We chose the term Verdugo as an all-inclusive reference to the original Verdugo Rancho that covered the area from the San Gabriel to the San Fernando Valleys in Southern California. We chose this name specifically to encompass the myriad communities we serve. Our VYMA Music Project focuses entirely on Pasadena, but our Youth Orchestra programs draw young musicians from all across the region representing 47 schools from 18 Southern California communities, including: Arcadia, Burbank, Eagle Rock, Glendale, La Canada, La Crescenta, Los Angeles, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena, Sunland, Tujunga.
VYMA is dedicated to helping young musicians feel successful through learning and sharing music. Becoming an essential and valued member of our musical community and working together toward a shared goal, members learn the consistency, dedication and teamwork needed to create beautiful music. And they discover how much fun that work can be!
By deeply respecting and believing in the potential in all young musicians and by being a supportive and nurturing presence in their lives, we encourage and challenge our students to be the very best they are able while providing a safe place to take risks. With love and encouragement, we teach young people to make music with their minds and with their hearts.
A hallmark of the VYMA philosophy is the encouragement of teamwork rather than competition. We encourage the students to feel that they are all part of one ensemble, and each student can move on to more challenging music as he or she is ready. We downplay the importance that orchestras often place on seating for status. The seating arrangement is changed frequently, not as reward or punishment, but to give students the opportunity to sit in the front and the back of the orchestra. No one is treated as “second fiddle,” because all parts of the music are equally important. At the same time, advanced students will have the opportunity to become concertmaster or section leader because these are also essential roles to acquire.
VYMA orchestras are inclusive, currently bringing together young musicians from over 24 different public and private schools. Repertoire is carefully selected to meet the abilities, aspirations, and educational needs of students at varying levels of musical development.
The mission of the Verdugo Young Musicians Association (VYMA) is to transform young lives through music. We strive to fulfill our mission through both free and tuition-based after-school high-level music education programs where young musicians discover the dedication, teamwork and joy of making music together, enhance their musical skills, and create pathways to success and self-esteem. VYMA’s hallmark is its nurturing, non-competitive ensemble setting and excellent faculty of professional, performing musicians who serve as conductors, teaching artists and mentors.