Connecting with young classical students during the pandemic

Posted on: January 28, 2021

In a pre-pandemic photo, Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim performs the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with California’s Golden State Youth Orchestra. Kim is among orchestra musicians now working virtually with GSYO students.

“In a Zoom call last November between Golden State Youth Orchestra (GSYO) students and Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim, the Q&A didn’t go as expected,” writes Annelies Zijderveld in Monday’s (1/25) San Francisco Classical Voice. “One student opened up about his terrible performance anxiety, describing what it feels like to be onstage and how COVID-19 wasn’t helping, then asking what tools Kim could give him for how to deal with it. GSYO Executive Director Seth Ducey recalls being touched by the depth of the question…. When Ducey and GSYO canceled their season early in 2020 … he reached out to four sets of parent focus groups [and] provided students with musician talks like the one with Kim, weekly emails with interesting music to listen to and learn, a music history talk with GSYO Music Director John Eells, and interactive games. ‘It was a real lesson in crisis management,’ … said Ducey…. GSYO will be online for the remainder of the season, hosting one master class each month, January through March, featuring San Francisco Symphony members…. ‘It is good to give kids opportunities that are real and tangible,’ … Ducey said.” Several other San Francisco-area initiatives connecting students with art are included.