by Lauren S, age 12
I first started BYSO when I was in 4th grade. I’m in 7th grade, and I cannot stress how much BYSO has changed my view on music in general. 4th grade was the year I was first introduced to cello, and before the only musical instrument I had played was piano.
When I played piano, the only thing I played was solos and by the 4th grade I had already played piano for 4 years. The nine year old me thought that music was about solos, being better than everyone else and playing on my own. The nine year old me thought that if I wasn’t the one at the top playing the solo I was a disgrace. I was a failure. But, when I was put into Cadet, it was my first time playing in a group full of so many equals. And, in a group with so many people who were better than me, I had no chance of being the top. Although I knew intellectually that I couldn’t be first, it was still very hard accepting it. I still remember crying on stage and in rehearsal because I wouldn’t be able to sit up front.
My second year participating in BYSO, I was in Debut. Most of the people in Debut were the people who had been in Cadet with me, and I was happy to not be the only new kid there. By this time, I had already accepted the fact that I couldn’t always be the first and the best. And, when I learned to ignore and deal with the ache of not being the best, I found that I was able to understand and feel music better. All the time when I had played music I had always played music under the stress and pressure of being the best, but with a new mindset, I realized that there was so much more to music. So much more to being part of an orchestra.
Now, I’m in Sinfonia and many of the people here I have known since I first started BYSO. And, now, I realize that being part of an orchestra means accepting whatever role you get. Whether it’s leading the section, supporting the section from the back, or anything else, because every single role and seat is important. Without every single musician giving it their all, our orchestra isn’t as good as it can be. I realize that music is about sharing it with everybody around you, it’s about learning from your peers. And, I can thank BYSO, for giving me this new mindset. For giving me a new outlook on music and life in general.