The New York State School Music Association is a professional organization which represents more than 6,000 music teachers across New York State.
Each spring NYSSMA sponsors music festivals across the state, which local school districts volunteer to host.
At the Solo and Ensemble Festivals, students have the opportunity, alone or in a small group, to perform a piece of music that is selected from the NYSSMA Manual. The music is listed in six levels according to difficulty. Students play or sing before an adjudicator and are evaluated on their performance. A grade and written critique are given, based on established criteria such as tone, pitch and rhythmic accuracy, intonation, and sight-reading. The Solo and Ensemble Festival gives students the chance to practice the audition procedure, which musicians often go through. The feedback students receive from the judge will help them grow musically. In addition, students often use this NYSSMA rating for acceptance into performing groups outside school.
Major Organization Festivals are opportunities for music teachers to bring an exceptional ensembles (band, chorus, orchestra, or jazz ensemble) to perform for two specially trained adjudicators. Music must be selected from the NYSSMA Manual. The ensemble is awarded a rating for their performance and receive recorded and written comments critiquing their performance.
Each year thousands of student musicians across New York State compete for an opportunity to be selected for the prestigious NYSSMA Conference All State Music Ensembles. Admission to these highly selective groups is based upon the score received the previous spring during the NYSSMA Solo Evaluation Festival.
Area All State
These outstanding ensembles consist of students chosen from a nine county area including Albany, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties. Competitive selection to these groups is based upon the score received by the students’ during the previous spring at the NYSSMA solo evaluation festival.
Solo and Ensemble Evaluation Festivals
A NYSSMA solo/ensemble festival is a performance venue that provides students with an opportunity to be assessed by a NYSSMA trained adjudicator gaining positive feedback and constructive criticism to help improve student performance.