Each year, the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) sponsors solo and ensemble festivals, which can be registered for through the student’s school music program. A soloist is evaluated and graded on a prepared solo from the NYSSMA Manual, sight-reading, and scales, rudiments for drummers. Ensemble festivals evaluate school orchestras, bands, and choruses. I with students in all areas of evaluation in order to achieve the best grade and highest level of recognition possible.
1. Be Prepared: Students who practice more in advance will usually end up with higher scores. Begin looking at your NYSSMA solo a few months in advance.
2. Know Your rudiments: This is a good opportunity to get some easy points, so you never mess up the rudiments.
3. Record Yourself: In the few weeks before NYSSMA, record yourself to really polish your performance.
4. Perform for Others: If you get nervous, perform for friends and family members before your adjudication. The more you perform the more relaxed you will be during the process and performance, Play in front of a teacher as well as friends and students before the actual NYSSMA day.
5. Sight Read as Much as You Can: And whenever you can.
6. Arrive on Time: Showing up late puts adds unnecessary stress. Give yourself time to be settled and calm.
7. Materials: Make sure you have the right books; NYSSMA doesn’t allow photocopies. If you require an accompanist, obtain one at least a month before your scheduled NYSSMA day. Talk to your school music teacher if you need help.
8. Have Fun: Appreciate the time you spent learning the piece and be excited for whatever helpful feedback the adjudicator is giving you.