Young Music Scholars Shine at December Recital

MYAC Young Music Scholars program
Young Music Scholar MyKenzie Moton with her parents, violin teacher Danielle Taylor, and student mentor Kimie Han
Our Young Music Scholars had the chance to shine before family and friends in their own semester-end recital on December 11 at the MYAC Center. Young musicians from 3rd through 12th grade performed solo repertoire ranging from Bach to Kuchler, pieces they have worked on this semester during weekly lessons with their master teacher and their student mentor.

MYAC’s Young Music Scholars (YMS) program provides economically disadvantaged students with tuition-free private lessons and appropriate-level ensemble participation. School music teachers, mostly from Waukegan public schools, refer students to the program who demonstrate a passion for music but who lack financial resources for music education.

YMS cello instructor Martin Nocedal explained the importance of recitals for these students: “The teachers all have really high expectations for our YMS students, and it’s important to get them in the habit of regular solo performance. Solo performance can be pretty daunting, especially when you’re a young student, and the only way to get better at it is through practice and through repetition.”

YMS recitals also serve an important community building element. Extended family members come together to hear their students and others who they’ve seen grow through the program. Nocedal states, “It means a lot to the families to be all there together listening to the students. These families are heavily invested in their student’s growth, but they care almost as much about how the other students are doing. For some of them, it’s been six/seven years they’ve been hearing them play, so it really is like a family. And these recitals feel like family reunions.”

YMS recitals are equally rewarding for the YMS teachers, a time when they can see their students’ dedication pay off. Nocedal reflects, “I have found that the students in the YMS program are some of the hardest working players that I’ve ever worked with. They are not there because their parents are forcing them to be there, they are there because they love playing their instrument and this is something they really enjoy doing. They have such a great outlook and such a great attitude, that I look forward to working with them every week.”

The YMS program is funded entirely through donations, and we are eternally grateful for this support.

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