CYSO offers a wide variety of programming to meet the needs of young musicians from across the Chicago region. Below you will find information on our programs for students, schools, and community partners. No matter the entry point, CYSO programs provide a pathway for young players to explore their passion for music with the help of some of the area’s most respected educators. 

For Students

Based on age and experience, we offer three types of ensembles: orchestra, steelpan, and jazz. Within each category there are options for different ages and skill levels.

For Schools

We invest in our community through school-based ensembles and free concerts that reach more than 10,000 young people annually. 

For the Community

We are investing in partnerships and strategic community resources to help connect musicians, educators, and audiences from all backgrounds.

The Power of Ensemble Music

While individual instruction is vital to students’ musical development, ensemble playing challenges them to grow in new and different ways. CYSO is a learning environment like no other, bringing youth from across the Chicago region together to collaborate and create. Orchestra skills are fundamental in and out of rehearsal; Leadership, self-confidence, teamwork, and resilience are critical as young people grow into future leaders. In fact, CYSO graduates can be found at the top of every field, including in nearly every major orchestra in the United States!

At CYSO, students have the opportunity to work alongside a diverse student body of like-minded young musicians who are passionate, hard-working, and ready to learn. We challenge students to achieve beyond their expectations. Students learn to work individually as musicians and collectively as an ensemble. We view the orchestra as a model for democracy in action; each student contributes to the good of the whole and in the end, the orchestra is greater than just the sum of its parts.

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