Adjudicators - can we trust them?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by JonP, May 12, 2006.

  1. JonP

    JonP Member

    It has been suggested to me, that the way adjudicating is funded in band contesting, it is very diffucult to attract new top class musicians to Adjudicate our contests, that may not have done it already in the past, or indeed, do it very regularly.

    Would anyone else like to see some top class musicians, be it former band players, orchestral brass players, orchestral conductors or even a concert pianist, that would have no interest in satisfyinhg the banding public, judge some more of our contests??

    I think it would be great to have for example Sir Colin Davies Judge the Open. I would not imagine he would care a jot for the clapometer, He is above it, and i think that would be aswome for our movement.

    Sinically, (and typical of myself im afraid), and i refer to noone in particular, i am suspicious that there are adjudicators in the Uk today that may want the next adjudicating engagement more than is perhaps healthy, making it very diffucult for them to risk giving an unpopular result, and so remain completely imparcial to popular opinion or expectation for cirtain bands to be "in the frame".

    However these are the guys willing to do the job that i think none of us would envy, and we must salute them, but shouldnt we be able to attract whomever we may choose to Judge the finest band competitions in the world?
    Last edited: May 12, 2006
  2. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member


    would they come for the money on offer?
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Would you want a world class bagpipe or accordian adjudicator judging the British Open, for instance?
  4. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If you could get musicians from outside the banding world, you could do away with the box - they would have no preconceptions about any of the bands - everyone could compete on a level playing field without having to hide the adjudicator away.

    This might be a way of stopping the practice of test piece rewriting, as is being discussed elsewhere on tMP, the adjudicator could see who was playing what - and what the conductor was beating.
  5. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    May also gain a little more recognition from the wider world of music. I am sure there would still be conspiracy theories with open adjudication no matter who was 'in the box' as so many top flight banders are also part of the orchestral world too or at least known as solosits.

    Another great thread Mr Pippen
  6. hi ,first post here, on the subject of adj's, Derek Broadbent has adjudicated at the accordian nationals in Scarborough. If your experience is good it shouldn't matter, One man's rubbish is another 's art, something like that !Whats the saying , if you can't play it ,conduct it, can't conduct , adjudicate it , can't adjudicate it, RUN THE CONTEST!!! Having said that all we want is a fair result .I have no answers.
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Some interesting points on the subject of adjudication: there seem to be two schools of thought at the moment, one saying that we should restrict adjudication to those who have played/conducted/arranged to a certain standard within the brass band movement, and the other calling for a broadening out of the approach to encompass experienced musicians from other fields.

    I would tend to side with the latter option, which of course is not a new idea, with many notable conductors and musicians having officiated at major contests in the past. If we are to go down that route, which would avoid some of the allegations that banding is too insular and introspective for its own good, we should also be prepared to find some unexpected results. The particular aspects which appeal to fellow bandsman may not be seen in quite the same light by those who may be looking for aspects of musical interpretation over and above the sort of technical skill that is apparent to fellow brass players.

    This has been seen both in some of the adjudication at the Europeans - where it has seemed more confusing due to the lack of notes on the performances - and also in the Masters, when they had the adjudicators sitting separately, and where the verdict of the judge with an orchestral background was quite often at variance with the other two.

    I should certainly like to see composers and performers from other spheres of music involved in the process, maybe alongside an "established" brass band name and a younger up-coming candidate. Ideally, the panel should be wider, as with competitions such as the BBC Youg Musician or the Cardiff Singer of the Year, but I am sure that the costs involved would be prohibitive. As I've said before, I would also go for Open adjudication, and would also let the players warm up on stage as well - why not use the time while the percussion are setting up so that players can then feel comfortable when the baton coes down?
  8. IckleSop

    IckleSop Active Member

    The number of complaints about the adjudication in a contest will never go away.

    It doesnt matter who is doing the adjudication or which contest for that matter no one will ever be happy with whos in the box.

    Well of course if you've won or come in the top 3
    Last edited: May 13, 2006
  9. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    I would agree Peter. The bands whose bandroom is only a few minutes from the contest venue currently has a slight advantage over those who may have warmed up/rehe***** two or three hours earlier. Al that is needed is a couple of minutes blowing through the instruments.
  10. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I agree with what icklesop said. I'm afraid that whoever is placed in, or out of a box, will have some question about the results, even if they are Sir Simon Rattle, Colin Davis or Chris Adey. It's more or less like everything else in brass bands, if they don't live within the brass band bubble world then they obviously know nothing about brass band music or playing. The top bands will always want the established adjudicators because if they are in the box at the same contests, year in and year out, then they will become familiar with the sound of certain players, surely a sign post for certain bands. This is where the element of trust comes in. We have to rely on them to make an unbiased decision, yet how is that possible if you recognise which band is playing by the performance of one of the soloists, consciously or unconsciously??

