“What sticks out to me about BYSO is the growth the average musician goes through – there isn’t another organization that gets those kinds of consistent results in the same amount of time.” – George Goodwin ‘13
Almost ten years after playing Trumpet in BYSO, George Goodwin still remembers the rigor and reward of mastering a musical practice at such a young age. While George chose a career outside of the music world, he still carries a mindset cultivated at BYSO: you can achieve things you didn’t think were possible if you break them down into smaller steps and tune out self-doubt.
After graduating from Harvard in 2017, George became a high school social studies teacher. Thinking back to that time, he recalls adopting the same educational philosophy as his teachers at BYSO. They expect a lot from their students but are supportive at every step along the way. “BYSO’s level of rigor and students’ ability to work their way up within the program taught me how to teach students,” says George. On a personal level, BYSO prepared him to embrace the uncomfortable aspects of change. A change in attitude, circumstance, or career could be seen as unfortunate, but George sees change as an exciting opportunity to adapt and learn something new.
In addition to instilling a courageous mindset into his life, BYSO connected George to the greater orchestral community. As a board member for UpBeat New Hampshire, he is able to help connect kids from his home state to professional musical training. Having benefitted greatly from the process of creating music, George relates to the young musicians in the program and understands the strong tie between musical excellence and self-worth.
When asked if he had a message for current BYSO students, George encouraged them to “enjoy practicing!” He notes that “a lot of kids put their instruments down especially in college – priorities shift because the joy fades but it’s worth it to pick up your instrument again and rediscover that joy”. Now, he continues to have a great relationship with his trumpet, stating, “it’s something I just want to do”.
In George’s words, “BYSO taught me how to tune out doubt and remember I’ve done extraordinary things—I always think back to the accomplishment I felt playing at Symphony Hall”. To him, a musical practice can be translated into a greater practice–one that prepares you for life’s twists and turns post-graduation. George’s story emphasizes something all BYSO students know to be true: the experience has always been about so much more than creating music. It’s about taking on what you didn’t think was possible and finding yourself along the way.
Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alum with an interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jeanne Bedard, Development Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 358-6119!