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FAQ > general FAQ

We have compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions for you here.

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General FAQ
Arrival/Departure FAQ
Scheduling FAQ
Concerts FAQ
Dorm Life FAQ
Musical FAQ
Private Lessons FAQ

General FAQ

What social activities are available during my time at NYSMF?

Activities include (but are not limited to) off-campus trips; movie nights; bowling; movies; running club (known as “Fun Run”); rollerskating; dances; trips to local lakes or parks; etc. Students may also opt to practice during free times. All social and recreational programs are organized and supervised by the dorm supervisors and counselors.

What Health Care services are available?

NYSMF is staffed by RNs, in accordance with the New York State Health Department’s regulations. Daily arrangements are made for students who need to take medication on a regular basis. Students will be sent to A.O. Fox Hospital for severe injuries and/or emergencies.

How do I apply for a scholarship or financial aid?

NYSMF offers a limited number of scholarships and financial aid packages available for eligible students. Read about the various scholarship options on the Scholarships page.

Students and parents are urged to seek financial assistance from local sources such as school music organizations, county/state/national music education organizations, youth orchestras and bands, music clubs, service clubs (i.e. Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.), businesses, local churches and foundations.

Do you have any kind of dress code?

For day-time activities, your regular, everyday clothes generally will be fine. Please, however, avoid anything that could be construed as potentially offensive. Generally, use this old rule of thumb: if you have to ask, don’t bring it.

For performing in concerts, NYSMF students are expected to wear concert attire. This consists of white shirt/blouse, black pants, black socks, black shoes, with an optional black tie or black jacket.

What is the NYSMF Festival Bank? Are there any ATMs?

NYSMF offers all students the opportunity to keep their cash safely in our Festival Bank, rather than somewhere in their room or on their person. This is a free service provided by the Festival in the interests of preventing money from being lost.

You may make a deposit of any amount at any time, and you may withdraw daily by visiting the NYSMF Festival Bank Office during weekday bank hours. At the end of your stay, it is your responsibility to come to the Bank Office or the Main Office to withdraw any remaining money and to close your account.

We recommend appx $50-$75/week for general spending money while you are attending the Festival. This will let you pay for incidentals, including movie nights, pizza nights orsnack and soda machines.

There is an ATM located in the Hunt Union and inside Mills, if you would prefer to pay ATM fees in exchange for the convenience of extended access to your bankroll.

Is it possible to receive college credit for my classes at NYSMF?

Yes, our host, the State University of New York, College at Oneonta, will provide college credit for a modest additional fee of $50 per credit. To earn one or more college credits, please do the following:

  • Bring a copy of your high school or college transcript to NYSMF
  • Pick up and fill out a SUNY Oneonta College Credit Form (available at Registration, the NYSMF Main Office, or in the college music department’s Main Office in the Fine Arts Building).
  • Pay the required $50 per credit fee to SUNY Oneonta (not to NYSMF)
  • Return the completed form and your payment to the NYSMF Main Office, or the SUNY music dept office.

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Arrival and Departure FAQ

How do I get to NYSMF?

If you haven’t already, take a look at our Directions Page, where you’ll find driving directions, public transit instructions, maps, and more.

What should I bring with me?

For your convenience, we have a handy list of everything you should bring with you to NYSMF this summer. It’s available HERE both online and as a PDF download.

When should I arrive and where do I “check in”?

Students should arrive between 9:30 am – 1:00 pm on the first Sunday of their first session. Please follow the signs on campus to check in at our Registration Area. There, you will meet the NYSMF Administration, Faculty, and Staff; take care of any remaining payments; and receive your room key; and schedule your Placement Audition. You will also find counselors waiting and willing to help you get your bags to your room. If you arrive after 1pm, please check in at the NYSMF office (Hays Hall, Room 123). Placement auditions will be held from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm on that same day.

Can I get picked up from Albany Airport, Bus Station, or Train Station?

You may contact any local taxi/limo company in Oneonta to get to and from the local transporation hubs.

A & D Taxi
83 Lower River St.
Oneonta, NY 13820
(607) 433-TAXI (8294)
“Ask for NYSMF rates”


C & C Taxi
462 Southside Drive
Oneonta NY 13820
*ask for our NYSMF rates*

$130 to and from Albany Airport
$140 Rensselaer Train Station
$195 Hancock International Airport

$100 Utica train station


Absolute Taxi & Airport Transportation


How long should parents stay on arrival Sunday?

