The small ensemble program gives Decatur Youth Symphony students an additional opportunity to play together outside of the main group. The students are placed into small ensembles with different instrumentation represented in each ensemble. This allows for the string and wind instruments to be paired in different ways. For example, an ensemble may include two violin students, a cello student, and a bassoon student. The various instrument pairings, independent practice time, and small ensemble sizes teaches students how to listen to each other, lead and follow others, work together as a group, and take personal pride in their contribution to the group. Additionally, the small ensembles provide a way for students to get to know each other better and build friendships.