Education / 2013

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra Community Building

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

The Los Angles Youth Orchestra (LAYO) gives children 8-18 who play orchestral instruments the opportunity to practice and perform in an orchestra on a regular basis. We draw students from all over Los Angeles and create a cohesive musical community in eight to ten weeks. Each semester culminates in two performances in two different locations. LAYO would like to expand participation in the orchestra through community building and outreach. We envision an orchestra that educates a larger portion of Los Angeles’s students. The 2050 funding will help us achieve this goal by funding teacher salaries, scholarships, and community outreach through student recruitment and free concerts. The future for education in the Goldhirsch report is grim; the future of arts education is worse. The first programs to get cut in most school districts are the art programs. The largest school district in Los Angeles has gutted funding for arts education, and music was the first to go. Fewer than 10% of Los Angeles Unified School District’s students receive instruction in the arts and no elementary or middle school has an instrument program. Research shows playing an instrument positively affects educational outcomes. Children who play a musical instrument are more likely to finish high school and go on to college. They perform better in math and science, and have an easier time learning languages. LAYO Impacts the city through it’s students and concerts. LAYO students excel both musically and academically. A 100% of our participants graduate high school and the majority move onto college. An educated and engaged population keeps the city economically and culturally vital. The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra orchestra started with ten kids and has grown to 80. It brings a very diverse group of students together to practice an under funded art form. The Orchestra has been in existence for thirteen years. In those thirteen years we have had thousands of students learn and perform orchestral music and have reached tens of thousands of people through our concerts. We bring students from all over Los Angeles County together to practice and perform orchestral music on Sunday afternoon from 12:00-5:00 pm. LAYO is comprised of two orchestras the Concert (intermediate) and Chamber (advanced). The success of our program is based on our mentorship model, each section has it’s own section rehearsal which enables our students to perform concerts in a relatively short time period. The goal of the orchestra is not to produce professional musicians but to create and foster a supportive community for children who love and practice classical music.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

Concert at Carnegie Hall: February 2013 Partnership with the Los Angeles Film Festival: June 2012 Youth Orchestra Day: In February of 2010 Partnership with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music: In 2008. Los Angeles Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Partner: In 2007-2008 Partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: In 2003-2007

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Audiomachine .

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Our project will be evaluated by new student participation and retention, audience growth and increased scholarship requests. Success will be measured by both adding new students and having those new students continue for multiple years. We will track both retention and scholarship requests from this project along with ticket acquisition. Our current ticket allocation program will be used to track our audience numbers.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Our project directly impacts the future of Los Angeles through our students. Our students directly impact the greater community through our concerts. LAYO students are proof that playing an instrument and participating in an ensemble positively affects academic success. 100% of our participants graduate high school and most go onto college. The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra positively impacts the community through our audience. People who attend our concerts can’t help but share the joy and enthusiasm our musicians demonstrate while performing. This positively impacts the cultural vitality of our city through the participation and support of the arts.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Education would be more fluid; Los Angeles students would be given a rich curriculum that would include experiential arts education. Los Angeles student’s would be offered instrumental lessons and orchestral opportunities starting in elementary school and continuing through high school. Both school based and independently run youth orchestras would have ample funding.