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Midwest Young Artists

Amenities - Midwest Young Artists

Welcome to MYA, the largest and most comprehensive youth ensemble music program in the Midwest. Founded in 1993 with one orchestra, MYA has grown into full curriculum music school with five youth orchestras, big bands, two choruses, and dozens of jazz combos and chamber music ensembles. In 2000, MYA moved into the historic former guard house building in the Town of Fort Sheridan, now an up-to-date facility with large rehearsal halls, classrooms, a recording studio, and music library.

The educational goal at MYA has always been to provide the coaching and the learning environment that will enable the young person to develop fully as a musician. The rich and varied MYA curriculum and its talented teachers provide multiple avenues for this musical development. What this means is that young musicians are limited only by their imagination and willingness to work. Most students participate in more than one ensemble and all are strongly encouraged to take music theory classes. Typically, a member of an MYA orchestra will also perform in a chamber ensemble. In another example, a trumpet player in the Jazz Combo is also a member of an orchestra. Students who develop a fascination for music theory are encouraged to write their own compositions. Students interested in music production can take a course in sound studio recording. In a final example, a violist in the orchestra might also be a soprano in the Chorale. Performing before an audience is essential for confidence and personal affirmation and MYA musicians are given multiple performance opportunities at Northwestern University’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and downtown venues including Harris Theater, Symphony Center, and Chicago’s Hot House, Genesee Theatre, and on biannual international concert tours.

In sum, Midwest Young Artists is a place where serious young musicians come to learn and have fun. MYA emphasizes fellowship and camaraderie between students, respect and encouragement in the teaching relationship and the continual pursuit of excellence in music performance. It is a program that accommodates the future "dedicated amateurs" as well as the students preparing for a future in the highly competitive world of music. MYA graduates have been accepted into all of the most selective conservatories in the country.

MYA thinks of itself as a second family for its students whom frequently enter the program as 10 year olds and only leave upon graduation from high school–even then they never really leave MYA, as many return to play in the Alumni concerts or to coach at the summer music camp. The parents of MYA musicians have played a huge role in MYA’s success over they years–from planning fundraisers, tours, and potluck dinners to providing the legal and technical expertise critical to the acquisition of our wonderful building and home. MYA has truly built a home with the power of music to enrich the lives of its students and community. Visit for more information.

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