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YAC S&E FAQ | Print |


Youth Arts Coalition (YAC) Solo & Ensemble (S&E)


What is S&E?

S&E is a non-competitive festival where music students can sing or play band/orchestra instruments as a solo or with a group of 2 or more students in front of a judge who provides valuable feedback for improving and developing skills.  Students do not compete with one another for a “place” (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) but against a standard of musical excellence for a rating.  YAC S&E is open to home schooled students in 6th-12th grades (6th-8th grades for a Clinic-only experience, and 9th-12th grades for Clinic or Honors tracks).  There is also a separate HSMA S&E clinic-only experience.


Clinic track—On this track, students perform only a prepared piece for a judge.  The judge gives feedback for improvement on technique and performance skills.  Students receive a rating based on a standard of musical excellence.  On this track, students are eligible for consideration for the YAC Honors Recital and the HSMA Honors Recital.


Honors track—On this track, students perform a prepared piece and skill-appropriate sight reading.  Instrumentalists also play memorized scales.   The judge gives feedback for improvement on technique and performance skills.  Students receive a rating based on a standard of musical excellence.  This track is for students in grades 9 and up.


Why participate in S&E?

S&E is designed to help students improve their musical skills and develop confidence and independence that will translate to better performance in both large and small ensemble settings.  In addition to gaining valuable feedback and performance experience, students also make connections with one another and learn as they watch each other perform.


How can I prepare for S&E?

Practice, practice, practice, and start early!  HSMA students who participate in S&E are also required to attend a preparation session.  This is a time when students play their selected piece(s) for an HSMA-approved conductor, and the conductor makes suggestions to prepare the student to be critiqued by a judge who is musical expert.  Practicing early and attending S&E prep are valuable steps a student can take to get the most out of the S&E experience.


What about younger students?

HSMA also offers S&E for students right from the beginning level.  We call it HSMA S&E and it's usually in May (check the HSMA calendar for this year's date).  At this festival, students will still play for a judge and get feedback, but there are no ratings, no scales and no sight reading.  This festival is a good "first step" toward YAC S&E.


HSMA Honors Recital

In order to be considered for participation in the HSMA Honors Recital, students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Achieve a rating of one (I) in the Clinic or Honors Track at the YAC S&E Festival (all ensembles are Clinic Track)
  • Meet all practice minutes for the year


Once these requirements are met, the program directors will determine which events will be invited to perform in the 15 slots for the recital.  Selected individuals and ensemble leaders will be contacted by one of the program directors shortly after the S&E Festival.





Q: What is an “event”?

A: An event is a performance (ex. if a student plays one solo and participates in one ensemble, he will be playing two events).


Q: Who can participate in the YAC S&E?

A: Any home schooled student in grades 6-12 can participate, even if they are not members of HSMA.  At this time, only HSMA members are allowed to participate in Elementary S&E.


Q: Can high school and middle school students play together in an ensemble?

A: Yes.  Any students in grades 6-12 can play in an ensemble together.


Q: How do I sign up?

A: An email will be sent to all participating groups with a sign up sheet and instructions.


Q: Is there a cost for participation?

A: Yes.  Please see the official YAC S&E rules for the cost - click here.


Q: When is the YAC S&E Festival?

A: Check the HSMA calendar!


Q: What piece should I play for S&E?

A: Ask your private teacher or conductor for suggestions that will compliment your skill level.


Q: Can I invite my family?

A: Yes!  In fact, HSMA is famous for its “posse”, a supportive group of parents, alums, conductors, board members, and others who try to make it to as many performances as possible!  You are encouraged to invite friends, family, private teachers, and anyone else who will be a source of support and encouragement.