Once parents have completed registration and settled any remaining account balances, they may leave.

Where can parents stay overnight, if needed?

The Oneonta area has a goodly amount of hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and the like. A current list is conveniently provided by the Oneonta tourism website.

What if I have to arrive early or depart late?

If you need to arrive a day or two early, or leave a day or two late, we can accommodate you for a fee of $100 per day. You may pay this fee on our payments page, and please send us a note with the specific dates as far in advance as possible so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

When does each session officially end?

Each NYSMF session officially ends when the All-NYSMF Choir sings its final note on the final Saturday evening, generally around 9:30 pm. You may leave any time after then, since every student and staff member of NYSMF is required to sing in the All-NYSMF Choir. Students who leave before the conclusion of that Saturday night concert will be automatically disqualified from receiving NYSMF Awards and/or Scholarships.

Do you have a check-out procedure?

You will receive a check-out checklist at least 24 hours before the end of the current session of NYSMF. You may also pick up the checklist anytime before the end of the session from the NYSMF main office.

Is it possible to extend my stay for second session?

Yes! Simply let your parents know your plans, and then let us know in the NYSMF main office anytime before the last Friday of the session. We’ll contact your parents and take care of the rest.

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Scheduling FAQ

What is the schedule my first day at NYSMF?

The regular daily NYSMF schedule officially begins at noon on Monday, the day after you arrive. Here’s how you will be spending your time until then:

9:30 am to 1:00 pm – Arrive at NYSMF. Check in at the Registration Area, schedule your placement audition, move into your dorm room, meet your roommate and students on your floor, get some lunch, etc.

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Placement auditions.

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm – Dinner with your counselors and students on your floor.

7:30 pm – Opening Convocation. Here you will meet our Administration and Staff, and hear an introduction to the rules and regulations of NYSMF, as well as enjoy a selection of performances from our faculty and staff.

9:00 pm – Placement Audition Results posted. Check these to see in what ensembles you have been placed, and in which chair you have been seated.

9:30 PM – Floor Meetings. Meet and greet your counselors and your peers.

When do rehearsals and classes officially begin?

The regular daily NYSMF schedule begins at 10:10 am (block 3) on the first Monday of each session. The classes & ensembles missed on that Monday will be made up on the first Saturday.

What is the regular daily schedule?

That is viewable on this page.

Does the daily schedule ever change?

The majority of your NYSMF days will follow the regular daily schedule. However, with your busy concert schedule, your weekend schedule will vary to accommodate your performances. All schedule changes will be announced ahead of time after rehearsals for the All-NYSMF Choir (held daily at 9:00 am).

Some schedule changes may occur due to other activities being held on the campus of our host, SUNY Oneonta. However, we will always strive to keep any disruptions to a minimum. All schedules are subject to change.

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Concerts FAQ

Do I have to attend all concerts?

All students are required to attend ALL performances. A huge part of the whole NYSMF experience is listening to great concerts, as well as performing in them.

What is the concert dress code?

For audiences, “dress clothes” unless otherwise announced in advance. For performers, white shirt/blouse, black pants or long skirts, black socks and black shoes (optional black tie or black jacket).

Can my parents attend concerts?

Yes! Parents, family, friends, relatives, etc. are invited to attend any and all NYSMF performances.

Are the concerts recorded?

No, we wil not be offering video recordings for sale. You are welcome to make your own recordings as well, but please be sure to turn off all sounds from your own cameras.

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Dorm Life FAQ

Where will I stay while I’m at NYSMF?

NYSMF students live in separate boys and girls dormitories. Students are grouped by age; for example, 17 and 18 year old girls will be on the 4th floor of the girls’ dorm, with 17 year old girls in the east wing and 18 year old girls in the west wing.

Roommates are randomly assigned by age, so for example, a 15 year old boy will have another 15 year old boy as a roommate.

Students will be housed in two-person dorm rooms, with each student having their own desk, bed, dresser, and closet. There will be two or three rooms in a suite, which includes a common area and a bathroom.

