Cool Kid plays violin in L.A. Philharmonic's youth orchestra program

Being part of an orchestra can teach kids so much beyond music.

That's where Giselle Lara learned about the importance of being part of a community and giving back. And at just 12 years old, she's already accomplishing big things.

For the past year, nearly 180 students have been part of a vibrant musical experience called YOLA, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which is a program of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The kids are from schools all throughout East Los Angeles, like Giselle, who attends El Sereno Middle School.

Giselle just learned to play the violin four years ago, but she's already got big plans.

"The max years that it takes to master it is 9, and I really want to master it, badly, so I can play for other people," she said.

Giselle said she listened to a lot of classical music and was attending a concert when she realized how much she loved how the violin sounded.

"I chose it because of the high pitched notes it can make," she said. "Because not all the instruments can do that. The other instruments can make lower notes, and I like how the high notes sound."

Being part of YOLA goes way beyond just playing and performing.

"They embrace not only the music, as a tool to learn, but actually to learn values and to socialize," said the L.A. Philharmonic's Juan Felipe Molano, who is the YOLA conductor.

Molano says the young musicians, like Giselle, are great ambassadors of their community. The YOLA orchestra gets to play for many schools and takes their talents far beyond Los Angeles.

"I think the YOLA kids are so aware about their responsibility, as well as ambassadors -- not only from those families but also to the Hispanic community. I'm so privileged to be part of that process," he said.

Giselle, who also sings and plays the ukulele, says while the violin can be difficult to play, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It makes me feel amazing," she said. "Because not everyone plays instruments, and I feel lucky to be a part of YOLA. To do this, it's just very nice to be able to learn things."
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