanese Government Artists Fellowship to pursue formal study of Japanese music history and Japanese traditional musical instruments at Seiha Hōgaku-kai. Since then, he continued studies receiving his teaching license (junshihan) and his professional name Gashō in 2003.

Currently, he is founder and director of the International Center for Japanese Culture since its inception in 2011. Before ICJC, Dr. Amato founded the Yokohama International School Japanese music program in 2003 and served as its director until 2011.

Pursuing his work on sharing Japanese traditional music and culture on the international level, in 2017 Dr. Amato founded and serves as President of Japanese Culture Promotion and Management an NPO dedicated to supporting Japanese traditional arts and culture. He is  the coordinator of the Morikami Museum Japanese summer traditional music program located in Delray Beach, Florida, USA.

Professor Kyle Chōmei Helou

Shakuhachi Instructor

Kyle is a graduate of Villanova University (1993) with a BA in Philosophy. His focus study was on Far Eastern philosophy, which emphasizes introspection, mindfulness, and equanimity. In 2000, he moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he apprenticed in Shotokan Karate-Do and Shakuhachi. Although differing in content both arts emphasize the same devotion leading to self awareness, self control, and self realization.

In 2008 Kyle graduated from the Japan Karate Shoto Federation (JKS, NPO法人日本空手松濤連盟) under the instruction of JKS Head Master and Japan’s national Head Coach Masao Kagawa, with a Master Instructor license in Shotokan Karate-Do, making him the only non-Japanese graduate of this masters program. In parallel training, Kyle received his Shakuhachi Associate Master license (2008), and Master license (2019) from Chikumeisa Shakuhachi Guild under the tutelage of Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. He studied Doukyoku Shakuhachi as well as Ji-Nashi Shakuhachi crafting under the tuition of Kinya Sogawa starting from 2001.

Since 2009, Kyle is based in Beirut, Lebanon, where he currently teaches both Karate and Shakuhachi throughout Lebanon and the Middle East. He is the founder of Shinkukan (NGO) Lebanon Japan Friendship Association for Peace, promoting friendship and peace education through traditional Japanese arts.

He has taught Karate and performed Shakuhachi across four continents and continues to compete in Karate, having recently won the All Japan JKS National Masters Kata Championships.

Shakuhachi performer Professor Christopher Yohmei Blasdel served as instructor for the initial three years of the program.


This project is sponsored in part by the The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation, State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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