What should I bring?

For your convenience, we have a handy list of everything you should bring with you to NYSMF this summer. It’s available HERE both online and as a PDF download.

What are “extra-long” sheets?

You can find “extra-long” twin sheets at most bedding stores. Extra long sheets are available here in town if you forget yours. If you are coming from a long distance away and need a linen set, we are able to provide them to you for a fee. Please ask your counselor if you need a linen set.

How will campers be supervised?

NYSMF maintains a 3 or 4-to-1 ratio of campers to faculty/staff. Counselors will be housed in the dormitories alongside the students, providing 24/7 supervision. Some faculty members may also be housed within the dorms, providing additional supervision. All NYSMF Counselors are 18 years of age and older. Many will have had training in Emergency Care, First Aid, and CPR.

What kind of security is used in the buildings at NYSMF?

All NYSMF students, staff, and faculty will be issued magnetic access keycards, which must be used for entry into any campus building. New York State Troopers patrol SUNY Oneonta 24/7. We are fortunate that they also have an office right on campus, providing speedy response in emergency. The dorm offices will also be staffed during all evening and late night hours, controlling dormitory and building access.

What will my mailing address be for the summer?

Your friends and relatives may mail you letters, postcards, and care packages to the following address:

Your Name
c/o NYSMF (New York Summer Music Festival)
(Your Dormitory Name)
SUNY Oneonta
108 Ravine Parkway
Oneonta, NY 13820

May I request my friend as my roommate?

Yes, but both your parents and your friend’s parents must independently notify us by email at least 48 hours before you both arrive at NYSMF.

May I have appliances in my dorm room?

You may bring small electronic devices including computers, hairdryers, gaming devices, etc. You may also bring a dorm-size refrigerator, window fan, etc. You may NOT bring any kitchen appliances, air conditioners, etc. UNLESS you have a medical condition that requires one of these devices and you have sufficient documentation. If you have any questions, please contact us directly.

I have special dietary needs. Can you accommodate them?

Yes! Please let us know as soon in advance as possible, and we’ll communicate your needs to the SUNY food service people at SODEXO. They are happy to accommodate any special dietary needs, from nut allergies to kosher foods to strict vegans.

I have special daily medical needs. May I take my meds on my own?

Unfortunately not. New York State Health Regulations for overnight summer camps clearly state that no camper may keep any medications, either OTC or prescription, in their rooms. All medications must be given to the NYSMF nurse upon arrival, and may only be dispensed by a qualified health care professional.

Can I have guests stay overnight in my room?

No NYSMF participant may host any overnight guests in their rooms. It is a violation of NYS Dept of Health regulations; may be considered to be trespassing by the college; and may require the involvement of the New York State Police, who are resident on campus.

Is there internet access available?

While there is no free WiFi available, you may purchase an internet access account from NYSMF for $20 per device, which will allow you to connect to the SUNY Oneonta wireless network (“Red Dragon WiFi”) from anywhere on campus. The $20 per device will be good for as long as you stay at NYSMF. Students are welcome to bring their desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

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Musical FAQ

What performance opportunities will I have?

There are numerous solo and ensemble performance opportunities at NYSMF. Students are required to audition in order to perform in solo recitals. Learn more at the bottom of the Ensembles page.

Can I play more than one instrument at NYSMF?

Yes! Although most NYSMF students choose to focus on one primary instrument, many play additional instruments in multiple ensembles. You will need to schedule a Placement Audition for every instrument that you wish to play at NYSMF. Remember to tell all of your faculty auditioners that you are doing multiple instruments; which instruments you are playing; and your personal preferences, for example, you prefer jazz over orchestra, or chamber over voice, etc.

Can I rent an instrument?

A limited number of instruments are available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis for $50.00 per week. Double basses are available for $100 per week. Harps are the hardest of all instruments to locate in the Catskills, but with enough advance notice, we have been able to get quality instruments for a larger fee. Please be sure to tell us well in advance if you will need to rent an instrument.

What are placement auditions?

Placement Auditions are how the NYSMF Faculty and Conductors will learn how best to place and seat you in NYSMF ensembles. They take place the first Sunday afternoon of every session, and only last a few minutes. All students are required to audition for placement in performing organizations, ensembles and chamber music groups.

