ISSMA – What is it?

Music event allows students to compete locally, possibly advance to state

ISSMA - What is it?

Carter Nevil, Reporter

ISSMA (Indiana State School Musical Association) hosts many musical events open to band, orchestra, and choir students. Entrants have a choice to perform in three different groups of varying difficulty. The competition starts at district level, and advances to state, where gold recipients in the most rigorous group perform again in front of even more judges. These judges score the solos & ensembles based on a few different categories. 

Senior Kaleb Adams has been involved with orchestra solo and ensemble since middle school. 

“Throughout the years I’ve had a pretty good experience with ISSMA,” Adams said.

The competition at district is not very similar to the atmosphere at state. 

“District is a tense environment because everyone is hoping to make it to state,” Adams said. “Then you get to state and you know everyone there knows their medal has been tested. They’re there to do their best, so it is a very serious environment.”

ISSMA has many added benefits, a large one being the feedback from experienced critics.

“My favorite part about going to state is mostly the feedback you get from professionals and they provide comments you could improve on your performance,” Adams said.

Junior Lekha Reddy continues to participate in ISSMA and has a very similar view on her experiences.

“My favorite part of doing ISSMA is getting the comments from a judge,” Reddy said. “After working with maybe one or two people on a song, it’s nice to hear someone else’s feedback, because they bring a fresh new perspective and new ideas.” 

ISSMA being competitive is very encouraging for some to do their best.

“The environment of ISSMA is very supportive,” Reddy said. “Because the competition is for your own improvement, every person, including your judge, is rooting for you to perform well.” 

This journey for students proves to be positive for everyone involved.

“The main thing I take away from ISSMA is that it’s important to consider learning your song in multiple ways,” Reddy said. “You may have learned it one way, but your interpretation of the piece in a new way shows a higher level of skill and ability.”

Reddy still has one more year ahead of her, which she plans to do district one for a more involved experience.

“I love hearing other people’s opinions on how to improve a song,” said Reddy. “especially in such a stress free environment. The judges truly want you to do well, and it’s so much fun. I’ve done ISSMA for 5 years now and received gold at both district and state every year, which has been an incredibly special thing to me. I love the experience of ISSMA as a whole, and that’s what keeps me coming back.”