GTCYS Pathway Musicians Meet their Mentors

The season is flying by and our Pathway Musicians are busy preparing for the final concerts of the year! As part of the Pathway Musician program, students paired up with professional musician mentors to guide them in their musical journey, answer questions, and provide feedback to help them thrive! Meet each of our mentors and hear how they’ve connected with our young musicians this year! 

Our four mentors have something special in common: each was brought up in a family of musicians, and participated in music programs as a child, leading to a formal education in music to follow their passions. Having been connected to GTCYS in various ways prior to becoming mentors, we were thrilled to ask our talented colleagues to share their knowledge with young students of color just starting out on their musical journey. David shares, “I’ve worked with GTCYS in the past, specifically in the wonderful Harmony program with Mary Sorlie. When I heard about the opportunity to mentor students, I didn’t think twice about it!” 

Supporting young musicians’s growth is key to their success, and GTCYS strives to use our resources and connections to provide these opportunities. For the mentors, sharing their knowledge of the music industry and how to improve their playing skills is just one aspect of the conversation! Tami explains, “[Mariella and I] talk about music, school, college preparation, the importance of having a good character, and more. I want to help her musically, but I also realize that her violin studies are one facet of her life. I am here to cheer her on in everything she does.” Mentors enjoy hearing the students open up about their aspirations and discussing the philosophy and motivation behind their art. Mentors also provide vital feedback as the students prepare for their annual GTCYS placement auditions, as well as other programs such summer camps, competitions, and more!  

As the students progress musically, having a mentor can be a life changing experience. Patrick shares, “I think access to guidance and advice from someone who has already been down the path you intend to go down is an invaluable experience as a student in classical music. The resources provided to students in this program are a rare commodity. As a musician of color, it is very important to be the representation I wanted to see growing up, and as BIPOC students that is really important to see. A life in music is possible and should be encouraged.” Mentors emphasized the importance of focus and determination to succeed in music, but also the joy required in loving what you do! An open conversation can encourage positivity and an opportunity to share challenges and doubts in a safe space with someone who has lived it before! Imani agrees, “Having someone that looks like you in a visible place of success is invaluable.” 

The students have already gained valuable knowledge and experience through the mentoring side of the Pathway Musicians program. Solanite shares, “[Imani’s] experience is helping me learn how to navigate being a musician of color and learning about making progress over a long period of time. We have been focusing on setting goals in our playing to actually accomplish them. It has been so useful and has helped me to focus on what I can do to reach my goals.” Keziah agrees, “I can relate to [Patrick] because he is a younger musician of color who can play in predominantly white musical settings. My mentor has been very helpful with supplying and recommending resources and advice whether that’d be with things such as books to help with scales, what’d be a good new bow to choose from, or even ways to help stay in check with practicing.” 

Thank you to our mentors for sharing their time and talents with our students! And thank you to our GTCYS supporters who make programs like Pathway Musicians possible! We couldn’t provide these opportunities without your contributions. Don’t forget to catch all of our GTCYS musicians at Orchestra Hall May 11-12 for their final Spring Festival performances! Tickets available at minnesotaorchestra.org/gtcys.  


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