Apply! Student Leadership in Senior Symphony

Dear Senior Symphony Musicians,

I am excited to get everyone back together later this month! Thank you for choosing to participate in the Senior Symphony—you are a very important orchestra and a wonderful group of young people.

I know that you are busy preparing your auditions, and if you think I can be helpful in any way, please let me know. I am writing today about a few leadership opportunities I mentioned in previous notes. The orchestra adopted these last year with great success.

As we move into the season together, some of my goals are to give you the chance to get to know each other and help you create an outstanding musical experience for yourselves. From my experience studying other strong organizations, I have observed that a vital element of success is the presence of excellent leadership throughout every level of the group.

In an orchestra, and for an individual player, this can mean displaying personal dedication by knowing and performing all assigned music at a high level in both rehearsals and performances. Personal preparation gives one confidence and brings an inherent charisma to your section and the ensemble. Leadership through personal preparation is the backbone and the foundation of great musicianship and excellence in ensemble music.

Beyond this standard, the Senior Symphony also needs those of you who are willing and able to give more time and even greater effort to the orchestra. Throughout the 40 or so weeks we operate, the orchestra has the potential to be even more successful and perform at a higher level than ever before. This can be achieved through practicing effective communication between both the players and sections, as well as MYSO’s administrative staff, coaches, and the Music Director. I am seeking those of you who wish to help establish this improved system of communication.

An enhanced way of running the orchestra: each of us plays a part!

Most weeks the orchestra will meet both in sections and as an orchestra. Your sectional time will be the chance for you to work on what your own section needs, and it will often be student-run. Therefore, additional leaders will be needed to help communicate and coordinate each week’s musical focus with the String Advisor and Music Director with coordination from the Orchestra Manager. In addition, we will need students who can initiate and maintain good communication within your sections and instigate weekly progress.

The orchestra needs both musical and organizational student leadership.

A common practice in orchestras and bands is that some the very advanced musicians are provided the opportunity to lead sections as concertmasters and principals of the orchestra, and thus act as our musical leaders. These musicians are given an honor to lead their sections because of excellent musical skills, knowledge, and often years of accumulated experience, which brings added respect from their peers. Musical leadership in Senior Symphony is vital and helps everyone perform at their highest level.

In addition to musical talents, I know that some of you are excellent communicators, thinkers, and energetic organizers. The orchestra needs more of you! Regardless of whether you are named to a principal position, are you willing to give some more to your friends, section, and to the experience? Are you interested in making our orchestra the most excellent, efficient, inclusive, musical, and happiest orchestra around? If so, I would like you to let me know and apply to be a Section Leader.

Concertmasters, Principals, and Section Leaders (you can be both!) can add immeasurably to our success.

Role: Senior Symphony Concertmaster, Principal, Section Leader

Purpose: Provide leadership of your section musically and through weekly organization and communication with all section members and Senior Symphony staff.

Reports to: Music Director

Here’s what you need to do:

Write a letter of interest and send it to me via email. We’ll use this letter during a short interview and conversation.

There is no additional audition required for these roles.

(No experience is necessary, but some could help! We’re all learning here.)

Your letter should include:

  • Why are you interested in serving as a Concertmaster, Principal, or Section Leader?
  • What musical experiences have you had which might contribute to your success in a leadership role?
  • What experience do you have organizing projects/communicating with teams?
  • How do you think this role will benefit you and the orchestra?
  • Anything else you would like to add.

Please include a block of times you are available to interview with me on:

  • Tuesday, August 30, 1-6 pm
  • Wednesday, August 31, 2-6 pm

Please send your letter to me via email at

Application Deadline: Wednesday, August 17

Leadership will be announced before the Monday, September 12 rehearsal.

You are welcome to call or write to me with your questions.

My very best to each of you. Thanks for taking the time to review and consider applying to be a Concertmaster, Principal, and/or Section Leader.