• Jen Huber

Learning life skills through music

How the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in Indianapolis prepares students for success

A glimpse at the online MYO interview with Kaity Bancroft, IUPUI Student and ASL Interpreter (upper left); Krystle Ford, MYO Director (upper center); ISO Director of Artistic Planning Katie McGuinness (upper right); Aren Bucci, MYO teacher and alumna (lower left); and Lizzy Vallecillo Benitez, MYO student, double bass (lower right)


In the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO), we are committed to our students’ life skill development. We use music as the vehicle to teach these skills through weekly lessons and rehearsals, but we also provide real life experiences through our mock interview process. When students are ready to move up to the next level orchestra, we interview them instead of conducting an audition. They have plenty of opportunities to play via seating auditions, recitals, and concerts. We find this interview process more beneficial, and students walk away with tangible skills that they can use in any aspect of their lives. They receive a packet of information to help them answer common interview questions, create a resumé, and dress in proper interview attire. They are interviewed by MYO teachers, ISO staff, and other community partners. We had to move our interview process online this year, but it allowed our students to gain another set of skills.


A few of our teachers gave their thoughts and insights on the process:

“Every student will be interviewed at some point during their lifetime. Whether it is for a college, audition, job, or volunteer opportunity, MYO aims to prepare our students with the tools, tips, techniques, and skills needed for a successful interview. Students practice creating a resume that is observed beforehand by the interviewers and is critiqued at the end of the interview with constructive criticism. This helps students to realize the importance of a good and concise resume, and they learn how to effectively promote themselves on paper. While attending the live interview, students learn how to dress in appropriate professional attire that will not distract the interviewer or negatively affect first impressions. During the interview, they practice verbally promoting themselves in a professional environment. Students are asked simple, thought-provoking, and curve-ball questions in order to gain the experience of answering easy and difficult questions. This helps students learn the importance of carefully answering each question in detail, when appropriate, while also facilitating quick thinking. They are also given the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. Students benefit to learn about the importance of preparing a set of questions and doing a little research on their own about the position they are interested in. After the interview, students receive feedback on how to improve their interview performance, gaining knowledge of what they need to work on for the next time as they learn how to turn their weaknesses into strengths. Overall, students are left feeling less nervous about future interviews. This process helps reduce interview anxiety and instead helps our students gain confidence in themselves. I believe it is imperative to equip our students as best as we can with the skills they need in order to succeed by giving them opportunities that they only gain, benefit, and learn from.” —Lois Garza | Violin teacher


“At MYO we are committed to developing our students as musicians and young adults. This interview process provides a safe place for students to have their first practice at a job interview. For many students, this is their first time creating a resumé. Having an ISO staff member who is regularly part of the hiring process give guidance on how to make their resumés stand out, is absolutely priceless. With real life interview questions and immediate feedback, these students walk away with the tools they need to go into a job or college interview with confidence.” —Shannon Crow | Conductor and violin/viola teacher

Click the button below to take a look at some of the documents our students receive to help them prepare for their interview. The biggest takeaway from this exercise is that our students will have the skills to put their best foot forward and advocate for themselves. Music has the ability to shape the lives of our students every day and make an impact on their future.

Krystle Ford

Director, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra




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