Little did I know that this trip would actually be one of the greatest blessings of my 12-year life. Not only was I amazed at the both the quality of the orchestra and the terrific outcome (on everyone’s part!) of the final performance on that beautiful, sunny day at Millennium Park; not only did the other Lang Lang scholars and I gain tremendous musical knowledge in those two weeks alone from collaborating with MYA and simply listening to each other. But there was something even more valuable that happened during that time: I finally felt that I had a place I could call home. Many music schools revolve mainly around jealousy among teachers and students and are so stuck on politics that the actual music-making hardly matters. Not the case at MYA. You can feel it in the atmosphere: the joy, the love, the passion for music that fills the air is stronger than you could possibly imagine. Probably the strongest feeling I had was that all of a sudden, I was completely comfortable with being myself, both as a person and as a musician. I immediately felt I belonged, and I am sure that this is the case for everyone else who has attended this organization as well. I felt that for the first time, there were people who understood and loved me for who I was. I have flown back to Chicago every month since August to play and prepare chamber music with my new friends there.
At MYA, suddenly being unique is embraced, not frowned upon. At MYA, you are encouraged to create beautiful music and to practice and play with your heart no matter how old, or what level, you are at. At MYA, the importance of music is understood by everybody – wonderful teachers and students alike, and the highest quality of music making can be found there each and every day.
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