Student Orchestra

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Student Orchestra

Have you ever played in a school orchestra or band? If so, what was the experience like?

Last week, a 95-member youth ensemble had the opportunity to perform live at David Geffen Hall with the conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the next music director of the New York Philharmonic. The Times followed the young musicians for six days as they prepared. Javier C. Hernández writes:

Many of the students, who came from high schools across the five boroughs, were nervous. Some had never performed in an orchestra before. But they said they were eager to show audience members and Dudamel, an idol for many of them, what they could do.

“He’s like a god,” said Tristan Wiafe, 17, a double bass player from the Bronx. “He’s in the upper echelons of musical society. And now I just hope that we can impress him.”

At the end of the concert, and a prolonged ovation from an audience of several hundred people, Sophia Remorca, 17, an oboist, said:

“It was exhilarating, it was just really fun,” she said backstage. “I could feel everyone’s emotions when we were playing. It was just so good.”

Look through the photos and read the captions throughout the article. What’s your reaction to the story? Which images stand out and why? Do the experiences of the youth ensemble make you want to play in a school orchestra?

Mr. Dudamel has vowed to expand the philharmonic’s presence in schools when he takes over in 2026. Does your school provide many opportunities to develop your musical talents? Should all schools ensure that students have an opportunity to play and perform music?

Tell us in the comments, and then read the related article to learn more about the experiences of the youth orchestra.


Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.

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