For many, the NYSSMA festival can be a very stressful experience. We are here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. With the right preparation and attitude, you can walk into the room with your head held high knowing that you are well prepared and will give an excellent performance.
1. Start Early
Choose your selection several months in advance to get a jump start. Giving yourself plenty of time will allow you to work all the aspects of your piece in a relaxed manner.
2. Choose An Appropriate Level
The NYSSMA festival ranges from level I all the way up to level VI/All-State. Although, you may want to jump in at one of the higher levels, discuss with your teacher to determine the appropriate level for your age and as well as where you are in your development. Aiming too high could leave you feeling stressed. Be sure to challenge yourself to get the most out of the experience.
3. Practice Regularly
Just as you would prepare for a large exam, regular practice sessions will set you up for success. At Cristina Music Studio, our teachers recommend practicing at least three times a week and increasing your practice sessions as the festival approaches. Check out our blog "Get the Most Out of Your Music Lessons - Practice Tips" to maximize your practice time.
4. Sight Read & Practice Your Scales Daily
Many students struggle with the sight reading component. The best way to improve your sight reading skills to do it every day. Check out our blog "Sight Reading Tips" blog for more specific tips to better your skills. The same applies to scales. Just a few minutes each day running through your scales will make a huge difference in your proficiency on your instrument.
5. Gather All Materials In Advance
NYSSMA requires you to use only original copies of music. Keep in mind the adjudicator will need a copy as well as your accompanist. Be sure to purchase all necessary copies ahead of time. If you are a singer using an accompaniment track, download the recording to your device in the event the facility does not have wifi. If you are playing the recording from a phone, consider investing in a portable speaker to amplify the sound. Pick out your outfit in advance. Just like a job interview or audition, you want to dress professionally.
Tips for the Big Day
6. Take Care of Yourself
Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. If you have an early appointment, consider waking up several hours in advance so you are alert for your performance. Have a proper meal and stay hydrated.
Do not forget to warm-up before your performance. A proper warm-up will help you find flexibility in your lips, muscles, fingers, or vocal chords and gets you ready for playing.
8. Do Not Over-Rehearse
Consider one run through of your piece, but no more. Over-rehearsing will just lead to stress, which could lead to mistakes.
9. Arrive Early
Allow an adequate amount of time to get to the facility, sign-in, find your room, put together your instrument.
10. Take A Deep Breath
Before you enter the room, take several, slow, deep breaths. Deep breathing has been shown to calm the central nervous system.
Good luck! We look forward to getting all the positive feedback from your judges!