Mr. Papiewski: NYSSMA

I am excited to introduce NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) festival. In addition to individual assessment students are able to participate in Solo, Chamber Ensembles, Choir and receive a music-performance assessment from a trained judge. All festivals are hosted at various schools around the City. If you have any questions please and would like me to guide you through the process please contact me at any time.

Mr. Papiewski

Below find some of the most commonly asked questions as found on the NYSSMA website.


The Student Musician:

Why should I play a solo at an NYSSMA Adjudication Festival?

*NYSSMA evaluations offer you an objective assessment of accomplishment by an unbiased, trained evaluator

*You will be evaluated on the difficulty level of your choice.  You will know

how well you have done on that level and be aware of levels yet to be explored.

*This is not a competition!  You are not competing against your classmates or other musicians, but rather playing against a recognized standard, so you will be able to use this to evaluate your own progress and plan your work with mire insight.

*When you have reached the highest level of achievement you may take the opportunity to audition (10th and 11th grade students) for an All-State performing group, where you will have the pleasure to rehearse and perform with the finest student musicians in New York State, as well as work under nationally recognized conductors.

The Teacher:

Why should my students play a solo at a NYSSMA Adjudication Festival?

Why should my major ensembles play at a NYSSMA Adjudication Festival?

*Thousands of student throughout the state participate in the NYSSMA Evaluation Festivals and are evaluated by trained adjudicators.

*The process documents achievement using a reliable and valid criteria through the use of outside evaluators.

*Students are motivated by a desire to improve their performance through constructive criticism rather than by competition with other students or a need to “win”.

*Having your students practice for a solo performance will have a positive effect on their musical accomplishments and therefore positive effects on the ensembles in which they perform.*Teachers of ensembles need valid and reliable evaluation of their best work if they are to continue to improve instruction and raise the quality of music learning and performance.

*Assessment helps you motivate and reinforce learning, raise the quality of instruction, improve planning and curriculum and reward hard work and success.

*Many music teachers throughout the state have o in-house help, no music chair or ongoing help from the district level.  Parent’s applause for little Johnny and Suzy at an evening performance while necessary and important, is not an evaluation which is useful to either the teacher, administration or Suzy or Johnny.

The Principal

Why should teachers and students in my school participate in NYSSMA Adjudication Festivals?

*The NYSSMA Evaluation Festival assessment process has been recognized by the NYSED as a model of authentic assessment.

*Descriptors are provided for each level of performance, and are valid and reliable.

*Scores are related to actual levels of student performance.  Ratings reflect both analytic and overall performance, and make explicit to students, parents and administrators the criteria for student achievement.

*A Realistic window is available for the administrator to view the successes and weakness of a program.

The Parent

Why should my child participate in a NYSSMA Adjudication Festival?

*NYSSMA standards of adjudication are understood and recognized by college and university admissions officers.

*If your child’s application states, “I play first clarinet in my high school band which was last year awarded a Level 6 Gold Recognition at a NYSSMA Festival”, or, “I played a level 6 solo and received an A rating”, specific information about your child’s achievement and abilities are known.

*Success in music performance doesn’t only indicate that your child has talent.  It shows a willingness to spend a significant amount of time, energy and effort over a long period of time to reach a high level of performance.

*Success in musical performance is an indicator o good work habits, persistence and tenaciousness.

*Success as a performer has been characterized as 10 percent talent and 90 percent HARD WORK AND PRACTICE!  Achievement in musical performance demonstrates that the student knows how to work.

A NYSSMA rating validates musical achievement.  Admissions officers understand –

“The arts are clearly an integral part of life at Harvard.  We look for students whose previous participation in the arts shows that they can make a substantial contribution to our community.”  – William F. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions, Harvard University