The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) is the state professional organization for music educators. On the local level, there is NMEA (Nassau Music Educators Association) and at the national level, MENC (Music Educators National conference.) One of the major events sponsored by NYSSMA is the Solo Ensemble Evaluation Festival held each spring.
The festival provides the opportunity for student musicians to perform a musical selection for a professional adjudicator. (The adjudicator will be a music educator from outside the school district.) Using a rating system based on several musical categories, (i.e. tone, intonation, technique, accuracy, interpretation, scales, and sight-reading) each student receives a summative rating as well as verbal and written constructive criticism. In addition, the rating is based on the level of difficulty of each selection. Many of the most successful students participating in NYSSMA do study with a private teacher.