Although I was only part of the Phoenix Youth Symphony as a senior, my year in “PYS” helped me grow as a musician more than any other musical opportunity in high school. My lack of private lessons made me hesitant to audition, but Kei pushed me to try. If it was based on skill alone, there was no way I would have made the cut; but the Youth Symphony and particularly Kei were also looking for commitment, passion, and enthusiasm for music, and they were willing to give me the opportunity.

At every rehearsal, I would remind myself of how fortunate I was to be a part of a group as musically talented and focused as PYS. In the back of my mind, I knew that I may never play in an orchestra of this caliber again- so I wanted to soak up every moment, both in rehearsal and on stage. I couldn’t allow my limited musical background to stifle my confidence and prevent me from truly enjoying the experience. In the end, PYS improved my overall confidence in every aspect of life. I became more confident in the idea that my musical passion would be enough to lead me to the level I needed to attain as a musician.

My year in PYS has been an incredibly motivating and memorable experience that I will always cherish!