I was looking up YMC online for the calendar and Yelp site came up second on the list. I was amused by the rating so I read all the reviews and felt compelled to write my own. I sent my 2 kids (now 15 and 11) to YMC for over 6 years. First of all, the parents must expect to be part of the system in order for it to work, at least for several years. If the plan is to drop a 4-year-old kid off once a week and expect the kid to come home practice, unleash his/her undying love for music, while cannot wait to boast to your friends and family that your child is a musician, you are kidding yourself. The group lesson is a little over $100 for about 4 lessons a month, I doubt a private tutor goes for less than that, or an hour a week is close to sufficient.... For us, group lessons for the kids at the beginning worked out well. You and your child get to find out if you are up for more serious commitment later. The class setting gives kids a chance to learn with their peers. You know if your child is ahead/behind and you work with your child. YOU get to learn the same time as your children, so you can reinforce what's taught, at least at the beginning. Consider you are paying for 1 and get 1 free. The start is going to be slow. Learning music is not easy. If I pay for private lesson instead I would most likely not be invited to listen in and unable to assist with the child's progress. Yamaha trains through what they consider the correct way, where kids tend to like to play by ears, they learn to read the music scores, study music theory (yikes to some), and it is not necessarily easy or fun for most. Looking back, if you wonder if it's too early to put the kid in piano at age 4 or 5, my daughter is able to achieve more than my son at her age, despite they are 4 years apart. Even though my son is playing more difficult pieces, as he's older, with more strength and longer hand reach, she progressed faster and completed the same level tests as him. Now that my son is in high school, his school work load and his other interests make it much harder to commit to playing piano. If you are to push your child to play an instrument, 4-14 is likely the period they can be pushed as they have the free time to do so, AND before the teenager weirdness kicks in. So while a child could barely play a simple Christmas song after a year in group lesson, ability to play fluently at intermediate level (like learning to speak) comes after the second year for mine. Practice at home is so important. I sat with my kids at least a couple times a week for years, plus they were expected to practice on their own for 2 times. I stopped sitting down with them last year, for at some point in time kids should learn to 'take care of their own chores/practices' especially they have all the tools to succeed on their own without their parents. Our teacher, Ms. Ana, is very nice, talented and works very hard. She has a lot on her plate, so it comes down to us the parents to help the kids with organizing - because guess what - my kids have poor organization skills, and it's nobody but the parents' job to teach and preach, even if it frustrates me to no end why they are so difficult to teach 🙂 Over the years, under Ms. Ana, my kids had played many difficult pieces and composed several, and even though they did not earn them first prizes, and the push at home was tiresome, it's a proud accomplishment and memory for us looking back - and I have plenty of concert videos to look back to. Last week we went to a relative's home for Thanksgiving lunch; they had a piano and my kids went and played without being told. That, to me, is the true accomplishment - they love playing music, and one true gift a parent can give to a child, a skill to play a music instrument that lasts a lifetime. For those who find their teachers with accent they cannot understand, I could only suggest you speak with the front desk and ask for a different time slot for another teacher; speak with them in person before committing perhaps. For the director, we don't interact with her much, but she has always been courteous to us. To put things in perspective, she does not play a part in the child's learning experience, I would not rate the school poorly because of a poor interacting experience between the adults, but that's just me. In summary, playing music, like sports, is not for everyone; it's totally understandable, and most kids are not born self-motivated geniuses. I want my kids to learn how to play piano good, and the Yamaha system works for my kids, Ms. Ana is patient and kind, and I'm sure my kids' classmates and their parents will agree to that. The group lesson supposedly ended after the 6th year; the kids actually love the class so much they wish to continue, and Ms. Ana is providing them new ensemble pieces to play. That is where my 5 star is based on, from 6 years of experience with the school.