Cellos in the SYOA concert at the 2010 Conference

Cellos in the SYOA concert at the 2010 Conference

I attended as a first violinist in SYOA 2 this past year, the fourteenth biennial conference.

SYOA was the best experience I have had throughout my musical education. My favorite part of SYOA was meeting new kids that share the same interests as me. Being with so many other people that enjoy music as I do is amazing. I learned how to play in an orchestra, something I have never experienced before. Anyone should apply if they want to be part of something advanced and fun and are interested in meeting new kids. Time will fly during your SYOA experience because you are always busy having fun and doing what you love most—playing your instrument.

–Isabelle Aboaf, student

I have been to SYOA twice, once when I was seven and again when I was nine. My favorite part of SYOA is staying in the hotel room with my friends, going to rehearsals, and then out to lunch and shopping. I also really liked meeting new friends from all over the country. Even though the rehearsals were “work,” they were a lot of fun. The conductors know how to have fun with kids! I learned a lot about how an orchestra works, how to follow the conductor and how all of the orchestra parts fit together to make beautiful music. I think that all of the music students should at least try to get in to the orchestra. It is worth the extra practice and time to make the video tape. Besides the music, hotel, plane ride, shopping, new friends, talented conductors (who like kids!) there is the Mall of America with great roller coasters! It is one of my favorite Suzuki events ever!

–McCall Andersen, student

My daughter’s acceptance for 2010 SYOA was a surprise to us all, and we happily trekked off to Minneapolis for an enjoyable family vacation (great food and entertainment), but even more, an exceptional musical experience for our young violist. She was inspired by the talent of her companions (master classes for kids her age!) and pushed by demanding yet friendly instructors: when she timidly volunteered that the music was difficult for her to read and that she watched her section cohorts to follow their lead, her section instructor buoyed her up tremendously by commenting that watching was an important ensemble skill. We’re hoping she makes it again next year!

–Leah Keane, parent

As a teacher, I have found the SYOA experience to be very rewarding. From the very beginning audition tape preparation, my students have found this to be an honor and have been thoroughly committed throughout the entire process. They went to Minneapolis well prepared and came out of the first rehearsal bubbling with enthusiasm. They all said how exciting it was to play with other Suzuki students who had the same commitment. Thanks to the wonderful conductors, sectional coaches and superb organization; this is truly a special experience for all the participants.

–Sally Gross, Cello Director, Western Springs School of Talent Education

SYOA is one of the best opportunities my students have ever had at an SAA Conference. They meticulously prepare the audition piece, taking their playing to the next level. Then, they work very hard to learn the challenging orchestra music. When they arrive at the conference, they already have many hours of rehearsal. They meet music friends from all over the country and work with top level conductors. When the students return home, their practice skills and orchestra skills have blossomed! They have broadened their vision of the music world and what it might mean in their lives. They are motivated, which makes it more joyful for me to teach them.

Plan on having some of your students audition for SYOA orchestras! You will never regret the preparation work.

–Debbie Moench, Co-director, Rocky Mountain Strings