    Believe this or not, check the adjudicatos that were used in the early mid 20th century and you will see a mixture of people, A Salvation Army bandmaster (today could be Stephen Cobb or some one of that stature (though not sure what their perspective of contesting is)), a bandmaster from the army (one of the guys from the guards, marines etc) and a former conductor or in developing and performing new music put the adjudicatorin the box? Why do we not have adjudicators from other countries at our contests? All of the above will have different perspectives on what a musical performance should entail.
    I think there is a common misconception with a few people in banding that competitions are unique in their intensity to brass bands, sadly this is not true. Competitions exist in western culture in Choirs, Barbershop, various folk traditions, Eisteddfodau in Wales are far more intense (and arguably have more local community interest than any other current competition bar the Whit Friday contests), Eisteddfod-esque competitions occur in many African traditions (again more important to local communties, and in these locals judge locals, and they don't have many boos when results are announced!). I'm not suggesting that we invite the village chief to appear in the box (which I am sure he would be curious about) but there are people who judge in the wind band tradition that go beyond those who currently cross over between the two genres (brass and wind).

    Another interest I have is, Does an adjudicator need a diploma to be qualified through a certificate to become a brass band adjudicator (thinking of the Salford course)? If so would you see Simon Rattle being told you have to have a brass band adjudication certificate to analyse music performance! I think I have asked this before, not sure, but if I have, I apologise.

    If talking about tradition, it seems people have selected memories on what happened in the past, strange that!
  11. what do people think of Alan Morrisons' initiative? Using criteria as in grade exams should give a better feedback to the bands. The comments we have had ,have been so vague, complimentery, then a poor position. thats whats so infuriating.
  12. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    I've never understood why this can't be done, even within the "four/five minute rule". Orchestras warm-up/retune before every piece at times and no-one complains about that. Would also give the band a quick idea of the acoustic, rather than going on cold and wondering why you can't hear anyone else..........
  13. Rebolina

    Rebolina New Member

    Wild suggestion I know, but it may also be interesting if somebody who is not a musican but has an appreciation for music adudicates. This would concentrate mainly on the musical aspects of performance, who was the best band to listen to. Sometime the technical aspects get in the way of the true musicallity?? What do you think?
  14. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Slight contradiction there? ;)

    Banders complain of results enough as things are now - and that's with banders and musicians in the box - sticking a non-musician in there just gives more ammunition, and all hell would break loose imo!
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Regarding the suggestion of non-musician adjudicators, courtesy of Sir Thomas Beecham:
  16. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Surely the judges should be judging on what they hear ONLY and not taking into account what they see or basing any results on pre-conceived ideas about a group. All of us are effected by visual aspects of a performance, whether we think we are or not. Whether that be the group themselves (does seeing a 'name' band heighten the expectation?), the conductor, individual players, audience response around us, seating arrangement etc etc etc, it still has some degree of impact on how we judge or receive performance. This is why that when judging a competition based on assessing the musical qualities of a performance, I would go for closed judging. Obviously on entertainment competitions and situations where you are judging the overall presentation and visual impact, then open is the only way to do it.

    Not so much a trust thing for me, more of providing an environment where judges are judging on what they hear only: isn't that what we are after?
  17. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Well said. Totally agree with this.
  18. persins

    persins Member

    A number of interesting points have been made so far! Good thread.
    With regards to open adjudication, I'm not sure it makes a great deal of difference. At the moment, it is possible to distinguish (albeit not always correctly!) when parts have been widely re-written. Adjudicators are also able to tell when certain bands are playing through their knowledge of particular individuals' talents and sounds.
    I have heard of occasions where adjudicators have come up to conductors and said comments such as "I knew you guys were the best band there but I couldn't give it to you because, by your standards, you had an off day!" That was with closed adjudication!!!

    I also agree that there is merit in the suggestion that bands should be able to warm up on stage while the percussion is being set up. Mind you, we'd get a kicking from our shed building dept if they couldn't hear to tune the timps up properly!

    I believe that we should be encouraging wider varieties of adjudicators into the contests as it will hopefully remove the tendancies to play to the preferences of the adjudicator rather than the will of the composer. This process has begun with the stance of some regions by getting two adjudicators into the box for their regional championships. I think it is useful to pair up the adjudicators so that there is an experienced adjudicator with perhaps a less experienced one. Not so much to influence the decisions but to give advice on the actual process for adjudicating. It would be too restrictive to introduce an official certification process for adjudicators imo as it would immediately reduce the availability of those involved. As long as they are respected by the bands competing then that is good enough for me.
  19. JonP

    JonP Member

    Why not? It would be a fair contest as we all would have the same dissadvantage, and the Judge would not have any BB polotics or even insite, but any pro musician will have opinioms om what is good and what is not. So Why Not??
  20. JonP

    JonP Member

    I suppose we would have to give this some thought. The rewriting would cirtainly hae to be addressed as it could be spotted. Im not sure though if not having a box would make it any more level a playing field though?

    Why would we want to do away with closed adjudication, even if the judges are not banders?

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