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Beauty Begins the Moment you Decide to Be Yourself

YAMA Program

Philarmonia at Benaroya Hall in Seattle

YAMA has been a huge part of my life and has introduced me to one of my closest friends. In YAMA I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin. YAMA Philharmonia has recently had the opportunity to go to Seattle to meet and work with incredible musicians. Not only were we able to grow in our skill, we grew closer together. I felt myself become vulnerable during the trip and embrace my identity more. And that’s the thing about music, it has the ability to help you find a piece of yourself. It has the ability to create peace.

I am a person who is very insecure and has found myself at one point being very insecure in not only my appearance but in my playing. In this season of my life I would have the ugliest feelings when I heard myself play; I would cry and feel so ashamed and think about the girl who was in love with music. But I realized something: I have nothing to be ashamed of because my friends and mentors were lending me their support. And I felt the love of music again in the YAMA trip this spring. I felt all of my YAMA family come closer, learn more about each other, specifically at the end of the first night of the trip we all played, laughed and just truly felt like a family.

The Seattle trip definitely helped me gain different techniques in my playing that I now use daily. When we had clinics from various incredible musicians I was really intimidated from the feedback I would hear. But after a while with hanging out with them I felt a change in my playing ability.

I became more comfortable in how I sounded. And you could definitely hear everyone be more comfortable and just give their all in the songs. Music not only unites us but helps us feel more comfortable. Unity is so important. And I’m so grateful that I am able to share the same love of music with people my age.

Florinta Lopez (‘cellist, 8th grade) is in her fourth year of YAMA. “YAMA truly is a special program and an amazing blessing in my life,” she shared, “It has helped me grow so much in my musical ability and has helped me become stronger and more confident.”