All City Orchestra, Double Bass
Project 440 has made a large impact on the way I view music. It all started with the several free workshops that Project 440 offered to students. I was immediately interested and curious and decided to attend them. The list of workshops was quite diverse, for they informed about a variety of things such as college preparedness, entrepreneurship, chamber playing, composition, and even the job of an orchestra librarian. They were all very engaging, and taught me that music isn’t just limited to performance and winning a job in an orchestra one day. There are a vast number of careers out there that can involve music. I was really inspired by the workshops, which drove me to participate in the All City Chamber Group Series led by Project 440.
I initially joined the chamber groups expecting to be only performing a piece given to us for a selected audience. Isn’t that what most chamber groups do? However, I was mistaken; I found out that we were required to not only perform our piece, but also present our piece in an engaging way to an audience of kids. My group and I were assigned to a Project 440 chamber coach to assist in the process of creating and formatting our presentation. Together, we brainstormed creative ways to use Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the piece we were playing, to teach kids about music. Throughout the process, we experimented with different parts of the piece to somehow teach the kids about several musical concepts such as tempo, articulation and key. Surprisingly, we were spending more time on the presentation than actually practicing the piece! As my group and I presented and performed our piece to children at CHOP, I was filled with excitement and happiness to be educating the youth about what can be done with music. I felt as if I was in the shoes of the Project 440 members who were standing before me, educating, and influencing me not too long ago. It feels good knowing that I left CHOP leaving a smile on a child’s face and hopefully encouraging them to pick up music in their lives one day.
Through Project 440, I not only grew as a musician and a performer, but also as an educator. I am very grateful for the invaluable lessons, opportunities, and experiences Project 440 has given me. I hope to learn from and work with Project 440 more in the future!
All City Orchestra, Violin
I attended two very inspiring Project 440 Workshops after All City Rehearsal today. One was about life skills and we talked a lot about emotions and coping, which is very important! And tying it all with music. The other was about writing creative college application essays, and it transformed all my original thoughts about college essays. Playing the violin in the All Philadelphia High School Orchestra is not only encouraging me to work towards becoming a better musician, but also teaching me the skills I need to become a better person and walk through life. Learning all of this through music is wonderful and more justification of the necessity of music in everyone's life.
NYO2 Violin; Sphinx Competition Junior Division Semi-Finalist
I just wanted to thank you so much for what you, Julie, Susanna and all of the wonderful people you work with do at Project 440! I have to say that honestly, I learned so much at the workshops I participated in last summer at NYO2. They helped me to not only grow as a young musician, but they really opened up my eyes as to what is truly possible as a classical musician who has a love for music, and wants to share that with others who may not be as fortunate to have what [we] have. When I was in New York, I was so excited because I had that “Oh my goodness I can actually do something, too!” moment during one of the sessions.
All City Orchestra, Principal Bassoon
Project 440 has propelled All City into another league of educational excellence. In addition to creating good musicians, Project 440's comprehensive seminars and coaching opportunities give us the tools to pursue various careers both in and out of the music world and to develop into competent, productive, and civic minded citizens. The skills I've gained from Project 440 and the invaluable guidance I've received from their teaching artists have already helped me succeed as a musician and as a person.
All City Orchestra, Cello
During school, I was always bored. I piled activity upon activity looking for things to do, but for the most part, they crumbled down to busy work. Sometimes, I felt like life just became a series of checkpoints marked by test dates, and I defined myself by how well I did in school. Musical activities became a way for me to do what I wanted instead of what I felt I needed to do. Programs like the All City Orchestra and Project 440 helped me take a break and learn in a way that I enjoyed. Through participation in the Project 440 Chamber Program, I got to meet new people and design a fun interactive performance. Not only was it helpful in learning how to convey musical ideas and motifs, it provided a space where we could all contribute ideas and build what we wanted. I'm definitely excited to play and learn with Project 440 in the future.
One of the key themes of our activities at NYO2 (Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra 2) was creating a positive difference through music, and my first eye-opening experience was a series of social entrepreneurship workshops with Project 440 during the first week. In the workshops, several entrepreneurs explained how they executed ideas for musical opportunities and taught us how we could do the same. The most exciting aspect of the workshops was the culminating "shark tank." We formed teams, worked together to develop an idea for a music-related business, and pitched our ideas to a panel of judges. As entrepreneurs, it seemed natural that all of our teams would attempt to create the most unique business possible. I recall our team's enthusiasm as we discussed how our idea of creating a musician's social network would stand out from the other projects. Yet, as each team pitched ideas at the Sunday finale, a striking similarity among all of our projects emerged: each business was motivated by a desire to bring opportunities to musicians with limited access to musical training and experiences.
Our farewell party on the last day ended with the staff congratulating us on NYO2's successful inaugural season. At one point, our wonderful director, David Gracia, made a remark that truly resonated with me: he reminded us that since Carnegie Hall had give us NYO2, we now had a responsibility to bring the experience back to our hometowns. The creators of NYO2 [and Project 440] wanted us to make music more accessible in our own communities, just as [they] had done for us. I feel that my experiences have inspired and empowered me to make this kind of impact. For the gift of inspiration and empowerment, I could not be more thankful.