Return to Headlines

NYSSMA 2021 - Virtual Solo Festivals

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.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, all NYSSMA festivals will be held virtually this year.  This is a completely new system and is not something that any teachers are familiar with.  We are learning as we go!  It is imperative that you read all documents very carefully to understand what you are signing up for!  After reading through the documents, you should also watch this video provided by NYSSMA:

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 form, 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  - Student Videos ready by 3/19/21
This festival is for all band, chorus and jazz students performing level 1-6 solos (including All-State) as well as orchestra students performing level 5-6 and All-State solos.

Strings Level 1-4 Only NYSSMA Festival - Student Videos ready by 2/26/21
This festival is only for orchestra students performing level 1-4 solos.

Piano NYSSMA Festival  - Student Videos ready by 4/9/21
This festival is for classical piano soloists (jazz piano soloists should register for the Down County NYSSMA solo)

Participation Guidelines:

1. Participation in a  NYSSMA Festival is an extracurricular 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 an original copies of their solo. Photocopies are strictly forbidden.  You will be asked to upload a scan of your music for this festival.  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. All Vocalists and all All-State soloists on any instrument must use recorded accompaniment during their performance.  This can be a recording of the piano part, a smart music accompaniment (with solo part turned off), or a pre-recorded accompaniment that has been purchased.  Accompaniment for all other levels is entirely optional.

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.  If you have an unreimbursed credit from last year’s festival season you may apply that credit to this virtual festival if you choose.

7. Please complete the registration process by January 10, 2021.

8. All questions and registration information should be directed to Don Whitman at  All registrations must be made through the google form below, your child's music teacher will not be accepting registrations in person or via email.  Checks are not accepted for NYSSMA registration.

Registration Link: 

Thank you, and best of luck to all of our talented musicians!


The Blind Brook Music Department