THE SCOOP | $150K Gift Launches New Musician Mental Health Program At NYO Canada

By Michael Vincent on June 14, 2018

NYO Canada
Thanks to a $150,000 three-year gift, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada will now include mental wellness training for students as part of its regular curriculum. (Photo courtesy NYO Canada/Flickr)

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) has announced the launch of an innovative musician mental health wellness program starting this June as part of The NYO Canada annual summer institute.

Thanks to a $150,000 three-year gift from Halifax’s J & W Murphy Foundation, NYO Canada will introduce mental wellness support, workshops and training for each of the 100 young students as part of the annual 5-week residential training institute.

“In the world of professional music, competition is fierce, demands are high, expectations off the chart, and the professional environment can be physically and emotionally gruelling,” said NYO Canada Executive Director Barbara Smith. “At NYO Canada, we are not just teaching young people to play to professional standards but are committed to training the whole musician.”

The students will also have access to a professional therapist, Dr. John McMillan from the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada, who will attend the session as well as accompany the students on tour to Ontario, Quebec, Germany and Scotland between July 24 and August 14.

“Once accepted to the [NYO Canada] orchestra, many expect that — for a hopeful young musician wishing to pursue their dreams — the stress would be over,” said McMillan in a press release statement. “But for some students who have been gifted and high-achieving all their lives, the stress is just beginning as they face the rigors of a professional training institute under the baton of a world-renowned conductor and encounter the demands of touring for the first time.”

“We want to help young people learn the skills of mental wellness, and that the training they will now receive at NYO will impact their ability to thrive and excel for a lifetime,” explained Lisa Murphy from the J & W Murphy Foundation.

The NYO Canada residency will take place at Wilfrid Laurier University, and begin on June 17 through mid-August.

For tickets and details on the NYO Canada Tour, visit www.nyoc.org.

Michael Vincent
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