Sheffield Youth Orchestra

SYO is South Yorkshire's longest-running independent youth orchestra. Since 1964 we've led the way in developing young musicians through outstanding training and performance opportunities across the Steel City.

The four steel pillars of our orchestra's vision are:

Outstanding Music Making - We strive to provide unique performance opportunities at a range of venues in Sheffield. The repertoire we explore is ambitious,engaging and broad - with a particular focus on classical music composed in the past 100 years. Sheffield Youth Orchestra is an excellent accompaniment to a young musician's work in KS3, GCSE and A-Level music placing theory into practice. It's the perfect stepping stone into further education and professional music making.

Developing Young Musicians - For many young musicians, this may be the first time engaging with a full-size orchestra. Because of our longer rehearsals, we don't just focus on how and when to play the instrument. Musically, we also look into developing musicianship, learn about conducting and composing for small ensembles. This is in addition to instilling confidence and teamwork skills in our young players through our performing and social programme.

Community Engagement - Youth Orchestras hold great responsibility in the community. Not only to inspire the next generation of players, but also to bring communities together. That's why we focus our performances and community days on bringing families, schools, teachers and local musicians together to share our love for music. In addition, we collaborate with local charities to give back to the local community.

Accessible to All - We appreciate that music education can be expensive. That's why we are committed to reduce joining fees to a minimum. As a charity, we offer bursaries for families that request it and offer scholarships for lessons and instrument hire for uncommon instruments. Our community events will always stay free, in order to provide a platform for like-minded musicians to come together and engage with exciting repertoire.

How to get involved

For a lot of young musicians in Sheffield and the surrounding areas, this is the first time they may be joining a full force orchestra. We are a friendly, inclusive orchestra that plays a prominent artistic and educational role in Sheffield. Our weekly Saturday term-time rehearsals at the Central United Reformed Church (10:00am-12:30pm) means we can offer in depth musical training, unique performance opportunities and provide socials that bring the SYO family together.

SYO is not an auditioned ensemble as we want as many young musicians in Sheffield to get involved in music making.
We recommend a standard of ABRSM Grade 5 for tutti players and a standard of ABRSM Grade 7 for section principals. This ensures that we focus more of our attention on developing ensemble skills and characterful playing and less on the mechanics of performance.
The best way of knowing if your child is ready to join, is for them to attend a taster rehearsal. Contact us on our website for more details.

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