It’s not common to see more than one piano in a concert, much less a dozen. Enter Tulsa Youth Keyboard Orchestra.
TYKO is exactly as it sounds: an orchestra comprised of Tulsa youths on electric keyboards. They perform a full concert season from September to May, with different musical parts and simulated instruments among the pianists. Songs include classical, seasonal and popular music, such as the “Ghostbusters” theme.
Laura Goldzweig, TYKO president and music director, grew up playing piano. She also played violin in the Tulsa Youth Symphony and the Tulsa Honors Orchestra. She cherishes the orchestral experience but laments its general inaccessibility to pianists. “That’s just something I wanted to create for pianists,” she says. She founded TYKO in early 2019 with the help of Vice President and Assistant Director Marjorie Berman.
Playing in a group helps young musicians balance their tone, Goldzweig explains. It also drastically helps their sight-reading skills — an important quality in the prodigy musician. Above all, it keeps them from staring at their fingers (you need to watch the conductor in an orchestra).
She recounts a story in which a mother of two reached out after coming across TYKO on social media. “She had two daughters who had been playing piano for a couple years, and she said she felt guilty that she had them start with piano lessons and that she should have had them start with violin or a different instrument because there were more opportunities.”
Both girls are now in TYKO, Goldzweig says, putting those lessons to good use.