Adjudication Problems?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by fretty, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. fretty

    fretty Member

    I am just interested in finding out whether people think it is fair to judge an entire section based on exactly one unknown criterion.

    We have had the midlands 4th section farce, where some of the best 4th section bands in the midlands (and in the country for that matter) played amazingly well but were punished on that one unknown factor of volume and that fact that they were "showing off as 3rd section bands coming down".

    Now the same kind of thing has happened again at butlins. Our band played a good performance, as did many other good bands that came nowhere...and it is all based on the one factor of tempo now. We were apparently too fast in one of the 4 movements (even though we were actually under the written tempo) but played everything else very well.

    After playing I heard from many people independent from the band, that we played well and should be placed. Even our remarks are immaculate but just mention that one negative thing (which arguably wasnt even wrong). These are not the remarks of a band coming 7th out of 12.

    Obviously I am not complaining about the bands that did do well, I offer my congratulations to them. It just seems like adjudication, in some cases, is becoming about looking for one thing and one thing only. Fail to achieve this unknown thing and you come nowhere. I'm interested in peoples thoughts on this as our band (and lots of others) has seen at least two cases of this happen this year.
  2. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    Everyone knows that when you enter a contest you leave yourselves open to not being placed where you think you should be...........that's contesting......
  3. fretty

    fretty Member

    But that is the thing, we had no idea where we would come, this was all heard from a mix of different people...some very experienced musicians.

    But im not querying the result, i'm querying the adjudication and whether it is fair to judge based on nothing but one thing. In other words no matter how you play as long as the one thing is done then you do well.
  4. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I am afraid that adjutication is a subjective thing and on the day if you do not play the piece as the adjudicator wants it played then you won't do well. It does not have to be a higher quality it just has to tick the box for that adjudicator. The only thing you can take from contesting is your own performance if you feel that you have done your best, then you must be happy.

    Forget the result its one man's opinion, next time the decision could come to you on exactly the same performance.
  5. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    You say you got marked down for playing too fast even though you were below the marked tempo?
    That suggests it was beyond you at that tempo and the music suffered. This probably lead to lots of things being wrong, but the very experienced musicians in the box were kind enough to only comment upon the disease, rather than all the symptoms. Don't worry about it -my band is too rubbish even to contest in the bottom section. Learn and move on.
  6. fretty

    fretty Member

    Well we got some good comments on the "rushed" movement, it was still played well.

    The movement in question sounds too fast and rushed if played at the tempo it is marked at, but sod's law dictates that if we had slowed it down more, we would have been told off for it. All I can imagine is that the adjudicators realised this too and expected all bands to slow it down, which kind of defeats the object of playing at the correct tempo.

    There is no consistency between different adjudications, although I guess this is what all the hype is about in the brass media.
  7. Rebecca Owen

    Rebecca Owen Member

    Oh dear!! I thought we had put this one to bed.

    The Midlands area venue is a pretty small school hall, where the sound travels up and back. That's what the problem is. I'm sure in your rehearsal room, everything sounded great, but put it into that hall and suddenly the notes lose clarity, and when they are being played at a decent ff, it becomes a mess, which at sometimes can be painful.

    I know a couple of the stewards who were working on the day, and they commented that some bands were overpowering and not doing themselves any favours, and thats the stewards. If they think that, then its obvious that the adjudicators will think that too.

    As I have quoted in previous posts. Some MDs who were familiar with the accoustics of the hall actually told their bands to keep it down. And I do know of one band, who written on their remarks had the comment, "thank you for not over blowing, a bit of respite for my ears".

    Maybe the organisers should look for another venue. Where bands can really let rip and it won't affect the performance. Maybe that would be better for you.

    For any 4th section contest the adjudicators are looking for right notes, right place, right dynamic, right speed, and a nice sound. I can only surmise, as a previous poster put, if you were under tempo, then the adjudicator though that even at that speed it was too fast for the ability of your band. Though you are bound to disagree with this comment.

    Contesting is a whole minefield. If you are continually unhappy with your results and remarks (as you seem to be) - then don't do it.

