The NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Solo & Ensemble Festival is an annual festival that gives students a chance to perform for a registered NYSSMA adjudicator. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to perform, learn standard musical literature and receive constructive criticism and praise for their performance.
Students who register for the NYSSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival are required to prepare a solo/duet chosen from the NYSSMA Manual which is broken up into six ability levels. In addition to their solo, students will also be required to memorize scales; three scales for levels I & II, seven scales for levels III & IV and fifteen scales for levels V & VI. The last component to their performance is a sight-reading section. Students will be presented with a short musical excerpt and be asked to play it to the best of their ability.
After their performance the forms are reviewed and students will get them back in school the following week. Each student who performs in the NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival will receive a medal with a colored ribbon depending on their rating. Students who perform on levels I-IV are scored out of a possible 28 points and are rated as either “Outstanding,” “Excellent,” “Good,” “Fair,” and so on. Students performing at levels V & VI are scored out of a possible 100 points and rated as “A+,” “A,” “A-,” and so on.
While the NYSSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival is a wonderful opportunity, students should be aware that this is an extra time commitment and will require consistent home practice to be successful.