Orchestras-They’re not just for adults!

Playing in an orchestra is like nothing else in the world

Richmond Family Magazine‘s (8/15/15) article describes the Richmond Symphony and its youth orchestra.

Doug Brown recalls his experience as a youth playing in an orchestra.  Brown states that “Playing in an orchestra is like nothing else in the world.” He has made that opportunity available to three of his six children.

Reacting to Brown’s comment about playing in an orchestra, the Symphony’s music director, Steven Smith, states that “Our world is filled with technologies and debates that divide us.  The arts bring us together.” It’s hard to disagree with that.

It takes commitment to be able to reach the level to play in a youth orchestra, but young, Yixuan Zhao, says it is worth it because playing in the group “feels like everything else is not real.  It’s an incredible feeling.”  This tenth grader says that when she plays, her mind is “completely concentrated on the music…I don’t get that from other things.”

Zhao also believes that studying music has helped her excel in academics.  She thinks that “knowing how to practice helps [her] study better and be more focused as a person in general.”

We have many opportunities for students in Northern Virginia to play in school orchestras and in youth symphony orchestras.  Help your child see what it would be like to do that.

Listening is valuable too!

Listening to good music is a keystone of the Suzuki Method. Aimee Halbruner, the director of education and community engagement for the Richmond Symphony, says she has been taking her son to the symphony starting at an early age.  She says that in the beginning he always brought a book with him and might have read during most of the concert, but still heard the music in the background.

This is So Suzuki!  Dr. Suzuki says to play good music for hours during the day, playing it softly in the background so the child will be immersed in beautiful sound and develop his ear.

Halbruner says that as her son grew older, he put down the book more and more frequently during the concert, pausing to listen fully, until he eventually left his book at home.

Here at Reston, parents can check the Lake Anne calendar and  Wolftrap for concerts.  Click here for my Resources page for links to other local performing groups.  The month of December is a great time to get out to concerts!

It’s not difficult to give our children the opportunities that are available–not just for an academic leg-up, but for the sheer love of music. We are hard-wired for it, you know! Click here to read my blog post, “Was Our Brain Wired First for Music or for Language?”

Photo credit: Derek Gleeson / Foter / CC BY-SA


“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” Shinichi Suzuki