The Music Of The Syracuse Youth Symphony Orchestra Essay

The Music Of The Syracuse Youth Symphony Orchestra Essay

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Of music’s place in our lives influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” In my life’s experience, however, some music is a kind of mistake. This sentiment was born out of my unfortunate four years as an orchestral cellist in Manlius Pebble Hill’s small, uninspired school orchestra. Fortunately for me, however, a superior artistic experience existed close by. Urged on by a fellow cellist in Manlius Pebble Hill’s orchestra, I decided to audition for the Syracuse Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) one sunny June afternoon in what would be the beginning of a two-year long, artistically satisfying relationship. My experience as an orchestral cellist in the SYSO was vastly superior to that in the orchestra of Manlius Pebble Hill (MPH) because of the former orchestra’s dynamic conductor, invested and respectful orchestra members, and challenging and varied repertoire.
The SYSO’s superiority over MPH began at the conductor’s podium. At MPH our orchestra was headed by a timid, shy conductor who failed to lead her students from a position of strength. In the end her timidity was taken advantage of by the students and birthed a culture of rebellion which irreparably damaged our ability to play as an artistically unified whole. Her leadership style, unfortunately, was exemplified in her limp, unclear beat and flaccid conducting style. If I or any other orchestra member ever failed to keep time with the music we would be unable to depend on her erratic beat to help us find our way. Most frustrating of all was her inability to micromanage and shape the sound of our ensemble as a capable conductor should. This particularly weak aspect of her leadership led to a weaker, less unified soun...


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...ces, which introduced us to new and unfamiliar rhythms and techniques, throughout our expansive repertoire.
The capable and charismatic conductor, dedicated and well mannered students, and demanding and varied repertoire of the SYSO made my experience there among the most enjoyable and formative of my music-making career. The conductor, through her dedication and hard work, led the orchestra in such a focused, dynamic way that each and every student grew to a newfound level of musical professionalism. The students proved to be professional, capable, and inspired company in our shared musical journey, and the combined efforts of both student and conductor allowed us to tackle more exciting, enjoyable repertoire. My years at MPH, unfortunately, were a musical mistake. Thanks to the time I spent in the SYSO, however, they were a mistake quickly and enjoyably forgotten.

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