Education: Community Partner – Yakima Music en Accion (YAMA)

Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema model, Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) grows confident leaders throughout the neighborhoods it serves by widening access to professional-level music learning, igniting collective pride, and empowering and unifying students and families through music. Established in 2013 at Garfield Elementary School in Yakima, YAMA started as a community partnership of OIC of Washington, the Yakima School District and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO), with each organization providing critical support and services toward the YAMA mission. As of the summer of 2017, after two years as an affiliate program within the YSO organization, the core YAMA program is now managed through its own independent non-profit entity, employing its own administrative staff and Teaching Artists, once again in a three-way partnership with YSO and the Yakima School District.

Since 2014, YSO has separately hired Teaching Artists for the YAMA program from our symphony roster, ensuring that highly-trained performing artists with professional symphonic credentials and experience play a consistent role as teachers and mentors on the YAMA faculty. YSO Teaching Artists champion and organize collaborative opportunities between YAMA and the YSO, particularly with an eye toward leveraging the artistic and social capital of the Symphony to inspire young musicians and bolster their success as citizen-artists. This effort is led by YSO Teaching Artist and YSO Principal Percussionist Joshua Gianola, who is joined this year by YSO Assistant Conductor Aaron Hirsch and YSO Violinist Vanessa Moss. These three YSO Teaching Artists teach at both YAMA sites: at Garfield Elementary, led by Site Director and YAMA Co-Founder Alex Pualani, and at Davis High School, led by Site Director and YSO Cellist Jennifer Moultine. YSO Teaching Artists work closely with Site Directors, with YAMA Co-Founder and Executive Director Stephanie Hsu, and with a strong team of creative staff to develop student leadership skills, train students to teach and mentor younger students, advance their musical proficiency, support their social and emotional growth, and energize them about possibilities for their futures while connecting and supporting them to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities essential for their growth as lifelong learners.

Visit the YAMA Website! Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA)