Students compete at music festival in early April

Sarah Gonzalez, Contributing Writer

Music students performed at the NYSSMA Solo Festival on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6.

NYSSMA Solo Festival is an event where students perform a solo piece, several scales, and sight read a piece for a judge. Judges then give students a score, and students usually receive their score sheets a few weeks after the event.

Scores vary based on the level students are performing. For levels one to four, scores are out of 28 points. For levels five and higher, scores are out of 100 points.

A level one piece is considered the lowest difficulty for a student while levels five and six are the most difficult.

Band conductor Mr. Petrocelli explained that advice from NYSSMA is usually more helpful because the judges are more skilled at the instrument they’re judging. The new feedback makes students better at their instruments.

Students who perform are scored based on categories such as accuracy, tone, technique, and interpretation. These are then divided into subcategories to identify what students need to improve on based on points lost.

Judges also leave comments on the score sheet. This gives students an idea of what they are good at and what they need to improve on.

Sophomore Katy Szynkowski has been performing at NYSSMA for 5 years. She is a chorus and treble choir student. Szynkowski explained that she continues to do this for the advice the judges give.

“I like to sing, and I like the critiques they give,” she said. “I think it helps me improve.”

Szynkowski sang a level 5 German piece called “Nacht und Träme”. She has been working on the piece for about a month and said the performance went well.

Caroline Kivlehan, a chorus and band student, is performing a piece called “Morgan” for NYSSMA. It is also a level 5 piece.

Kivlehan said she does NYSSMA each year to challenge herself.

“I think it pushes me to go outside my comfort zone,” she said.