Visitors to Casa del Prado in Balboa Park frequently hear music wafting down from upstairs rooms as young musicians rehearse. It’s the busy hum of San Diego Youth Symphony.
SDYS nurtures student love for music through education and performance. All skill levels are taken seriously by professional instructors, conductors, and instrument specialists. Though weekly instruction is provided, the organization strongly encourages young people to also take part in school music programs and, if possible, to take private instrument lessons. The idea is to immerse youth in the world of music. If all goes well, those weekly augmentative SDYS lessons will feed into ensemble experiences with other students throughout Southern California.
Here’s how this wonderful, longstanding program works: In June of each year, students audition and are placed in appropriate ensemble programs aligned with their musical skills. In following years, some may advance to a higher ensemble level, depending upon progress. Some participate in SDYS from elementary school through high school, and even university. Moderate fees are charged, but financial aid and concert tickets are available to those experiencing financial hardship.
All sorts of opportunities abound within the organization. There is training in chamber music and there are soloist competitions, as well as community partnerships that include the International Youth Symphony. Selected SDYS musicians perform in well-known venues such as the California Center for the Arts in Escondido and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego. (619.233.3232, www.sdys.org) DARLENE G. DAVIES