Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Jean Yoo, Jericho

Playing a musical instrument is a great experience for many students. An even better experience is playing a solo for NYSSMA.

NYSSMA stands for New York State School Music Association. For auditions, you go to the school where you have been assigned and go into a classroom with a piano or whatever instrument you are using. Then you play or sing for a judge and you receive a grade.

This year is my second year doing a solo for NYSSMA on piano and I have lots of fun with it. I was really nervous when I first walked into the room, but I had lots of tips to help me stay calm. Here are some of those tips:

  • Don’t be nervous. I know this may sound weird, but when you’re nervous you don’t do as well because you are thinking about how nervous you are instead of being focused on your music.
  • Talk to the judges. They will get to know you and will be able to calm you if you are stressed out. Also they can be kind of funny.
  • Practice your song right before you leave the house so it is fresh in your mind when you get to the place.
  • If you hear other kids practicing, don’t be alarmed if they are really, really good. They are probably in a higher level than you and have been playing for longer. You are great, too!
  • If you mess up during your song, don’t feel bad. You are allowed to ask to restart!

Good luck at your NYSSMA event, and remember to do your best and never give up. You can be amazing!

Melinda Moran’s fourth- and fifth-grade Stretch students, Cherry Avenue Elementary School, West Sayville

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