What should I prepare for my placement audition?

Your placement audition will consist of playing scales, a prepared piece of your choosing (make sure to pick one that demonstrates your ability), and sight-reading. If you are interested in playing in one of the jazz ensembles or classes, you also might prepare a jazz etude or a song to improvise on (optional).

How do I choose which classes to take?

At 8:30 am the day after your arrival (the first Monday morning of each session), everyone will be required to register their personal daily schedule with the NYSMF office. All students will gather in the registration and be given 2 copies of a blank daily schedule sheet; then, along with a Faculty Advisor, you will fill in all the ensembles you have been placed in, and then add all of the other daily classes you would like to take. All students must give that second copy of their Daily Schedule sheet to the NYSMF office, so that we will be able to contact you quickly in case of emergency.

What is the concerto competition?

The Concerto Competition is held during each session of the Festival – generally, auditions will be held the first Tuesday. Students may audition with a movement of a standard concerto. Students must bring their piano accompaniment part with them to the Festival. One of NYSMF’s piano faculty will accompany for you, to ensure that you are sounding your best. The winner of the audition will perform with the Festival’s Chamber Orchestra during the final weekend concert.

Where can I practice?

Students may use practice facilities in the Fine Arts Center in addition to practice rooms provided throughout each of the Festival dormitories. Students may also practice in their own dorm rooms.

When will Visiting Artists hold their master classes?

In general, Visiting Artists will hold their masterclasses on a weekday afternoon, normally between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. However, with the great number of professional musicians coming to NYSMF to give free Masterclasses, the times will vary depending on day of the week, schedule, and even the number of visiting masters are at NYSMF that day. You will be excused from your normal class if it conflicts with the time of the masterclass. If you wish to perform in a Masterclass, you may arrange it through your private lesson instructor. Spaces are limited, so try to take care of this as soon as you are able.

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Private Lessons FAQ

How do I pay for Private Lessons at NYSMF?

Private lessons must be paid for before you can schedule them. All lessons must be paid for at the NYSMF Main Office. Please do not make arrangements with your private lesson instructor or take lessons before you have paid for them. You can pay for private lessons either on the application form when you apply for NYSMF, or at the NYSMF Main Office at any time during your stay. Payments can be done instantly via money order, bank check, PayPal, or credit card. Once you’ve paid for your lessons, you may then schedule them with your instructor.

How are Private Lessons Scheduled?

After you’ve paid for your private lessons, here is how you schedule them: At 8:30 am on the first Monday of each session, students will gather in the Registration Area for one last time. All private lesson instructors will be there, sitting at a table, ready to speak with each student to schedule individual lesson times. Students will line up at the table for their instrument and will work with their instructor around their ensemble and class schedule to find a time that works for student and instructor. It’s fine to schedule private lessons after this time, as long as you pay for them in the Main Office first, and then make arrangements with your instructor.

May I choose my private lesson teacher?

You may request to study with a specific instructor, and we will do our best to make that happen for you. However, please remember that not only can a single teacher schedule only so many lessons per day (in addition to their coaching, conducting, practice, and performance responsibilities), but all of NYSMF’s instructors are highly qualified and very experienced.

How many private lessons should I take?

We recommend at least one hour-long lesson (or two half-hour lessons) per week to maximize your experience at NYSMF. Many students take more so they can take full advantage of working with our excellent faculty.

May I get a private lesson from a visiting artist? How much does that cost?

Some NYSMF Visiting Artists will be able to offer a limited number of private lessons. They tend to be more expensive than those with our faculty, generally around $150-$250 per hour, but the actual cost is decided by the Visiting Artist. Please inquire at the Festival Office for more information.

What if I need to cancel or miss a private lesson?

You must give your instructor as much notice as possible for a cancellation. 24 hours is best. Your instructor will give you the option of rescheduling, but remember, the intense daily schedule of NYSMF can make rescheduling difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. No refunds can be offered for missing a private lesson, barring medical emergencies. Please don’t miss your private lessons unless you have a medical emergency.

Is there a yearbook or student publication created as a momento from the summer?

Yes, each year, the students create what is called the “Cadenza”.  Please see a copy of the 2015 Cadenza here:  The Cadenza 2015

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