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NYO: Our Musical Planet - My experience as an NYO Inspire musician 
nyo inspire musician sakura reflects on participating in nyo's may 2020 digital residency

How did your involvement with NYO Inspire begin? 


My NYO Inspire journey began in 2019, after participating in the ‘Come and Play’ activity before an NYO concert at my local concert hall. Since then, I have participated in four NYO Inspire activities, including the NYO Inspire Ensembles last February.  


What is your favourite NYO Inspire activity you’ve participated in, to date? 


One of the most memorable NYO Inspire activities I have taken part in was the NYO Inspire Day in November 2019, where members of NYO and NYO Inspire played alongside musicians from the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA), under the baton of one of the most distinguished conductors of our day, Gustavo Dudamel. 


What was it like performing with other teenage musicians? 


Performing music with other teenage musicians is perhaps one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I thought it was heart-warming how one piece of music can connect so many people from across the world, who then collectively inspire thousands of other young musicians. It showed me the power that us, as teenagers, have to create something that can touch people’s hearts.  


How do you think music can help us during these challenging times?  


I think music can bring joy and comfort to everyone even in the darkest of times. It creates a new language that transcends language borders and physical borders to speak to people’s hearts. It can inspire people and create a sense of belonging. Music opens a safe space where we can freely express our emotions, and let our imagination run free. Not being able to play music with other people was one of the hardest things about being in lockdown for me and left me feeling like something was missing, and so playing in the streets for neighbours and being part of a virtual orchestra has made me feel whole again.  


Why do you think it is important to connect digitally with other teenage musicians? 


I think it is important to connect with other teenage musicians because we are all stuck at home, not being able to do the things we love, such as playing in an orchestra and getting together with our musical ‘families’. For me, keeping connected with teenagers who share the same passion as I do, has helped me to keep motivated and hopeful during lockdown. That’s why I think that no matter what situation we’re in, it’s important to keep spreading the power of music to the rest of the world, and to continue playing and connecting with others, so we can all live through these hard times with a sense of hope and belonging.  


What was a major highlight for you from NYO’s digital residency? 


A major highlight for me from NYO’s digital residency was the webinar session in which we listened to NYO’s Associate Conductor, Lee Reynolds give a talk about how an orchestra works. I learnt about the different layouts of orchestras and how instruments are placed in order to create a balanced sound. It made me think about how important every single role in an orchestra is, and how every one of us is somehow connected to everyone else in the orchestra to create the rich and full sound of an orchestra. 


What did you enjoy about digitally meeting fellow musicians from around the UK? 


The aspect I most enjoyed about the NYO’s digital residency was being able to connect with fellow musicians through one piece of music and a shared passion. Even though I didn’t get to meet anyone personally, I still enjoyed seeing and hearing the different interpretations and opinions on the repertoire and being able to continue doing what I love the most – playing with others. Being a musician in lockdown has been challenging, and I have missed playing with fellow musicians. That’s why digitally meeting and playing with fellow musicians has been such a comfort to me and has helped me to stay positive. 


We want to work with every single teenager who set their sights on NYO 2021, and find a way of making music together physically and digitally. We don't know what this looks like yet, but we want to make sure we reach wider than we ever have before, to make music with all of you. Please share your details with us so we can stay in touch.
NYO is a charity, and we are doing our best to continue to be a musical community at this time, powered by incredible teenagers who are dedicated to inspiring others through music. We rely on fundraising for over 70% of our income; if you feel able to donate to help us keep playing, please click here.

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