Fine Arts Department

NYSSMA Adjudication Festivals 2020


Step 1 – NYSSMA Registration
Step 2 – NYSSMA Payment

What is NYSSMA?
Many of our student musicians perform in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo and Ensemble festival each year. Students may perform more than one instrument (or voice) and solo/ensemble composition. If a student performs as a soloist, he/she must prepare scales from memory, sight-read eight measures of music and perform a solo from the official NYSSMA manual before an official NYSSMA adjudicator. The resultant ratings for levels I-IV are: O (outstanding), E (excellent), G (good), N (needs improvement). Ratings for levels V-VI are determined by an overall numerical performance score which converts to a letter grade. Each student will receive his or her own adjudication sheet that explains the grade. Students that perform in an ensemble (duets, trios, etc.) are only responsible for performing the selected piece of music. Students who receive high ratings may be eligible to receive a medal for their efforts.

Why should students perform at NYSSMA?
Students receive a written evaluation/rubric which provides constructive criticism and positive reinforcement about their performance. The solo/ensemble performance is conducted by an adjudicator who specializes on the student’s particular instrument. This authentic assessment  can be used for self-reflection and personal growth. The evaluation is also used by music teachers to assist with student nominations for possible acceptance into All-County, All-State and All-Eastern performing groups.

What is All-County, All-State, All-Eastern, All-National?
Select All-County honors performing groups are sponsored by the NYSCAME and SCMEA music associations. Students in grades five through twelve are selected from nomination lists which have been submitted by music teachers throughout Suffolk County.  Honor ensembles are formed by divisions. (Grades 5&6, 7&8, 9&10, 11&12) Each group rehearses for three days and performs a concert. Although performing at NYSSMA is not required for All-County nominations, participation is highly recommended.

Students in their sophomore and junior years of high school are eligible to be selected to for the NYSSMA All-State performing groups. Students must perform a level VI solo (the highest level) and must be accompanied by a pianist. Students with very high marks are nominated by school music teachers to be considered for selection into an All-State or All-National performing ensemble. The NYSSMA All-State Festival is typically held the week following Thanksgiving vacation and lasts for four days. NAfME All-National honors ensembles are also held in late November.

Students that participate in a NYSSMA All-State or NAfME All-National performing ensemble may also be nominated to participate in the bi-annual NAfME All-Eastern honors performing ensembles. All-Eastern is typically held in early spring.

Should I participate in NYSSMA?
Performing a NYSSMA solo/ensemble is optional. Students should select a piece of music and begin preparing months in advance of the performance date. Your teacher can help recommend a musical selection to perform. Students should be motivated to participate and have an established practice routine to do their best. Although it is not required for students to have a private teacher to participate, it is not uncommon for this to be a consideration. Limited time is available during the school day to help all students prepare NYSSMA solos. Students must be in first grade before they can begin to participate in NYSSMA. It is recommended that students dress nice, but comfortable for the performance.

Additional Information

  • If you are performing a vocal solo, please speak with your teacher regarding the recorded accompaniment or piano accompanist.
  • If you are performing a drumset solo, you must bring your drumset.


The 2020 NYSSMA festival locations are as follows:

  • All classical piano solo/ensemble auditions will be held at Five Towns College on Monday, March 23rd – Thursday, March 26th between 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  • Specialized solo auditions (jazz, All-State jazz, drum set & guitar) will take place at West Islip School District on Friday, March 27th between 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 28th between 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • All general solo/ensemble auditions (*no piano) will take place at Smithtown Central School District on Tuesday, April 7th between 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  • All-State solo auditions will take place at Comsewogue School District on Friday, April 24th between 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 25th between 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

If you are interested in performing a NYSSMA solo or ensemble, please consult with your music teacher or contact the Department of Fine Arts at 382-2982.