Own Choice Tests - who would win ?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave1, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Dave1

    Dave1 Member

    In an open contest of own choice test piece selection, a championship band plays - for example - Little Suite for Brass. They play it perfect but it is well known as a low section test piece.
    Other bands of say 2nd and 1st section go in with more difficult test pieces - Purcell Variations, Resurgam, Trittico etc, etc. and play quite well.

    Who takes the top spot. I often wondered what the answer would be on this.
  2. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    A very good debate, dave!

    I would say that the 1st or 2nd section one should get top prize! Perhaps that seem too much like common sense for adjudicators! :wink:
  3. tam-tam

    tam-tam Member

    I know you only gave examples, but having played all the First Section pieces recently, to go into more I would suggest that Trittico is much more technically difficult than Resurgam and Purcell.....dragging ALL the music and effect out of both of these is also very tricky though. I would say a reasonable performance of Trittico would win but a reasonable performance of the other two may leave an adjudicator thinking about the lower section piece in the back of his mind. It is a difficult topic, one I am sure many adjudicators have had a few problems over in the past........and I am sure they will continue to in the future too.
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    The worst example of this I've seen was at a local contest where a band playing their own section's area test piece (pretty well too) was beaten by a band who played a piece of music that couldn't really be defined as a "test piece" in the first place (it was only 5-6 minutes/1 page long for starters! ) and would have been graded 1 or 2 sections lower. If they'd been note perfect or had a superior sound and style, then fair enough - but they didn't.... where's the justice in that?!

    I'd like to think most adjudicators had enough nouse to give "weightings" to more and less difficult pieces to ensure the results reflect the relative standards bands are attempting and/or acheiving. I always was a bit of an idealist though! Failing that, there's 2 possibilities:
    1. the association/contest organisers grade test pieces and you can't play anything graded lower than the section you're in (SCABA used to do that years ago), or
    2. you have to choose the piece from a (long) list - a la French Open.
  5. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I'm sure they will too.

    My personal opinion is, surely, a contest is about who plays their chosen piece the best.

    How does the adjudicator know the band who played Little Suite is a championship section band? For all he knows Little Suite was played by a 2nd section band and because they played it "perfect" then they should get top prize. Is that not how contests are supposed to work?

    A little story for you. Many years ago I was at a contest with a band in the 2nd section. Can't remember what we played but that doesn't matter. One of the bands (2nd section - remember) played a Robert Simpson piece - Energy I think it was (or Volcano). One of them. I think there was about 9 bands in the section. Now, I am one of those people that DOES listen to other bands at contests especially those playing in the same section and the band that played the Simpson were really quite poor. Anyway, when the results were given out that band were announced as winners and the whole hall for a second or two was completely silent in disbelief. Then there was polite applause and - as you can imagine riotous cheering from the winning band.

    Get to the point - I hear you shout. OK I will.

    After I muttered a few expletives about "How the devil did he come to that decision?" (or similar), one of the winning band members turned around to me and said: "You know why we won. We won because we played the most difficult test piece". I retorted: "Yes you did, but you played it badly" to which he replied "Maybe so but we had a go".

    My questions, therefore, are: Do adjudicators REALLY think like this? Is that really a reason to give a band first prize? Has anybody else experienced anything like this?

    Surely no adjudicator would think that just because a band plays a more difficult test piece they should win no matter how they play it.

    Which brings me full circle to the point of this thread. The band that played Little Suite played it perfect. Surely they should win. I know it's a 'lower' section test piece but if other bands have flaws in their performances then, depending on how the adjudicator marks, they should have points deducted for those flaws which would, therefore, make their performances not as 'perfect' as the other.

    I'm rambling now - I'm sorry. Little Suite for Brass wins it for me.

  6. Baldeagle

    Baldeagle Member

    Only play your area music at a contest that states that is the music to be played. ie NEMBBA contest at Derby on the 15th of Feb
  7. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Quite possibly! I recall a lower section entertainments contest many years ago which had five bands in the section. Having heard all five bands there was one band that stood out a mile. (In fact I found out later that they had recently won their local area championships and had qualified for the Nationals which they went on to win) They were placed second to a junior band who played out of tune, suffered terribly with intonation and just basically blew at ff for the duration of their programme.
    The adjudication was 'open' and knowing the judge quite well talked to him about his decision later on during the day. I asked how he arrived at his decision when it was plainly obvious who the best band was. He replied, "Well, they're only children, and they tried so hard"!

