Meet Tyler Smith: Vacaville Baseball Star and Rising Concert Pianist

"It's the most fun to overcome really hard challenges and then be able to do hard stuff that other people can't do".. Tyler Smith

Tyler (TJ as he is known on the field) Smith will perform the legendary and most challenging Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 this Sunday, June 3rd at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. Accompanying 18 year-old Tyler will be 50 professional symphony musicians from throughout Northern California. Conducting is Maestro Rafael Toro-Quinones. When Tyler’s not practicing piano, he’s earning a 4.2 GPA, earning Baseball sports awards, batting .388, and helping his team win their first ever Division I Sac-Joaquin Section Championship with a bottom of 7th (last inning) 2 run home run to tie the score.

Going into his senior year, pianist and baseball player, Tyler Smith had earned Most Outstanding Player, Pitcher of the Year (8-0 with 1 save), and set records for his high school team. In June of 2017, Tyler was awarded the rare and esteemed designation of Featured Pianist with Young Artists Conservatory of Music, where he transferred his study of piano when he was 11 years old. Once afforded the position of Featured Pianist, Tyler decided to invest the past 12 years of piano training into the study and mastery of the great Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 After nine months of 10 – 20 hours of practice a week (amidst homework, baseball, and college applications) Tyler will take the stage Sunday, June 3rd joining a long legacy of YACM conservatory featured pianist.

What kind of “unique and special” is involved in this level of academic, athletic, and musical achievement? Studies show that activities and relationships in the life of a young person are formative. What we do, how we do it, and how our relationships support us construct whether we become self-directed agents who achieve our goals. Overcoming the obstacles that challenge a young person’s pursuit of his potential requires a certain ongoing 1) structure, 2) accountability, and 3) support rooted in what the Young Artists Conservatory call our 4 Core Values: 1) Excellence, Hope, Diligence, and Community. So what’s so special about a teenage local baseball star / concert pianist?

“How many times have you ever seen a young person rise to such a level in both his sports goals and his musicianship?”, asks piano instructor and Artistic Director, Young Artists Conservatory of Music. Tyler Smith will perform the Tchaikovsky this Sunday because at 18 years of age Tyler has accepted and flourished in settings that provide Structure, Accountability, and Support. Tyler expresses his life with a commitment to excellence. He invests in his potential and the hope of his success. Tyler doesn’t just work hard, Tyler expresses diligence by working “better”. And Tyler has a community that supports and challenges him to do his best.”

Baseball has undoubtedly formed his ability to work hard, face challenges, and collaborate with a team, Tyler’s music studies have given him the persistence and resiliency to lean into challenge, fail forward, manage his time, and the sensibility to learn how to express meaning.

“With piano you have to always be better not because the other team might be better, but because you are there with no one to overcome but yourself and you know what needs to be done and what you’re capable of. You just have to work well enough to do it and do it right.” Tyler Smith.


Wanda Cook


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