Many Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians started in beginning band or orchestra.

The Dream Out Loud Music Education Advocacy Campaign utilizes the unique individual stories of Chicago Symphony Orchestra members to inspire young musicians to continue their musical studies and to stick with it during periods of challenge or frustration.

Dream Out Loud is built on a deep understanding of the challenges that music educators face in their classrooms every day—specifically retaining students in their school music programs.

Dream Out Loud offers a set of eye-catching posters, print and video profiles telling each musician’s story.

Dream Out Loud is appropriate for classroom use with middle school through high school students, including beginning and advanced instrumentalists, parents and music educators. Dream Out Loud materials are free to music educators and other music organizations.

Please select one of the links below to learn more about the featured CSO musicians.

Featured Musicians


    I started taking piano lessons when I was 4, but I never really liked practicing. I started playing clarinet in fourth grade in a band program at my elementary school. I liked practicing the clarinet almost from the beginning. I really liked the sound. I had no idea I was going to become a professional musician.

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    I started on violin when I was 4. My brother and my sister played instruments and my parents were music teachers. They would take us to concerts and rehearsals. I think it was better than getting a babysitter. I remember watching this massive orchestra and hearing the sound, which was so thick and rich and thinking “I really want to do this.”

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    I was around 4 when I started playing the French horn. My parents chose it for me. My parents had a lot of classical music records at home, including some with French horn so I knew what great French horn players could sound like. That wasn’t what happened for me on that very first day, but I could hear the power behind the instrument and that was exciting.

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    I started with a color-coded keyboard and picked out songs from a little book. The next year, in second grade, one of the kids brought a drum to school for "show and tell." I thought it was just the coolest thing I had ever seen. In fact, it seemed so cool I was afraid to go near it.The following year, I asked for a drum set for Christmas. It was $19 from a Sears catalog. I loved it so much that, pretty quickly, I wore out the drum heads!

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    I grew up in a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania. My mother played piano and I have an aunt who was a church organist. I started playing piano when I was five. Then in the four grade, my twin sister and I were able to start taking music lessons at school. She chose the clarinet and I picked the saxophone. Every day, we would walk home from school carrying our instruments. That sax was so heavy for me!

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    It was my father's recording of the Sibelius Second Symphony that really did it for me. When I heard the big brass fanfare at the end, I was hooked! That was it.I started studying trumpet in the fourth grade. My first teacher, Mr. Burnham, gave me my first instrument. It was all shiny and new. He taught me the fundamentals of good musicianship, including basic skills like sight-reading and music theory.

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    Singing together with others in choir helped me to manage the other pressures in school. The best friends I have ever had were the ones I met singing in choir! It takes a lot of work to prepare for performances, but all of the practice and rehearsal pays off.

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    I was born in Taiwan and started playing the piano when I was 4 years old. My mom said I begged and begged for lessons when I was 3, because I had so much fun at my brother’s piano lessons and I wanted to do it on my own. I moved to Canada when I was 10 years old. It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak English because the music spoke for itself. Music was the perfect language.

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