  8. bruceg

    bruceg Active Member

    I think the difficulty of the test piece has to be taken into account when determining the maximum marks that could be awarded for a perfect performance and that should happen regardless of the section of the band playing the piece.

    If test pieces were graded according to section (and I accept they'd have to be regraded every few years) then a Championship test piece would be marked out of 100, down to a 4th Section piece carrying a maximum possible 80 marks. I'm assuming that you knock 5 marks per section off the total here... ;)

    I certainly don't think that a Championship band should be marked down for playing an easier test piece or a lower section band be given credit for playing something that's too difficult for them. Everyone should be marked on their performance on the day according to the graded difficulty of the piece they've chosen.

    Did that make any sense at all???
  9. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    "OWN Choice" should really be "OWN Choice from a selection of acceptable pieces in that section". I have lost count of the number of times bands (my own included) have played pieces which were felt to be an acceptable test for a band our standard, only to find that a band has played a piece two sections lower and won (Triptych seems to be the biggest abuser I'm afraid, shame cause I really like the piece).

    Local associations and organisers of "Own Choice" contest should produce a list of what is acceptable for that standard, otherwise whats the point?, may as well all play Little Suite For Brass (or Triptych).
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    As did the adjudicator that day, clearly!

    I think the problem is (and I'm sure this has been mentioned elsewhere) the perceived standard of musicianship isn't a bugbear amongst adjudicators, but their criteria for picking the winners is! Still, it's a rotten job but somone's gotta do it!
  11. Di B

    Di B Member

    In contests I have been to, people who choose a higher section test piece get placed as follows.....

    1) If they play it well they will be in the prizes. End of story
    2) If they play it with some slips (but a reasonable performance even if it was from a band in a higher section) they will usually end up near if not at the bottom.

    Adjudicators do usually penalise a band for choosing a challenging testpiece if they feel they cannot play it to a good level in my experience.

    I think if a top band played something well below their capabilities then they should also be penalised for not choosing something challenging enough - to me, its the other side of the coin!

    The difference comes when it is closed adjudication on combines sections (ie 1st and Champ) and then I think a Champ band could win with a 1st section piece, although they do stand to get some serious mud on their face from other bands if they perform poorly!
  12. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    can a band play pieces that are meant for lower sections even at a own choice contest???????? :shock: Alot of bands chose to play higher section test piece and this is great if they are good enough to do it. The adjudicator is there to judge how well the piece is played on the day not to make any allowances for bands circumstances.
  13. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Adjudicators Comments: Piece too easy for standard of band....

    it happens!
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think also that sometimes, in a contest setting, the flow of adrenalin can be important, and that might not be there to the same extent if a band is playing a piece that does not challenge them sufficiently. There is always the danger of getting complacent, and that frisson can be missing.
  15. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Also at own choice contests, you usually have to submit the piece you will be playing a few weeks beforehand. Organisers can clearly know if a top section band is playing a "third section" test piece. The only way bands will improve is if they continue to play harder pieces, to build up stamina, technique and ensemble skills. When I was younger it was a right buzz to play a "first section" test piece in the 3rd section. Even if it didn't sound like a 1st section performance it was good practice and great for confidence. Anyway enough of my gibberish.
  16. bruceg

    bruceg Active Member

    Oh dear - what's happening to me - I'm gonna agree with Laura! It really does a band a lot of good to bring out some of the hard stuff once in a while (or even as often as possible) just to remind themselves of where they are and where they're heading.
  17. markhall

    markhall New Member

    Playing a piece perfectly is a very subjective thing. There seems to be a lot of emphasis in this discussion about playing the notes rather than the music. Sometimes it is much harder to get the music out of a "simpler" piece than one where the notes are a challenge.
  18. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    I think it should be judged on how well the piece is played, after all when a 4th division side gets drawn against a Premiership side in the cup at football they dont get any goals of a start :lol:
    It happens like that in every competition,in all fields as far as i'm aware unless someone knows different. :?:
  19. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    As ever I believe the answer is a bit of both. If faireys cam on stage and played little suite for brass you would expect it to be mind blowing, so ten out of ten for performance and five out of ten for difficulty. If a first section band then played year of the dragon to a good standard getting 8/10 for performance and 8/10 for difuculty it should go to them!!!!!
  20. Despot

    Despot Member

    And quite a kick in the backside when the band doesn't win because of it! :shock:

    I can think of an example....which I won't discuss..... he he he :twisted:

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