Pathway Musicians


GTCYS’ new Pathway Musicians Program nurtures the growth and talents of Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic music students through a comprehensive, personalized support system. With up to $6,000 of annual financial assistance per student and mentoring from a professional musician, this program helps students reach their fullest musical potential within GTCYS and beyond. Pathway scholarships are renewable each year through high school graduation. This new program is designed to address racial disparities in the classical music field and to create opportunities for youth underrepresented in GTCYS.


  • Primary benefits: Every Pathway Musician will benefit from these core program elements:
    • Weekly private lessons with a highly talented teacher who will be recommended by the selection committee.
    • Mentoring (in-person or remote) from a professional musician with a similar racial/ethnic background.
    • Waived tuition and fees for GTCYS’ school-year orchestras and summer orchestra membership.
  • Supplementary benefits: GTCYS will tailor additional areas of support to each Pathway Musician’s needs, which may include some combination of the following:
    • Assistance upgrading to a higher-quality instrument.
    • Instrument maintenance.
    • Sheet music purchases.
    • Performance opportunities.
    • Complimentary admission to local concerts.
    • Networking opportunities with professional musicians.
    • Assistance with national summer program applications.
    • Competition fees.
    • Assistance paying for and navigating the process for college applications and auditions (if pursuing music).
    • Transportation to music activities in the Twin Cities and/or for college auditions.


  • Currently in grade 5 – 10.
  • Identify as Black/African American or Latinx/Hispanic.
  • Live in the Twin Cities metro.
  • Play a standard orchestral instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, harp).
  • Currently enrolled in a GTCYS orchestra, auditioning for the 2023-24 school year season, or a member of Harmony. Pathway Musicians must participate in a 2023-24 school-year orchestra.
  • Applicants must be passionate about developing their instrumental skills and musicianship through the Pathway experience and GTCYS orchestras.
  • Financial need on a self-identified basis.

Note: GTCYS has other assistance for students who don’t meet these specific parameters. To learn more, visit https://gtcys.org/auditions/assistance.


Applications for the first round of this program were due on May 24, 2023. The next round of Pathway Musicians applications will open again in 2024. Check back for updates!

The application includes:

  • Playing sample: Record and upload a short video of a solo performance that demonstrates the student at their musical best. Maximum length 5 minutes.
  • Written or video statement: Share a written statement (500 words or less) or short video statement by the student describing why they want to be a Pathway Musician and how they hope to benefit.
  • Reference: Name and contact information of someone outside the student’s family who is familiar with the student and their musical aspirations. References could include: music teacher, school classroom teacher, sports coach, school principal, religious leader, work supervisor. GTCYS will contact the reference to learn more about the student.
  • Statement of financial need. Short written statement describing the family’s financial need. Note: formal financial aid applications and income statements aren’t required for this program.


If selected for the program, Pathway musicians are expected to:

  • Practice regularly and demonstrate musical progress.
  • Attend private lessons consistently.
  • Attend GTCYS activities consistently.
  • Share a short written or video summary describing their Pathway experience 1-2 times/year.
  • Maintain regular communication with Pathway staff to shape the program for future years.
  • Write thank you notes to donors, upon request.
  • Renew for the program each year through high school graduation (contingent upon GTCYS enrollment) is based on the student summary and recommendation from the mentor.



The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) opens doors to music learning and provides a pathway for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Using music as a vehicle, our educational programs break down barriers, inspiring students to excel musically and build lifelong skills which serve them in school and beyond. As one of the region’s premier youth arts programs, GTCYS serves more than 1,000 students ages 7-18 through our Harmony strings instruction program, Launch Lessons, 10 school-year orchestras, and summer camps. Rather than capping enrollment, GTCYS continually expands its programming to meet growing interest and community needs. Started in 2016, GTCYS’ equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives created strong results and remain a top priority. To increase access and address socio-economic barriers, GTCYS provides more than $180,000 in need-based scholarships for tuition and private lessons. GTCYS believes in bringing music to diverse audiences, and our students share their talents through 25 free performances at Twin Cities schools, homeless shelters, and senior care centers, plus formal ticketed concerts at professional venues like Orchestra Hall. In total, GTCYS reaches more than 17,000 children and adults through our educational activities and performances each year. GTCYS celebrated its 50th Anniversary Season in 2021-22 and has served 16,000 students in its history. Alumni include leaders in every field who use the lifelong values of teamwork, discipline, and community engagement developed during their GTCYS experience. Learn more at www.gtcys.org.

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