Youth Summer Music & Culture Camp (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.

Children in Kimono playing Koto

Program Description

The program is for students in grade 3rd to 12th.

Campers will learn to play traditional Japanese instruments from professional musicians, experience Japanese culture, and participate in fun craft activities. Dr. Amato will lead the basic koto workshops, teaching the students how to use tsume (finger picks), how to read Japanese musical notation and how to execute basic koto performance techniques through simple compositions. Members of the local Fushu Daiko Taiko group will teach the basics of traditional Japanese drumming. There will be one special introduction class to shakuhachi (bamboo flute) by professional musician Kyle Kamal Helou.

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



  • 1-Week Session: 9:00am – 4:00pm


  • June 22 through June 26, 2020


  • $250 per student


  • For grades 3rd – 12th


  • Throughout the Morikami Museum & Gardens


  • Instruments and sheet music will be provided for participants to use in the class.
  • *Recommended companion Koto instructional book available for $35 from instructor Joseph Amato.


Campers will be immersed in Japanese culture participating in fun craft activities, Japanese cultural arts and exciting music classes which include the 13-string koto (zither) and taiko drums, taught by professional musicians, Joseph Amato, Kyle Kamal Helou and members from the Fushu Daiko Taiko group. All materials and Instruments that campers need are provided for their use at camp. The program will allow students to have both practical and knowledge-based (theoretical/ historical) classes all while having fun learning.

The curriculum will allow students to have both practical and knowledge-based (theoretical/historical) classes. The knowledge-based component is a Japanese culture class, with topics that include the following:

  • Introduction to Japanese language and culture
  • Introduction to the history of Japanese traditional music
  • Learn from special teaching artists about a Japanese cultural art
  • Learn about our exhibits and gardens
  • Create a variety of Japanese craft projects
  • And having fun!


This is a copy of the Summer 2019 schedule for your reference. The schedule will be updated as we get closer to the start of camp.

Time Koto   Culture Taiko
8:30am – 9:00am Check-in
9:00am – 10:30am Group A


Group B
10:30am – 11:00pm Break
11:00am – 12:30pm Group B Group A
12:30pm- 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm-2:30pm Group A- Cultural Activity Group B – Cultural Activity
2:30pm – 2:45pm Break
3:00pm -4:00pm Group A – Cultural Activity Group B – Cultural Activity
4:00pm – 4:30pm Pick-up time

Schedule subject to change in order to accommodate all camper enrollments.

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.

Fushu Daiko Taiko group

Taiko Instructors

Top performers from South Florida’s Fushu Daiko will conduct the workshop. The group is recognized by Seiichi Tanaka, the master of San Francisco Taiko Dojo, who brought taiko to the United States and who trained senior members of the Fushu Daiko group.


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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