<February 2016>

Wu Family Academy logo and image

The vision of the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement is to change lives by expanding the understanding of the arts, empowering everyone to have confidence in their creative decisions, and sparking a passion for music that will last a lifetime. We aim to change lives - whether as a hobby or a career - through life-long music making.

Through live and digital partnerships, hands-on music education and training in classrooms, communities, and virtual settings, the Wu Family Academy will cultivate relationships that will change lives today, and, thereby, the trajectory of our community tomorrow.

Discover the Wu Family Academy

Civic Youth Ensembles  |  WFA Directors 

Civic Youth Ensembles

Since 1970, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) have provided Michigan's musicians of all ages a comprehensive music education experience. CYE's two-fold mission is to cultivate every student's artistic and creative potential through rewarding musical experiences while continuing to develop meaningful skills outside of the arts.

CYE Faculty believe music can provide youth with the necessary tools to develop important life skills: critical and analytical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and teamwork. They believe that students can discover success no matter what path in life they choose.


Auditions are open to all elementary through high school instrumental music students with a suggested experience level of at least two years on their instrument. Students are expected to be enrolled in their school music program, if available. All interested musicians must audition, regardless of previous association with Civic Youth Ensembles. 

If a musician would like to audition on more than one instrument or for both the jazz and classical programs they must schedule separate audition times for each instrument/genre.

Auditions are scheduled at 15-minute intervals, recorded, then heard by an adjudication panel consisting of DSO artistic staff and Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians. All audition results are final. View the auditions requirements.

Information for CYE Students

Reporting an Absence

To report an absence, late arrival or early departure you must submit an attendance notification form. Students must report an absence at least two weeks in advance. For emergency absences please fill out a request form (at your earliest convenience), in addition to emailing civic@dso.org. Please provide as much notice as possible. Download the attendance notification form.

Student Handbooks

For more detailed information about WFA’s policies and procedures, please download and review our handbooks: 2015-16 DSYO Handbook (DSYO Only)  |  2015-16 CYE Handbook  (All other ensembles) 

Concert Information

Wu Family Academy Presents: Civic Jazz Live!
Friday, January 29 at 6:30 PM and Friday, April 22 at 6:30 PM — Featuring The Civic Jazz Orchestra

Wu Family Academy Showcase
Friday, February 26 at 7 PM and Saturday, May 28 at 7 PM — Featuring The Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra & The Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble

Wu Family Academy Presents: The Civic Youth Ensemble Experience
Sunday, March 6 at 2 PM and Sunday, May 8 at 2 PM — Featuring:  Arco String Orchestra, Creative Jazz Ensemble, Sinfonia String Orchestra, Concert Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Detroit Children’s Choir, Concert Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra

Guitar Lab 101 Registration

Guitar Lab 101 is a nine week-long course offered by the Wu Family Academy at the DSO designed to teach students the tools they need to learn how to play guitar in whichever style they prefer. Classes begin February 26th, 2016. Click here for more information and to register for this course.

Clyde & Helen Wu

Clyde & Helen Wu

More than half a century ago, a promising young pianist gave a recital in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, a young doctor sat in the audience and was mesmerized by her beauty and her talent. Following the recital, Dr. Clyde Wu introduced himself to that pianist, Helen, which sparked a great love that led to a lifetime of partnership in service to the community and dedication to musical education.

Clyde was a regarded physician by profession, steeped in the classical tradition through Helen’s musical career. His quiet countenance masked a deep understanding for music’s transformative qualities, as he proved to be the ideal candidate for leading the DSO's Education Committee as chairman. Together with Helen, Clyde went on to steer his committee in the development of a music education program that has since touched countless young lives.

Clyde and Helen Wu's vision has principally guided the DSO’s achievements in music training. The DSO is proud to carry on their relentless belief in music's power to transform a child's life through what is now aptly named the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement, offering a broad range of educational programs for all ages and backgrounds.

The DSO welcomes hundreds of student musicians each week as they hone their musical acumen, nurture the seeds of teamwork and develop focus that will serve them throughout their lifetime—exercising music's ability to inform, to enrich and perhaps most importantly, to delight.


Financial aid opportunities made possible by The Seed Foundation