Box or no box......

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by sparkling_quavers, Dec 4, 2002.


Should this be the end of the box?

  1. Yes, all contests should use open adjudication

  2. No, we should keep the box

  1. Wonky_Baton

    Wonky_Baton Active Member

    I believe there are 35 bands in some sections. Therefore it is obvious a human adjudicator cannot go that long without taking a leak. When there is a box he can have a leak into a bucket or chemical toilet, depending on the section/quality of contest and then blow his whistle (metrophorically speaking).

    However take the box away and there is going to be a problem of protecting his modesty. There is the option of having a catheter fitted but then this would need to be removed prior to the results as the adjudicator could be accused of taking the pee. :lol:
  2. Di B

    Di B Member

    Why can we not keep the adjudicators in the boxes on a permanent basis? It would save them the worry of ending up in intensive care courtesy of the band they placed last! They get sarnies.... cups of tea.... and the catheter idea is spot on! They could negotiate for a duvet but depending on the finances of that particular contest they may have to forefeit this...... :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Di xx
    (Who hopes everyone who reads this has a similar warped sense of humour!!!)
  3. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    You mean ye're not serious?
  4. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    Here's another "outside the box" idea. Why have live adjudication at all? You simply record the contest performance, ship the annonymous recordings to the adjudicators and they'll mail in the results. Now wouldn't that all be fun?

    The subject is one that is encountered in all judged events; Does the identity of the performer affect (even non-intentially) the decision of the judge? Can you imagine Olympic figure skating being judged from tapes where the face of the skater is obscured by a big blue dot? I think we need to accept that anyone who's ethical will try to judge without predjudice. There cannot possibly be a perfect system, the downfalls with both approaches exist and we need to accept that any (even unintentional) unfairness is part of the game and there's always the next contest. At least you Brits have more opportunities (I think, pardon my ignorance if I assume too much). For us in the states, it's pretty much a "wait until next year" deal.
  5. Lannerman

    Lannerman New Member

    Box or no box, that is the question

    Two Judges. One Box.
    One in. One out.
    Collate and average results (as at Masters).
    Announce Placings.

    Job done, everyone happy.

    Or is that asking too much?
  6. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    Definately closed adjudication!

    I always think there is too much potential for a lot of bias if there is open adjudication.
    I could give one example where it possibly is biased (according to friends though!) but I don't exactly want to start a war on here so I'll keep schtum!

    And I would much prefer if there was 2 adjudicators for the major contests (regionals especially) so there are 2 people's interpretation of the piece merged together determining the final mark.

    My 2 penneth worth anyway
  7. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Re: Swopping Parts!

    I agree that parts should be played as the composer intended, however sometimes that is a luxury which bands cannot afford. In the lower sections and most certainly around London (where even the championship bands are struggling), finding players (of any calibre) is becoming extremely difficult, it is becoming a necessary evil to shift uncovered parts onto another instrument and to make the best with what you have. This is by far better than not competing at all.
  8. Brian

    Brian Member

    Re: Swopping Parts!

    Then if you want to contest, enter with a smaller band..I've won prizes with bands of 19 players....and parts not played,what was played however was good in the opinion of the adjudicator, but what we didn't do was alter parts..What ever the reason for altering the printed score or parts it remains cheating, and you should therefore be penalized. If all contest organisers adhered to this we would get back to contesting under fair conditions for all bands.if this is not acceptable, don't contest..I know many very good bands who do not contest, yet still remain excellent bands.
  9. Brian

    Brian Member

    Box or no box

    What about bands who complain about relegation from one section to another....I can't remember hearing of a band complaining about being promoted....A friend of mine on an Area Committee, had great idea.."Put all bands in the Championship Section, that will solve the problem. Only three prizes for the contest, so cheaper to run, big entry guaranteed,a long day tho ! and a difficult task for the adjudicator,Again, bands complain if there are too many bands, The Judge cannot possibly concentrate for that long ! And how would you choose a test piece to cater for all competing bands,But there would still be bands take legal action against Area/Regional Committees, as in the UK this seems to becoming the norm, as I read, and hear of every year..I think I got out just in time!
  10. Di B

    Di B Member

    I think the problem a lot of bands have is not the fact they are being relegated but the fact that one man is still adjudicating the most important contest of the year! Oh, and the problem that it is all based on one contest a year (surely 2 adjudicators and more contests taken into consideration would stop it being such a lottery for all bands not in the top or bottom three?) Addionally, we need *constructive and useful* remarks. Some do give them, others give a pile of absolute tripe (ie 'unbalanced' ummmm... what instruments/where exactly???)

    Additionally, I *have* heard bands complain about going up a section before. The time that springs to memory was the introduction of the 1st section. Some 3rd Section bands were promoted to 1st section, and a lot of them did not do well and lost players to lower section bands!!!! There were a few who did float though, which is great news. Never did understand what the officials were doing with that (though I was probably too young to care!)

