To Music Students:
Each spring, the New York State School Music Association Evaluation Festivals provide a means of objective evaluation of musical performance. This plan allows a music teacher and student to select music of a degree of difficulty suitable for a soloist or group, regardless of the school enrollment or any other arbitrary factor. Quality of performance involving tone, intonation, phrasing, rhythmic accuracy, etc. is emphasized.
Students can perform solos, duets and small ensembles for trained adjudicators in the NYSSMA model.
With six levels of music, students are encouraged to perform appropriate literature for their individual ability and skill level. It is not necessary, or even recommended, to progress at a rate of one level a year. The student's real level of ability should determine which piece (or level) is selected, not the level passed the prior year.
Students must prepare a solo listed in the NEW NYSSMA Manual Edition 33, effective July 2022 (located in each school building and the public library) along with scales, rudiments and sight-reading according to their level as part of their evaluation.
All-County and LISFA: The scores received can be used for the Nassau All-County Festival and the Long Island String Festival during the following year.
All-State: Students in grades 10 and 11 may compete for the New York All-State Music Festival during the NYSSMA Festival but must specifically request this type of audition on the registration form and also secure an accompanist upon registration. Students accepted in All-State may have the opportunity to perform in Rochester, NY in early December with other musicians from throughout New York State.
From past experience we also caution students in preparing more than one solo for evaluation. For some students it can be a tremendous benefit; however, for others it does not leave enough quality time to prepare multiple auditions properly.
Participating in NYSSMA can be a rewarding educational experience. The process is one that requires a great deal of individual time and effort on the part of the student and their parents. Students who decide to participate should be prepared to practice a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Students who have been the most successful in the past have received private lesson instruction in addition to the school music program. In school group rotation lessons we unfortunately cannot devote adequate time to the individual NYSSMA preparation process. It can only serve as one piece of the puzzle.
For more information on NYSSMA and the organization, you can log onto their website at www.NYSSMA.org or contact your music teacher.
Andrew Fund, Ed.D.
Director of Art and Music Education