How often have we collectively heard adjudicators question why a band picked a particular piece to play, because it was clearly tooo hard? And likewise, the opposite. How often have we heard that Band A missed out on the prize because band B played a harder test-piece just as well? The same issues seem to raise themselves in the post mortem of every own-choice contest I've ever played at or attended. "Oh we'd have won if we'd played (insert piece) .... How can they win on that piece? It's far too easy.... Well they played a harder piece so they won, but there was more music in ours...." and so on and so forth. Watching a highligts programme from the olympics a while back set me thinking. In disciplines where there is an element of choice, such as gymnastics, diving etc, each move in the code is given a difficulty tarrif, which is totalled up, and then the judges scores are multiplied by that number, before some other maths is done to get a final result. The upshot being, it pays to do a tough routine. However someone who goes for a little less difficulty but produces a flawless performance still has a chance of a medal. Surely this could be something introduced for band test pieces? Each test-piece could be given a tarrif by an independant panel suggesting a multiplier, in a similar way that test-pieces are allocated to sections for regional championships. Then if Band A play test piece X with a tarrif of 1.3 and achieve 186 pts from the adjudicator, they receive 241.8pts overall. Band B play test piece Y with a tarrif of 1.4, but don't do so well at it, getting only 183 pts. however opting for extra difficulty has stood them in good stead as they receive 256.2 Band C opt for an easier test piece, Z at a tarriff of 1.2, and play it very well, receiving 194 points - but as they've been heavily beaten on difficulty by the other two, 232.8pts is their final score. OK, this is all back-of-an-envelope maths, and the actual mathematical system would need proper development and testing, (The differences between the multipliers would need to be smaller for a start!!) but the theory could be similar. Advantages - adjudicators get to assess a band's performance on merit, use objective criteria for awarding points, and it doesn't cause much of an issue if they award the same points to two bands as the tarriff will sort it out. Plus every band is assessed on their performance alone, rather than how it compared to everyone else's on the day. Does that sound a reasonable proposition?