About Us

The Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra was founded in 2000, and has inspired and encouraged its players ever since. Some members of the orchestra have gone on to study music at tertiary level, and even to make careers out of performing and teaching music. Others have simply enjoyed their time playing music together and learned as much in social and other skills as in musicianship. Now a NSW creative kids provider.

From toddler classes to senior orchestra

SYO offers students a pipeline from beginning music education as a toddler, right up to refining their ensemble and performance skills in the senior orchestra. Maestro John Dunstan works hard to give students an engaging experience with an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary music.

Players develop skills that will advance not only their musicianship but all their educational endeavours. The key here is ensemble playing which, calling as it does for coordination with others to produce the right result, is an excellent life skill.

Programs for different ages and levels

SYO consists of six programs for differing ages and levels of students; Tuning In!, Junior Music Program (JUMP), Stringlets, Shoalhaven Junior Strings (SJS), Quartet, and the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra (SYO), also offering a series of annual camps and workshops with leading Australian professional musicians.

Since its inception this organisation has worked hard to nurture and promote music in the Shoalhaven and looks forward to doing so well into the future.

Experiencing so many different instruments and performing as a group on stage each year has inspired our child and created a passion for all things musical.

Micha James

Other Programs



The Orchestra is the premier youth orchestral music group in the Shoalhaven. It allows students to develop finer skills associated with orchestral playing.

Shoalhaven Junior Strings

Junior Strings

The Shoalhaven Junior Strings is a training ensemble for junior orchestral string players, preparing them for rehearsal and performance with the senior orchestra.

Shoalhaven Quartet


The Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra Quartet is made of our principal violinists, violist and cellist. This ensemble may perform regularly and is available for private functions.

Tuning In Music Program

Tuning In!

Tuning In! is the music education program of SYO. Trained music educators conduct various classes for children aged between 2 and 12 in Nowra and Berry. The program develops basic musical skills as well as allowing children to try out, and begin to learn, all the instruments of the orchestra.


School Visits

The Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra visits Shoalhaven schools to showcase both instruments and instrumentalists to the wider Shoalhaven Community.


Instrument Hire

The Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra maintains a full inventory of orchestral instruments available for hire.