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The Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis

"SYO has been an invaluable experience for my son. They helped improve his confidence, refine skills, and unite him with other like minded, diligent teens.  This fantastically talented group, under the  direction of Shawn Goodman, is fun and entertaining. It is amazing how much these young musicians grow each summer."  

-Shawn & Lena Wise, 4-year SYO Parents

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"The SYO family provides a unique opportunity for some of the most talented junior high and high school musicians in central Indiana. From retreats to mentoring by members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to performances at the Indianapolis Artsgarden and Carnegie Hall in New York, young musicians stretch their abilities while further cultivating their love of music. Our son has been blessed by his experience with the SYO of Indianapolis!" 

-John Elcesser, 3-year SYO Parent

"SYO prepared me immensely for symphony orchestra at the collegiate level!"

-Hannah Scheib, 3-year SYO Member & Intern

"SYO was actually my first musical group to join outside of school, and it really taught me to come out of my shell and be willing to try new things. Every rehearsal was a chance to express my love for music and it was a place to feel comfortable doing so. SYO is incredible, they really care and they truly want to get to know you. I don't know where I'd be without it. "

-Lauren Nielson, 3-year SYO Member

"Opportunities to work with professional symphony musicians and instrumental masters in this summer program are invaluable.  Involvement in SYO helped develop my son's character, confidence, and creativity."

-Fawn J. Harris, 8-year SYO Parent

About SYO

SYO Mission: 

The Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis (SYO) is dedicated to providing unique and necessary music and arts education opportunities to advancing young musicians throughout Indianapolis and its surrounding areas.


About SYO:

The Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis (SYO) is a non-profit summer youth orchestra program founded in 2008 by Shawn Goodman. SYO exists to provide unique and necessary music and arts education opportunities to talented youth from many schools throughout Marion County and the Greater Indianapolis area. The program encourages life-long learning by presenting free educational concerts throughout Indianapolis and provides students with a healthy, safe learning environment in which to grow musically, culturally, mentally, and socially. Students are encouraged to take on leadership responsibilities within the organization and to engage in problem-solving activities in teamwork settings. SYO offers a college internship program to selected music education, performance, and arts administration majors, and to SYO alumni. SYO students engage with college professors and professional musicians weekly in sectionals, masterclasses, chamber ensembles, and fieldtrips. SYO is committed to providing educative experiences to all talented musicians, regardless of socio-economic status or ability to pay tuition. The summer program typically holds auditions each April. Rehearsals begin at the end of May and run through mid-July. 

The SYO program maintains between 60-80 members each summer.  In 2017, SYO performed on the main stage of Carnegie Hall as a participant in the Viennese Masters Youth Orchestra Invitational. The SYO has now commissioned two works for orchestra with non-traditional instrumentation, including Blender in 2017 and Rhapsody on Cue in 2018, both by composer, Ryan Fraley. Blender is a blending of rock, jazz, bluegrass, salsa, and classical genres that features banjo and saxophones, while Rhapsody on Cue was written for solo jazz clarinet and wind ensemble/orchestra, and was the result of a co-commission project between the SYO and the Marian University Wind Ensemble.

Students in SYO have fun playing music from various genres, even incorporating choreography and improvisation when appropriate. SYO is uniquely different from other youth orchestras in that it often features instruments that are not usually considered traditional in the orchestral setting. In 2018 SYO added a handbell choir to its growing list of small ensemble offerings, and in 2019 SYO added a jazz ensemble.

SYO subscribes to a democratic educational philosophy, encouraging discourse, student leadership, and student-centered learning activities, and fosters a caring environment by promoting acceptance and inclusiveness for all students. SYO does not discriminate regarding admission or employment on the basis of race, creed, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. 

SYO is an annual recipient of the Lilly Endowment and McCoy Foundation’s Summer Youth Program Fund grant, and is proud to partner with other organizations that support music education, including Marian University, the Cross of Grace Lutheran Church Handbell Choirs, and area schools to provide a broad range of opportunities to youth and to provide clinics to music educators and students.

Our Directors


Shawn Goodman, Director 

Shawn Goodman is an Associate Instructor of Music Education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she is also completing coursework towards a PhD in Music Education with a minor in Jazz Pedagogy, and is a University Supervisor for Indiana University’s School of Education.  She is an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she teaches clarinet, flute, and music theory, and at Marian University, where she teaches clarinet, saxophone, and jazz combo.  Previously, Shawn served as Clarinet Professor at the Butler University School of Music and as a University Supervisor for Butler University’s College of Education. 

Shawn was the clarinet clinician for the Music for All (MFA) National Festival presented by Yamaha in 2015 and 2017, and for MFA's Summer Symposium in 2015. She presents clarinet and jazz workshops regularly to educators and students at music educator conferences, high schools, and middle schools as a Yamaha Performing Artist and Vandoren Regional Artist.

Shawn holds a Bachelor of Music in Education with a concentration in Jazz Studies from the University of Indianapolis, and a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from the Butler University School of Music, where she also completed a Graduate Assistantship in Wind Conducting.  She is the Conductor, Founder, and President of the Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis and maintains an active career performing jazz.  Shawn Goodman plays Yamaha clarinets and saxophones exclusively.

Breann Royer, Assistant Director

Breann Royer is a composer/arranger, musician, and educator. Breann’s compositions often incorporate unusual items such as plastic hand clappers, toy pianos, or household items to make musical sounds, as well as typical band instruments used in unusual ways. Breann studied trumpet performance at Missouri Southern State University and music education at the University of Indianapolis. 

Breann is the Musician Manager for Shawn Goodman Jazz and performs regularly throughout the Indy area, teaches private lessons and sectionals at schools, techs for marching bands, and composes and arranges music for small groups, band/orchestra, and handbells.  ​​

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