Virtual NYSSMA 2021 Explained

This year has brought many challenges and changes to almost every part of life, and this Spring's NYSSMA Festival is no exception. In order to help you navigate the 2021 Virtual NYSSMA Festival, we have created a super helpful video, along with 5 easy steps to participate in NYSSMA this year, that will walk students and parents through every step of this year's evaluation.

5 Easy Steps To Participate in NYSSMA:

1. REGISTRATION: Register for NYSSMA by completing the registration form given to students by their SCHOOL music teacher. The form & check must be completed and sent back to their school teacher by the registration due date. Center Stage CANNOT register students for NYSSMA.


2. RECORD: Students must pre-record their NYSSMA solo and scales, and upload it to the website during the student's “upload period.”

  • Solos & scales must be pre-recorded in one continuous take.
  • Student must say the name of the scale they are about to play, before playing it. (Scales for this year have been pre-determined already by NYSSMA.)
  • Levels 1-3: Soloists are required to perform all repeats and da capos.
  • Levels 4-6: Soloists are NOT required to perform all repeats and da capos.


3. UPLOAD PERIOD: There is a one full week for the “Student Upload Period,” which is listed on the student’s registration form given to them by their school. Students must also upload a PDF of the original, NYSSMA approved, music.

  • Music must be uploaded as a PDF. 
  • Multiple movements or pages must be in one PDF document. (There is a free site that can help you merge multiple pages into one PDF: pdf)
  • The maximum file size for videos is 250MB for each video. (Videos larger than this will need to be compressed.)
  • The ONLY video formats that can be submitted are: .MP4 / WebM / iOS
  • (If your video is in another format, you can convert it to .MP4 by using a free site called Zamzar:


4. MUSICFIRST: Students will upload their prerecorded scales & solo, as well as their sheet music to School teachers will provide each student with the platform URL address as well as the username and password, closer to the date of NYSSMA. Students will login to complete each of the 3 – 6 tasks as set forth by NYSSMA.

  • You MUST use the most updated version of the Chrome browser when uploading & using to avoid complications.
  • It is strongly recommended that you use a desktop or laptop computer (Mac or PC) to complete the online evaluation process.


5. PRACTICE: Students should continue to work on their NYSSMA solos and scales with their private teachers up until they record. 

If you have any questions about NYSSMA this year, please leave us a comment below!



  • Hi my name is Tan, I just found out that both my kids’s NYSSMA 2021 piano pieces were sent in with MOV format, I don’t know what to do now.

    • Hello Tan!

      We emailed you our free NYSSMA prep kit a few weeks ago with all the details about video formatting and uploading details. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

  • Hello! I have a question about the solo and scales. Is it two separate recordings for each? So there will be a recording for scales only, then another for the solo only? (Continuous ofcourse)Or is it both scales and then solo back to back? Thank you! I hope to hear back!

    • Hello Maddy! For the videos, it will be one video for your solo (all movements included in the same video), and a separate video for scales. When you upload the videos to, there will a task for scales, in which you will upload the scale video. And there will be a task for solo, in which you will upload the solo video.

      For the scale video, just make sure that you are playing all 3 required scales in one continuous video. Make sure to announce the name of the scale before playing it.

      Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions!

      Good luck on NYSSMA!!!

  • I have trouble uploading the solo mp4 file. i had another file for scales, recorded the same way, and it has no problem being uploaded. but with this solo file, it kept telling me error and would not allow me to upload. i tried to upload the scale file in this solo task, it allows me. very weird, please help.

    • Hello!

      It is possible that the file you are trying to upload is too large. They only accept 250 mb. If it exceeds 250mb, no problem! Just compress the file and try again. Let us know if that works!

      Good luck!

    • Hi Sam!

      No need to memorize the music for All State. If you are a vocalist however, memorizing your music is encouraged, but not necessary.

      Good luck!

  • Hello!

    Thank you so much for posting this! I just had one question: as an All State musician, would I need to take all repeats, or does the levels 4-6 requirement apply to me as well?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sebastian!

      Our pleasure! We hope that the video and information has helped you!

      According to the NYSSMA site, the requirements for levels 4-6 say that all repeats & da capos are NOT required. It does not specify anywhere in their documents regarding repeats for All State, so I would follow the guidelines for levels 4-6. If you are used to playing the repeats, you certainly can, it is just not required.

      Good luck!!

  • My Son tried to upload his videos but was unsuccessful, the upload is getting stuck and the progress bar stops moving. The school flyer said the deadline for uploads is May 7 and the NYSSMA website says the deadline is May 9

    • Hello!

      Please make sure that the videos are the correct format. Music first only accepts .MP4, WebM and/or iOS. Also, The maximum file size for videos is 250MB for each video. Videos larger than this will need to be compressed, as they will not be accepted by the platform.

      I am not too sure about your specific deadline, since every district is different. Hope this helps! Good Luck!!

    • Hi Vicky! You will be able to see your scores on the music first website (the same site that you uploaded the NYSSMA tasks to). You can login to music first using the same credentials (username & password) that you used to submit your tasks. Once the scores are available to view, you will be able to click on them from there!

      Good luck! Let us know if you have any other questions!

    • Hi Mary!

      I’d be happy to help. What specific NYSSMA information are you looking for?

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