For many ESYO musicians, music-making is a year-round joyful pursuit. From private lessons to music camps, and summer intensives, there are plenty of opportunities to keep young musicians playing through the summer. The global COVID-19 pandemic moved most of these programs online, bringing the experience closer to home.
Trey, a cellist in ESYO Symphony Orchestra, attended Summerfest at the Curtis Institute. The highly competitive program accepts a limited number of young musicians, aged 13-22, into its 3-week summer program. The program encouraged Trey to focus on phrasing, rather than getting caught up on just notes and the technical aspect of playing. "Even after the camp, I'm still working on that skill," said Trey. "It's adding a whole new level of complexity to cello playing."
What's on my music stand? "I've been practicing a lot of repertoire this summer, including Popper etudes, Chopin's Polonaise Brillante, Bach's second suite, Piatti Caprice no.7, and the Dvorak Cello Concerto."
De'Vaughn, who plays double bass in ESYO Repertory Orchestra and participates in ESYO CHIME, logged in to Bass Works, a 7-day performance camp for young bassists operated by ESYO alum Colin O'Bryan. "Considering the situation we are all in right now, it was great being able to participate in something with other fellow musicians," said De'Vaughn. "I also learned many new things to help my bass playing as a whole and help me as a person," he continued. "Going to camp has made me more aware of the music that I’m playing, and I have more knowledge. I feel as if my new ESYO experience this season will be amazing."
What's on my music stand? I’ve continuously been playing music throughout the summer, whether it’s my double bass, electric bass, or my saxophone. I’ve continued to always have music on my music stand. Right now, it is “Thirty Etudes” for string bass by Franz Simandl.
Each summer, leading jazz artists, like Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, come together to host the Vail Jazz Workshop. ESYO Youth Jazz Orchestra member and trombonist Aidan was one of 12 young jazz musicians selected to participate in the national summer workshop. "I've been practicing as much as I can," said Aidan. "Being around such great musicians makes you step up your practice game," he continued. While at the camp, Aidan is challenged to learn new ideas. "When you are learning new concepts, it takes a while to accomplish something. So far I've started to learn a new breathing exercise," said Aidan. "It's totally different from anything I've learned." When asked about what is most meaningful about his experience, Aidan said: "The instructors! Each instructor comes from a different place. None of the instructors went to a school with a jazz band. They picked up an instrument on their own and played it until the found a teacher," said Aidan.
What is on my music stand? Right now, Vail doesn't use sheet music, but I have a long list of what I need to practice. I've been practicing nested tuplets and using music by Elliot Mason to work on triad pairs. I'm also using music by Josh Redman to work on tuning large intervals. When I am not practicing Trombone, I am singing through Jazz standards or audiating chord progressions.