Good Advice from Graduating Seniors

By the time they graduate from high school, many CYSO students have been playing an instrument for up to a decade, and some have even been in CYSO ensembles for that long (or longer!) as well. With so many years of experience as musicians and orchestra members, who better to give advice to new CYSO recruits? We asked this year’s graduating seniors to share their best advice for a new CYSO student. With answers ranging from practical to poetic, these seniors as clearly the experts.

What advice would you give a new CYSO student?


Don’t be intimidated! Everyone makes similar mistakes– don’t think you’re alone just because you make a mistake.

– Stephanie Frost

Learn the whole piece before the first rehearsal, even the parts that aren’t what you have to play. Studying the music and not just the notes makes everything better.

– Momoko Hasselbring

Join the chamber music program! Not only do you make a close group of friends but chamber music is a lot of fun to play and there are so many cool performance opportunities.

– Anne Pinkerton

If you are not going to try your hardest all the time then why bother? Be here because you want to be here, not because you feel like you have to be here.

– Isaias Nava, Jr.

Spend your time focusing on personal accountability. Don’t assume the conductor is going to cue you, or that your section leader will count, or that you can fake your way through a tough passage. You’ll grow so much as a musician if you expect the best from yourself even when no one else is listening.

– Katia Waxman

Work hard, the moment you stop taking rehearsal seriously is when you stop making music and start playing notes.

– Christina D’Antonio

Enjoy these moments as much as possible. The people you meet in CYSO will be some of your closest friends whom you will spend years (hopefully) together. Time flies, make the most of it. The orchestra is a team, and each person needs to be prepared not only in their music, but to be a leader in their own way.

– Mingda Zhang

Talk to everyone! Everyone wants to get to know you, and CYSO is a great opportunity to make friendships that will last forever.

– Lauren Uy

You will experience the thrill of victory with successful auditions and the agony of disappointment with others. Through this, always keep practicing, knowing that music that seems impossible at first will eventually just fly off your fingers.

– Carling Hank

more great advice

Read about great advice our artistic staff have gotten, and the good advice they have to give, in our “Meet the Conductor” series.


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