Hawaii Youth Symphony Offers Online Learning Youth Programs via HYS+

Mike Lawson • News • August 7, 2020

The Hawaii Youth Symphony has announced online learning programs for students to continue studying and practicing music in a safe space via its new online platform, HYS+

Enrollment is now open to all prospective students, including those without prior HYS experience and Mainland students. Both the Symphony+ and Jazz+ online learning programs for the fall and spring semesters have a registration deadline of Wednesday, August 12 at 11:59 p.m.

The fall semester will run from August 16 to December 13, and the spring semester will run from January 10 to May 16. The cost is $150 per semester.

“As we ready for our 56th season during unprecedented times, we are grateful to our community for their dedication towards helping us reimagine an online season with HYS+,” said Randy Wong, HYS President. “Music is a healing art, and its relevance to our youth and their education has never been more apparent. Although we have been taking a temporary intermission from our in-person programming, we are finding creative ways to keep the joy of music a right for all and we are looking forward to providing enriching and dynamic online opportunities for aspiring young musicians everywhere.”

Symphony+ students will take part in interdisciplinary music projects, study orchestral repertoire with members of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, hone musical skills, connect with community leaders, and attend performances by phenomenal artists. This innovative program is under the direction of maestro Joseph Stepec (HYS Director of Orchestral Activities), together with fellow HYS faculty Susan Ochi-Onichi (Conductor YSII), Elton Masaki (Conductor YSII), Hannah Watanabe (Conductor, Concert Orchestra) and Wayne Fanning (Conductor, Concert Orchestra).

“Music is much more than just a memorable tune: it is an organized language that speaks to our senses, our hearts,” said Joseph Stepec. “While in rehearsals we often spend a lot of time focusing on our ensemble playing. Symphony+ will provide a unique opportunity to discover and delve deeper into how music ‘works.’”

Middle and high-school-aged students with three or more years of ensemble experience or private lessons, and the ability to read music, are welcome.Instruments accepted include flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, violin, viola, cello, bass, and harp.

Led by Dean Taba (Director HYS Jazz and Combo I) and Ryan Howe (Conductor, Combo II), Jazz + will enable students to explore many forms of contemporary improvised music, practice methods, approaches, and perspectives, as well as the practical applications of music theory and ear training.

“Improvisation, collaboration, and adaptability are key components of Jazz and all improvised music. Through JAZZ+ students will increase their understanding and appreciation of this collaborative art form,” said Dean Taba, director of HYS Jazz and Combo I. “No previous experience is required, but simply a willingness to participate and be open to try new things! This course is designed to be interactive and collaborative, utilizing a variety of web-based tools. We are very excited that offering this program online will allow students from all of Hawai’i, the US, and Internationally to fully participate.”

Students ages 13 to 18 years old by December 31, 2019, with at least 1 year of private instruction or equivalent experience are welcome. No experience improvising is needed. Instruments accepted include drum set, keyboard, bass, electric guitar, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone (exceptions for other instruments may be made on an individual basis).

To ensure that no interested child is turned away from a quality music education because of financial need, Hawaii Youth Symphony offers over $35,000 a year through its financial aid program. HYS also offers assistance for registration fees, instrument rentals, private lessons and air and surface travel for neighbor island students.

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