This blog post is one from the archives, but it has a ton of useful information in it so I’m reposing it in honor of ISSMA State Solo and Ensemble contest this Saturday! And remember, we’re just a quick drive from North Central High School, in case the successful contest fairies decide to gift you with a new instrument. 🙂

For many students all over the state of Indiana, this Saturday is the culmination of months of hard work, practice, and dedication: ISSMA Solo and Ensemble State Finals! I want to wish my heartiest best wishes to each and every participant; I remember my time (a long time ago!) participating in this event with great fondness. I also remember that it can be confusing and chaotic, so I have gathered some helpful information to help you ease through your day as smoothly as possible.

First and foremost: arrive early. ARRIVE EARLY. Did I mention…okay you get my point. North Central High School is located in a very busy, congested area on the north side of Indianapolis, and the literally thousands of participants coming to the area this Saturday will cause some major traffic headaches. Please be sure to allot at LEAST an extra half hour to your travel schedule to accommodate wait times on 86th Street and parking. Especially for a closely timed event such as this, I always think it’s better to arrive very early: more preparation time and less stress!

Speaking of stress…many performers may have discovered in the past month or so that performing in front of a judge and an audience is a bit nerve-wracking! For many solo and ensemble participants, this is the first time they have played by themselves (or in a small group), and the feeling can be very different from playing in an ensemble! You may even find that your nerves start to get the best of you. I wrote a blog a couple of years ago with some helpful tips for performance anxiety; you can find it here.

Also speaking of stress…what happens if something happens to your instrument the morning of your performance?? Believe it or not, it happens every year, and luckily the fine repair services of Paige’s Music will be on site at North Central for emergency repairs or, as a last resort, a backup instrument for you to use if something goes horribly wrong (limited quantities available). Sales associates from Paige’s will also be on site selling boxes of reeds, other necessary supplies, and fun post-performance gifts.

Lastly, just in case you have found yourself without a copy of your scheduled performance time, map, or other helpful information, this document has all of the information you need. Again, best of luck to all participants, do your best, and have fun!