WSMA’s mission is to ensure that all students have opportunities which encourage lifelong involvement in music. Wisconsin School Music Association will provide statewide music programming activities, offer leadership and support for school music programs, and advance music as an integral part of the school curriculum and community life.
State Honors Music Project
Started in 1967, this program provides musically talented students with the opportunity to rehearse and perform with the nation’s finest conductors in a professional setting. Selected through a rigorous audition process, students are challenged to perform at their musical best during rehearsals and performances.
The core of every school music program is the concert groups: bands, choirs, and orchestras. The concert festival experience is designed to give these large groups an educational performance opportunity to further develop the skills of the ensemble. Not only are there performance and constructive critique components, but also a listening component to further challenge the musicians critical “ear” and evaluate music from a different perspective than that of performer.
Solo & Ensemble Festivals
The festival program for which WSMA is most well-known, Solo & Ensemble draws in more than 100,000 students each year, representing every county in the state of Wisconsin. Through the Solo & Ensemble experience, students learn the discipline of rehearsal, are challenged to advance their musical skills, perform in front of an audience and adjudicator, and receive feedback on their performance.
State Marching Band Championships
Held in October, the Marching Band Championships offers one of the few truly competitive activities WSMA offers. Bands gather on a Saturday in the Fall to perform and compete in a number of different categories. This popular event concludes with an evening Awards Ceremony recognizing the top performing groups in each class, as well as Caption Awards.
Student Composition Project
Students in grades 5-12 submit original compositions in two divisions separated by age with several different musical categories. The compositions are critiqued by Wisconsin composers and the top winner in each division is awarded a scholarship to study with a professional composer.