YYPA logo

For the past couple of days I have had the pleasure of following around the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) as they prepared for their performance on Monday evening.

The Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program (YYPA) recognizes outstanding young musicians from the world of classical, jazz, and contemporary music. Winners of this competition are invited to attend a weekend at the Music for All Summer Symposium, receive a once in a lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage, receive a recording and photos of the live performance, and participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. Winners also  enjoy many of the privileges of a Yamaha Artist, including services and communication with Yamaha’s Artist Relations department.

I was lucky enough to sit in on sessions with the YYPA winners and Jeff Coffin, a Yamaha Artist and current saxophone player for Dave Matthew’s Band. During this session the YYPA winners were very engaged and enthusiastic about being able to get advice from Coffin, hear about his experience of taking his career to the next level, and what to work on to make themselves a better solo artist through being more marketable and authentic.


I also was able see the Jazz YYPA winners’ rehearsal for their final performance that included Jeff Coffin and other Yamaha sponsored faculty at the Music for All Summer Symposium, like Sammy Kestenholtz who is on our Jazz Faculty! The energy in the room was amazing and I could not wait to hear how everything would come together on stage.

All of the YYPA winners also got to do a round table session where they got to talk to more directors and artists about their experiences. Some of the winners asked questions like “how do you learn other types of influences to make your own sound” or “how do you balance family and your love for playing” and “when do you find time to practice.” The Staff really gave some great answers to how they balanced their lives by having a plan on what you are going to work on each day in advance so you are getting things accomplished.

YYPA Panel

Later that day I was fortunate to be able to sit back stage and interact with the Yamaha Young Performing artists and watch their final performances in front of more than 1,200 Summer Symposium Campers. The students got to see what the next step could be for them and some of the opportunities there are to take their careers to the next level as young artists. The YYPA Winners were both Classical and Jazz artists.

The final performance was the first time I had heard the classical winners and they were amazing. I do not come from a musical background and from listening to the YYPA Winners, I have found a new appreciation for music that I would have never had without this experience. I am very curious to see where the love of their instruments and determination takes these young artists in their careers. I also loved watching the young artists support each other before and after their individual performances.

YYPA Group

The final performance “Move Your Rug” by Jeff Coffin was a mixture of artist with the jazz winners, two of the classical winners, Jeff Coffin, as well as Luke Gillespie, Jeremy Allen and Sammy Kestenholtz from our Music for All Jazz Faulty. It was one of the most fun and energetic performances of the night.

I think the Yamaha Young Performing Artists concert was a really cool experience for the YYPA Winners and our Summer Symposium Campers. It’s a great opportunity for our campers to see what kinds of opportunities are out there for them and it really showcases Yamaha’s commitment to education.