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Dear Parents and Guardians,

Each year the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) hosts solo festivals throughout the state for students to receive adjudication and feedback from certified judges.  These solo festivals also serve as the basis for acceptance into honors ensembles at the upper grade levels for groups like Intermediate All-County, Area All-State, State Wide Honors Band, and All-State ensembles.  Additionally, students who participate have a clear focus to direct their technical and musical goals with their instrument or voice.
If you are considering registering your child for one or more NYSSMA solo festivals, please read this entire notice carefully.
This year, the Blind Brook Music Department will be utilizing a single registration and payment system for the entire district.  There is a two step process to register your child for the NYSSMA festivals: 1) The completion and submission of a Google Form for each student/festival/instrument that you desire to participate in. 2) The payment of NYSSMA fees through paypal via a paypal account or credit card.  The google forms, which include the links for payment, are included at the bottom of this email.
The following festivals are available for Blind Brook Students:
Down County NYSSMA Solo Festival @ Bronxville High School - May 15 and May 16
This festival is for all band, chorus and jazz students as well as orchestra students performing level 5-6 solos.
Strings Level 1-4 Only NYSSMA Festival @ Edgemont MS/HS - March 27 and March 28
This festival is only for orchestra students performing level 1-4 solos.
Piano NYSSMA Festival @ Lakeland High School - June 5 and June 6
This festival is for classical piano soloists (jazz piano soloists should register for the Down County NYSSMA solo)
Please Note: The BBMS Trills and Thrills Field Trip is May 15 for Select Band and Select Chorus students.  We plan to return from this trip around 3:30PM, however students will be tired from the activities and there is always a chance we may be late.  Please plan accordingly!
Participation Guidelines:
1. Participation in a  NYSSMA Festival is an extra-curricular activity that is encouraged by the school district but not incorporated into the schedule or curriculum of the music department.  Students who wish to participate are strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of a private instructor.  A list of private instrumental teachers as well as local music conservatories are available here:
2. All students participating in a NYSSMA Festival must purchase two original copies of their solo (one for the student and one for the judge). Photocopies are strictly forbidden.  If the piece has a piano part that is not being utilized, the judge may use the piano accompaniment as their copy.  If a student is performing from memory, the judge may use the sole original as their copy.  Blind Brook does not provide music for student use at the festival.  Music is available from most local music stores and also can be searched for and purchased by instrument and NYSSMA level at 
3. NYSSMA solos range in difficulty from level 1 to level 6.  Students should seek the advice of their private instructor or school music teacher to determine a level that is appropriate for them.
4. Vocalists have the option of using a recorded accompaniment or hiring an accompanist (see our list of private piano teachers on the document above).  All-State soloists (vocalists and instrumentalists) are required to use a live accompanist.  Blind Brook faculty do not accompany soloists at the festival and the Blind Brook school district does not provide for outside accompanists.  Students must make arrangements in advance for both the performance and rehearsals of the music.  It is advised that students and parents make these arrangements months in advance as the accompanists are in high demand.  If a student chooses to utilize recorded accompaniment, they are responsible for bringing the play back equipment to the festival. 
5. The NYSSMA manual is a copyrighted manual that is not to be duplicated.  There is a new manual in effect as of July 2018.  All private teachers who wish to have a list of solos are encouraged to join NYSSMA and purchase a manual for their private use.  Blind Brook teachers are no longer permitted to photo-copy the NYSSMA manual for students or private teachers.  Hickey's Music (see link above) has cataloged their music by level and is a good resource if the manual is not available.
6. All payments are final.  NYSSMA does not provide any reimbursement for cancelled solos.  NYSSMA also does not guarantee time slots or days.  If you are registering for a festival, please be prepared that your assigned time and date might be different than what was requested.  While this is rare, it has happened in the past.  Blind Brook places our registration early to try to avoid conflicts, which is why we adhere to a strict registration deadline.
7.  Please complete the registration process by February 1, 2020.
8. All questions and registration information should be directed to Don Whitman at  All registrations must be made through the google forms below, your child's music teacher will not be accepting registrations in person or via email.  Checks are not accepted for NYSSMA registration.
Registration Links:
To register for the Down County Festival and the Strings Level 1-4 Festival, please use this link:
To register for the Piano NYSSMA Festival, please use this link:
Thank you, and best of luck to all of our talented musicians!
The Blind Brook Music Department