    Or rather than just complaining about it - send in an appeal to the organisers.
  8. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    Don't worry fella, you are not the first band that has been great and not got a prize. It does seem that there is a lot of this about at the moment and I'm sure the bands that finished above you will realise how great you guys were and ask for a recount. Seriously, if you are in a 4th section band then it is not likely that you are better placed than the adjudicators to know how well you played is it? I don't know you but I'm guessing you are not Wynton Marsalis or anything, and often it is just a case of putting lower section bands in the order of least rubbish, rather than best. You must have been consistently bobbins for a while or your band would be in a higher section.
  9. fretty

    fretty Member

    We were at the right tempo as our conductor took a metronome on stage (and as I said we were a touch slower than marked tempo to account for this clarity). There was hardly anything in the remarks to suggest we struggled at this tempo so I do not understand what the problem was.

    As you say, contests should be judged on many different things on the whole, not just one deciding factor but I will put this matter to rest now, I was just interested in finding out if anyone else agrees with how the standard of adjudication seems to be going.
  10. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    Metronome on stage - the guy must be a genius! I think you have answered your own question to a large extent. It would probably be difficult for the adjudicators to be more clear about your performance without being rude and unkind. Whatever you think of judging standards I think a band in the 4th section conducted by a bloke that has a metronome on his stand can only expect so much. Maybe if the score was smaller your MD could fit a tuning machine on there as well.;)
  11. fretty

    fretty Member

    The metronome wasnt there to guide our conductor, but there to prove to ourselves that we were playing at the correct tempo...we have had so many contests where we have been criticised and told we arent (but were at the correct one) so it was time to sort this out.

    If you wish to question the musical integrity of our conductor then I suggest you visit newstead band and take it up with him yourself.
  12. fretty

    fretty Member

    And here is an instance where we knew for certain we were at the correct tempo (and played it well, as the remarks indicate), yet were still criticised for being "too fast".

    All I can say is that we clearly werent going too fast, unless the metronome is broken.
  13. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Why would you need to prove to yourselves that you were playing at the right tempo? I'm quite intrigued now.
  14. fretty

    fretty Member

    Well I would think the reasons were obvious from my previous two posts but to be honest this is starting to turn nasty (as usual for tmp) so I am not replying.
  15. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    When is the "right" or "correct" tempo wrong? - When the band is not up to playing the music at that speed. It seems to me that adjudicators just can't please everyone. Your bands performance was clearly not one that impressed them, but rather than be blunt and honest it sounds like they have elected to be constructive and polite in the comments. Read into it what you like, but it would seem that either the players or MD (or both) were in your case not up to the task and were placed accordingly. Remember, it's the taking part that counts!
  16. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Ignore Bari Wizard. I am asking a reasonable enough question. Why would your conductor take a metronome on stage to prove that he was taking you at the right tempo? I would suggest that it was to assist himself to pick the correct tempo. A failsafe if you like?
    No nastyness intended at all.
  17. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member


    Please do not get too upset regarding your result. Take heed with what Lawrence Butchart posted above. He hit the nail right on the head.

    All any band can say at the end of a contest is, “we did our best on the day”. Adjudication will remain a topic for debate for a long time to come, and we have all suffered from what we considered to be unfair judging. Then, after a few days of quiet contemplation, we may have to admit to ourselves that perhaps we were not quite as good as we thought we were. I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but; whatever you do, don’t let this one contest result spoil your love affair with banding. Simply enjoy making music.

    I wish you and the band better success in future (and don’t be too hard on yourself).

  18. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    For me, there are two consistencies apparent from reading this thread; the first is that the probability that bands will place themselves higher than the adjudicator places them is very high, and the second consistency is that that adjudication is never consistent.

    for # One, we can not do anything about it as it will always be, but as for # two, we really ought to be able to do something about it.
  19. Pav

    Pav Member

    So there are consistent consistencies, consistent inconsistencies...
  20. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    In fretty's case, it was a matter of criticism of the tempo at which his/her band played a certain section of the test piece. Are we suggesting that every competing band is provided with a pre-recording of the test piece, where the tempo has been set according to the adjudicator's expectations? If so; how does the MD of any competing band prove that he/she religiously maintained that tempo?

    It's a can of worms, and there are only two winners: the successful band and the adjudicator/s.

Share This Page