    Phew! Got a bit of a rant out there! Hope I didn't offend too much! :)
  11. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Bands that complain about relegation / promotion (yes I did hear once of a band which complained about promotion, very rare I agree) should just learn to accept it. On a similar note I don't agree with this idea of bands being promoted after apealing. One particualar band I know of have been promoted twice now after complaining. If my band goes down we go down. I have had experience of this since my previous band were demoted from the first section back to second after only 1 contest and a result which we (and others) felt was unjustified. However we just put up with it, that was the result whether we agreed with it or not. But then conversely the band I currently played with was promoted after it's first year in the third section so it goes both ways.

    It does seem to get blown out of proportion by the banding press, but then given how out of touch the majority of the banding press is with regard to lower sections this does not suprise me.

    Putting all bands in the same section will only serve to reduce the number of bands competing. Contesting (as you know) takes a huge amount of time effort and money and if all that comes to nothing bands will not do it and you'll end up with just championship section bands, which would rapidly decline since their source of players (the "lower" sections) will become extinct. Contesting helps bands to set a standard and work to that standard, without any yardstick to measure themselves by it is very difficult to improve, concerts are all very good (and yes I enjoy them immensly) but they don't provide the same amount of work ethic that contests do (they should I know, bands should work just as hard on concert performances as they do on contesting).
  12. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Certainly the promotion/relegation issue seems to argue in favour of keeping the box, since I wouldn't want the adjudicator to be dealing with those things - 'if band A comes seventh or below they'll go down' etc. etc.

    One thing that the box does ensure is that bands are judged on how they sound, and nothing else.

    I'm always interested to hear arguments that seem to imply that '2 adjudicators are twice as correct as 1'. Some of the least comprehensible results I've heard have been managed by multiple adjudicators, whereas one man's judgement is very clear. There's always the concern that with multiple adjudicators there will be some sort of messy compromise which results in (what the majority regard as) the best performance coming second or third. The recent Masters results confirm this, but at least they are transparent and accountable, unlike at the National Finals where the two guys magically agree the same mark and are always in complete agreement all day...

  13. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    I like Alan Morrison's idea of some sort of guidelines given to conductors beforehand of what the adjudicators are looking for.

    That way at least a band knows where they will pick up or lose points.

    The only worry about this is loss of interpretation - but especially in lower sections this comes second to getting it right.

    Just my two pennies worth - adjudication should always be from a box. Conductors will always try tricks to help play the piece - it's part of the art of conducting a test piece.
  14. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I've spoken to Alan about this since I'm also very much in favour of adjudicators supplying us with the criteria by which they assess our performances. I'm not sure that he means guidelines specific to each piece (which would certainly adversely affect the musicality of our performing) but something more general: e.g. do they reward good tuning or penalise split notes? how important is interpretation? does a band that makes mistakes at the correct tempo beat a band that plays slower but more accurately?

  15. Brian

    Brian Member

    Box or no box

    I have been a member of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors for many years,as are the vast majority of the top adjudicators. In every area of the NABBC, they run seminars on the Area Test Pieces, these are open to all,whether members or not. They are usually fronted by a top band from that area, and a top conductor/ adjudicator.At most of them you will find the adjudicators on the contest circuit, who join in with the disscussions on the various pieces.Most of them will tell you " Play the right notes,in the correct rhythm and in tune, and certainly in Section 2 and below you are well on the way to winning a place in the top three. Very often these are the things that let bands down, and not the interpretation. Get the basics right first..
  16. Andy Duncan

    Andy Duncan New Member

    Hi all,

    I seem to be swimming against the tide of opinion here, but I think the time has come for open adjudication.

    It would attract more (and hopefully some very good) people to the absolutely crucial task of adjudication - Not everyone is willing to spend eight hours stuck in an old plywood cage with just a whistle and a bucket of sand for company!

    It would also send a signal to the broader musical world that the brass band movement now trusts those who it chooses to act as judges to judge fairly without the need for a blindfold. Everybody knows that even inside a box the adjudicator knows from the buzz in the hall when a 'name' band is about to play. Open adjudication simply accepts this reality.

    How often have you heard someone say something like this?
    "I listened to every one of the top six bands today and I would never ever have placed them in that order!"
    But, how often does the same person then add.
    "Mind you, having said that I could see the bands, so I suppose I can't really comment!"

    Look at other musical competitions. Wind band contests, countless choral competitions, Young Musician of the Year - even Pop Stars!! None of these choose to put their adjudicators inside a box.

    One theory behind the idea of ‘the box’ is that a non-visual environment leads to more accurate decision making......Is this true? Has there ever been a bad result made by an adjudicator in a box?

    However, the most worrying reason for using 'the box' is trust. We just can't trust certain adjudicators not to favour certain bands. As long as the present deep seated mistrust of adjudicators is prevalent there is no hope for open adjudication. So, the familiar tatty old plywood cream boxes will probably remain part of brass band contesting life for a while to come yet. Which is a pity.

    Lastly, along with open adjudication should come the practice of having three independent adjudicators for the bigger contests. This is because judging a musical performance is both personal and technical. Three separate independent open adjudicators will even out the unavoidable individual musical bias of a single adjudicator.

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