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What is NYSSMA?

Many of our student musicians perform in one of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) solos and ensemble festivals. Students may participate in multiple performances within each festival, and at multiple festivals. If a student performs as a soloist, he/she must perform specific tasks, such as: preparation of scales or jazz improvisation/drum set grooves (from memory), a solo from the official NYSSMA manual (photocopies are strictly prohibited and students will not be allowed to perform), and must sight-read eight measures of music. Students will perform this before an official NYSSMA adjudicator. The resultant ratings for levels I-IV of O (outstanding), E (excellent), G (good), F (fair) and levels V-VI of a letter grade are determined by an overall performance score. Students also have the option to attend for Comments Only, in which a grade will not be included in the evaluation process. Each student will receive his or her own adjudication sheet with comments from a music educator. Students that perform in an ensemble (duets, trios, etc.) will only perform the selected piece. Students can perform on Piano, Voice, Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Harp, Guitar, and Jazz instruments. Additional information concerning NYSSMA is obtainable at


Why should students perform at NYSSMA?

Performing a NYSSMA solo/ensemble is optional. Students should select a piece of music from the NYSSMA manual (with an original copy purchased as photocopies are strictly prohibited) and begin preparing several months in advance of the performance date. The student’s written evaluation will share constructive feedback by an adjudicator who specializes on the student’s particular instrument. The evaluation is also used by music teachers to assist with student nominations for possible acceptance into All-County, All-State, All-Eastern and All-National performing groups.


What is All-County, All-State, All-Eastern and All-National?

The Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA), The New York State Council of Music Administrators for Music Education- Suffolk Chapter/Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association (NYSCAME/SCMEA) and The Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association (SCMEA) are county music organizations that offer students the ability to perform with students from other districts in annual All-County Concert Festivals throughout Suffolk County. The students are selected from nomination lists submitted by music teachers for consideration to perform in these annual concert festivals. All fifth through twelfth grade students are eligible for nomination to their categorical division. These honor groups rehearse for two or three days and perform a concert at the conclusion of the rehearsals.

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. National Association for Music Educators (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.

Please note that selection committees of these organizations rely on NYSSMA scores when selecting students. Additionally, students must be a part of a school performance ensemble to be considered for these honors.