Open adjudication - bbc news article

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by spufferoo, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. spufferoo

    spufferoo Member

  2. simonium

    simonium Member

    Well thank heavens our noble adjudicators are immune to this sort of spurious pseudo-science! I believe in the interests of fairness of all competing musicians the box should be soundproofed to remove sound from the equation as well.
  3. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    I read that article and also immediately thought about band contest adjudicators! What the article didn't seem to make clear is the identities of the volunteers who took part - the "value" of the study will be greater (for me at least) if the vast majority of the volunteers already have some experience of judging music competitions.
  4. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    I suppose it depends on what you call music. There is a big blurry grey area between 'music' and 'performance'.

    Brass bands do it their way for historical reasons, most of which are valid today. Fortunately we have open adjudication as well, but I say long live 'the tent' for for Areas/Nationals.

    As for the value of this study, I remember there were a group of scientists that carried out - presumably Government funded - research into how the weather affected children's moods. They came up with the conclusion that sunshine makes children happier...
  5. brassintheed

    brassintheed Member

    Very interesting article which doesn't surprise me to be honest. There is a different spin to be taken from this than 'i told you it was fair to have closed adjudication' though...

    This is in essence saying that the visual part of a musical performance is as important as that being received through the ears. Which is why live performances are still preferred to recorded ones (even when they may be a little rougher round the edges).

    Professional musicians have known the importance of visual performance for years. And yet brass bands are obsessed with removing that from our judging criteria. May be a reason why we struggle to capture the attention of the public in the same way classical, jazz, rock (etc) musicians do?... It's a consideration we shouldn't automatically discount anyway.
  6. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    I agree, perhaps if the way we present ourselves visually did effect results at the big contests we wouldn't all be sat around wearing 30 year-old lion tamer jackets while the conductor reads from the title page of the score in a Buddhist-friendly drone.

    (Sorry, I know there are plenty of bands who don't do this, I just have a chip on my shoulder!)
  7. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    OK it's a rhetorical question, but why do we go on stage with clean shirt, shoes, uniforms etc at closed adjudication competitions?
  8. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    Pride in ourselves and what we do
  9. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Indeed. I've been saying for a number of years now that contesting is slowly killing banding. The reason I give is because the majority of bands I see haven't the faintest idea how to engage with an audience and I believe that closed adjudication has been a big factor in this as contesting is the be all and end all for so many banders.

    Why shouldn't the visual aspect of a performance be considered?

    Of course, the other side is it helps to prove the '4br listen with their eyes' theory...
  10. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Contesting aside, I agree that performance and visual impact is important. However, from my experience brass bands have more than their fair share of members that are performance shy. In fact, I wonder if brass bands attract such people because it seems a safe place for them to play music without needing to step out of that particular comfort zone. Just a thought.
  11. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    You might be right there, it's a persuasive reason as to why bands perform the way they do. Unfortunately this doesn't do much to increase audience figures as the perception is that bands don't entertain/engage and look bored/awful.
  12. DRW

    DRW New Member

    When a prospective new player approaches the band, maybe as well as asking questions to establish their playing ability, we should be asking them "how do you feel when your part requires you to click your fingers or instructs your section to stand?" I've been in bands where these relatively innocuous activities have caused angst beyond belief amongst players.
  13. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    I'm not entirely sure whether your tongue is in your cheek or not, however IMO part of ensuring bands' continued longevity is to carry on appealing to audiences as their tastes change. Without doing so, bands will eventually die off.

    The band I was recently involved with did alot of coreography as part of concerts and it was accepted that it was part of the performance. Any player coming into the band will have probably depped beforehand and would have known about this facet. In fact for many of the players that joined, it was one of the reasons they did.
  14. brassintheed

    brassintheed Member

    The importance of visual performance is, in this case, more about simply conveying confidence, experience and ability in HOW you perform. It's a fairly slippery concept, but musical trends, fashions and progressions in performance and musicality go hand in hand with an audience feeling comfortable that what they're seeing and hearing is good. That it’s worth opening their minds and hearts to.

    Artistic and musical ‘greatness’ is a fickle thing and, as much as we don't like admitting it, we don't instinctively know what good or great is. We follow unconscious signals which include built up prejudices (fast, slow, loud, soft) and accepting respected reviewers and peers opinions that the performer is someone worth listening to. These aren’t always obvious as it’s something we build up over time. And visual acceptance of someone’s performance is much more important than we care to accept.

    By actively seeking to block this aspect we hinder ourselves in our aim to be an engaging and persuasive form of music. We complain that people over look brass bands as a serious musical form despite it’s often technical excellence; this may be one of the reasons why.

    Just my opinion, but one I’ve strongly held for quite some time
  15. DRW

    DRW New Member

    It was largely tongue in cheek, but maybe expectations would be set differently if people joined in the knowledge that they would be expected to 'perform' in these small ways. Over time, the culture would likely change.
    Another thought...I wonder if there is a correlation between those that are reluctant to 'perform' and those that contribute least to the running of the band. I.e. lazy members.
  16. DRW

    DRW New Member

    I'm not convinced brass bands do actively block this aspect. Blind contesting is to avoid cheating (presumably) rather than to avoid visual persuasion and I'd be surprised if bands don't still present themselves in the way that they would for a paying audience; portraying a favourable image in front of rival bands and potential new recruits often means that bands ensure deportment has a focus even if not being judged in the contest.
    In any case, for the majority of bands, contesting is a small part of their activity.
  17. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    But for the majority of bands, this small part is the most important to them.

    The visual aspect of a performance is part of the experience. Experiencing a live performance without being able to see the performers is as silly as eating a meal with your eyes shut or a peg on your nose.

    Has anyone ever studied the results of open/closed adjudication contests to see if 'favoured' bands do better without the screen? Would be interesting if anyone has the time and inclination!
  18. brassintheed

    brassintheed Member

    I think that’s sort of at the core of it. Bands do currently present themselves at a contest in exactly the same way as they do at a concert. Or more importantly, they present themselves at a concert in exactly the same way as they do at a contest…. Walk on, sit down, frown, keep heads down, concentrate and play.

    As contesting is such a controlling factor on how bands are (instruments, style of playing, style of performance etc) what would be the effect of knowing that capturing the audiences attention with how you perform is also part of the equation at a contest? Would that slowly start to progress our stage presence, and ultimately benefit our concert performances?..

    After all, surely contesting is only beneficial if it genuinely pushes bands to perform in the best way to attract and satisfy audiences… otherwise it’s simply a paper exercise in note bashing just for the sake of it… isn’t it?

    Edit: I’m not talking about entertainment contest choreography here (or regimentation). Simply about stage presence itself.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  19. Stracathro

    Stracathro Member

    Am not quite sure how this would work. What if a band come on stage, frown, no audience engagement etc - then play brilliantly with style and musicality - then flounce off looking miserable. Surely serious brass band contests are about the quality of playing on display; not 'stage presence' or any other intangible.

    I do see the point about the disparity between contest and concerts. However, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect bandsmen and women to understand and appreciate the difference.
  20. brassintheed

    brassintheed Member

    Its a very subtle and difficult concept to really get hold of. The best way to see the issue is to look at a professional musician or group performing and you'll see the difference. It isn't about smiling or frowning or any specific thing. Its about owning the performance, presenting the music in a commanding way and vision is essential for that.

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