BYO Mission

BYO is a full symphonic orchestra whose mission is to foster the musical abilities and personal growth of dedicated young musicians throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area by providing a nurturing environment and the highest quality opportunities in instruction, rehearsal, and performance settings, offering financial aid to students in need.

We accomplish our mission in the following ways:

Orchestra Membership

Membership in BYO is open to qualified young musicians throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Generally, students are in grades 5-12 and have a desire to play in an outstanding group with other young musicians. Students are required to take private instrument instruction, and to participate fully in school music programs when available. To encourage this, BYO maintains a relationship with schools and private music teachers, and solicits feedback from them on an annual basis.

Our Musical Program

A progressive, comprehensive program allows students to develop sight-reading, technical and musical skills while playing selections from standard orchestral repertoire. Rehearsals focus on sight-reading technique, intonation, rhythm, ensemble playing, listening skills, and sound quality. Music is selected to represent various origins, genres and historical periods. Musical selections for the first session are generally less difficult technically. Then, as the year progresses, the focus of the program widens to include more challenging repertoire and discussion of motives, themes, phrases, forms, and more complex musical ideas.

Parent Collaboration

We build our musical community by involving parents directly in the operation of the Berkeley Youth Orchestra. All families must support BYO by participating in snack & stage duties at least once in a season, contributing one bake sale item for one of our concerts, and completing 20 volunteer hours.

Parent Meetings

Parents make the difference in how effective the Berkeley Youth Orchestra is in meeting its mission. They support and encourage the orchestra members, they ensure members are on time for rehearsals and concerts, and are the first to hear from their children how the orchestra is meeting the members’ and parents’ expectations. BYO schedules two Parent Meetings a year to ensure that it stays connected to its members’ parents.

Scholarship Fund

The Berkeley Youth Orchestra is committed to ensuring that qualified musicians have an opportunity to participate in the orchestra regardless of financial means. BYO has created a Scholarship Fund supported by fundraisers and donations, that allows BYO to offer full and partial scholarships.