I am often asked, How/Why did you arrive at the training style of a self-governing ensemble, one that is conductor-less? The answer is not so complex, but it is not a one sentence reply either.
As a music teacher I often ask myself if we are truly preparing our students for success. I am not just referring to how well we teach the students to play their instruments, but more importantly if the students will take with them lessons/knowledge/experiences that will prepare them to be strong contributing members of any challenging discipline, and to any organization, in music and other areas of interest.
Approximately 70% of students in any youth orchestra will more than likely select a non-music related profession. Of the students who pursue music as a major in college, a strong percentage of them will end up pursuing a livelihood that is not centered around music.
So then, what skills will the young person take with him if he does not become a professional musician? This question festered in me for quite some time, and I soon began structuring my coaching style in an entirely different manner. I began coaching chamber ensembles how to communicate and lead from within the ensemble, and play without a conductor. While the model was successful it required Team building aspects to make it whole. From this grew a set of core principles; Trust, Unfiltered Dialog, Commitment, Accountability, and Attention to Team Results.
At YYA, we start with building teams before we play our first note. The coaches and the students participate in team building exercises/games, we talk, we debate and sometimes argue, we come to an agreement, we hold each other to the task for the team, and we all strive for a common goal - we are the students and the coaches - the coaches are part of the ensemble. It is all about life lessons, and creating an environment for long term success.
The methodology manifests itself into an ensemble experience like no other. The energy, spirit, and communication level within the ensemble and with the audience is so strong, it catapults audiences to their feet screaming for more.
Every single Artist Coach in YellowCello Young Artists is dedicated to the methodology and philosophy - we want every student to experience success, now and into the future.
Wyatt Sutherland, Artistic Director and Founder