Join the YYO

Next Registration day: September 8, 2018

Orchestra and Pre-Orchestra Classes | Jazz Ensemble

Even though we are called the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra, we have students from Howell, Brighton, Northville, Milan, Saline, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, and other cities in the area.  Students come from public schools, private schools, charter schools, and home schools. We are racially and ethnically diverse with students representing countries from around the world.

Originally intended for middle and high school students, we have some students in the actual orchestra who are younger and some who graduated from high school and don't want to leave us. We allow adults to play sitting beside the students as long as they don't take the place of a child. We are always looking for adult mentors to either help students learn or in learning to play an instrument themselves to demonstrate to the children that music is a lifelong activity.

Everything is free.  We don’t even charge for the concerts.  We operate on grants and contributions that we accept at any time. 

All classes are held at the Ypsilanti Community Middle School (the former Willow Run Middle School) at 235 Spencer Lane on the east side of Ypsilanti. The entrance is on the northeast side of the building. There is ample on-site parking.

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Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra

We have no official audition process. We like to say we allow the children to "audition us." We allow students to look at the music and decide if it is something they can learn by the next public concert. If they peruse the music and determine it is a match, we welcome them into the regular orchestra. The full orchestra rehearses from 9:30-11:30 every Saturday morning at the Ypsilanti Community Middle School.

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Pre-orchestra Classes

We also offer beginning and pre-orchestra classes FREE for students who may not be quite ready for regular orchestra and are at least 6 years old. Children in these classes are given music and instruction at or near their current level. There are four levels of string classes and two levels of wind and percussion classes.

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Do-re-migos: A first encounter with music

We also have a general music class for children between 3 and 6 years old.  They learn songs, rhythms, to be a part of a group, and to develop their attention span. All these pre-orchestra classes last from 45-60 minutes.

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More Details

We give two public concerts each year—one in December and one in the spring. We also have ensemble and solo concerts at various venues during the year. For example, we have performed at St. Joseph and U of M Hospitals and at two branches of the Ypsilanti District library. Our Jazz Ensemble has performed at the Parkridge Community Festival and the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival.

We provide an opportunity for students who wish to participate in small groups like the Jazz Ensemble and the Bernard A. Galler String Quartet that meet at 8:30 on Saturday mornings for small ensembles. 

Even though we have activities starting at 8:30 and ending at 11:30, students are expected to attend only during the time their class or ensemble meets.  Classes start at 9:30, 10:00, 10:15, and 10:30.  A few students take more than one class. Some students play one instrument in the Jazz Ensemble and another in the orchestra.

We offer classes, but we do not offer private lessons. We can recommend private lesson teachers if you wish. These teachers have their own rates for those lessons.

We "rent" instruments to students at zero dollars a month as long as we have them available to fit the child. Note: Right now we are getting rather low. 

IMPORTANT: Attendance at classes, rehearsals, and concerts is mandatory to participate in the YYO. Any time students have to be absent from class or rehearsal, you need to notify us via Signupgenius for absences before the class or rehearsal in order to have an excused absence. Doing it this way helps us keep our records straight.