From inception, Young Musicians Unite has been a collaborative effort between Sammy Gonzalez, one of Miami’s most established musicians, and young musicians that he mentors on a private basis. These teens understood how fortunate they were to have private music instruction, particularly at a time when the nation was experiencing severe declines in music education programs in schools. Recognizing this imbalance in music education opportunities, Mr. Gonzalez (Sammy) and these socially conscious high school students decided to start Young Musicians Unite, an organization dedicated to giving all students a voice through music.
With this vision in mind, Sammy realized he could apply his own talent, skill and experience to enrich the lives of middle and high school students. Without the assistance of YMU, many of these students would never have a chance to learn how to read music, to study an instrument, to explore music appreciation, or to perform in front of an audience.
In 2013, YMU launched its first free after school guitar program at the Young Men’s Prep Academy in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. During the 2015-2016 academic year, YMU expanded its enrollment in the YMP guitar ensemble, added a jazz combo program and began another music program at Miami’s Overtown Youth Center. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Young Musicians Unite further expanded its programming to two additional schools: Jose de Diego Middle School in Wynwood and Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown. At Jose de Diego Middle School, YMU operates both an in-school and after-school Student Rock Ensemble. Continuing its mission of uniting young musicians, YMU’s after-school program is partners with The Overtown Youth Center and is an open community rock program. At Booker T. Washington High School, YMU operates a student guitar ensemble. In addition to these expansions, YMU became aware of an overwhelming demand for a drum line at YMP and was able to meet that demand in collaboration with the YMPA jazz band.
For this 2017-2018 school year, YMU will be expanding enrollment to 180+ students. Programs will include an Overtown Open Community Jazz Band, an after-school Rock Ensemble at Edison High School and jazz combos at Coral Gables Senior High.