Minnesota Youth Symphonies offers free hands-on music experience for children ages 3 to 14

I would like to take a “minuet” to briefly highlight what “noteworthy” music education programs the Minnesota Youth Symphonies (MYS) offers. For 45 years, MYS has given K-12 musicians premier orchestral training through four different orchestras.

I was fortunate enough to be one of those musicians. I used an entire summer to prepare for MYS’s annual auditions and was selected to play in the violin section of the Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jim Bartsch. Every Saturday, my mother (who was a piano and music teacher) would make the hour drive to Highland Park Senior High School where my sister (who played cello for the Strings Orchestra) and I would rehearse for two and a half hours. Throughout rehearsal, we were exposed to a variety of classical pieces that challenged us to become better musicians. The highlight of MYS: three major concerts performed in Orchestra Hall. It was humbling to sit on a stage where the greatest of the great performed. (Plus, who doesn’t love the 100-plus large cubes on the auditorium ceiling.)

There are so many reasons to play an instrument. From improving math and reading skills to teaching perseverance and creating a sense of achievement, learning an instrument is like a total workout for the brain. It takes a lot of time, and patience, patience, patience. But I have a life-long love of music because of it.

And MYS wants to cultivate this same love in as many young people as possible. Which is why it hosts community programs throughout the year. Tomorrow’s event, Music & Melody Makers, is a FREE opportunity for children ages 3 to 14 to experience music in action.

This free program provides preschool and elementary students a hands-on experience with the instruments of the orchestra. MYS students demonstrate and help children play each instrument, including strings, percussion, brass, and winds. Participants also watch an orchestra in rehearsal and receive an activity book.

Register here.

Who: Children ages 3-14

What: Free orchestra introduction program hosted by Minnesota Youth Symphonies

When: April 7 (tomorrow!) from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Where: Highland Park Middle School (975 Snelling Avenue South, St. Paul)

Why: Because without music, life would be flat