The Santa Monica Youth Orchestra (SMYO) is a non-profit organization that strives to promote socioeconomic and cultural diversity through music programming. SMYO rethinks community in three central ways:
- By doing away with tuition and auditions, the orchestra facilitates participation among individuals from underrepresented groups.
- By supplementing hierarchal and authoritarian teaching practices with peer mentoring, it models an egalitarian approach to social life in which young people practice “listening” to one another, working together in “harmony.”
- By programming Jazz, Latin American, Near Eastern and West African repertoire alongside European orchestral classics, it “opens the ears” of its participants and audiences to the rich heterogeneity of world cultures.