Almost every musical competition (except maybe Drum and Bugle Corps) has a similar problem - test pieces. Now test pieces are helpful to the adjudicators -- it helps them compare Apples to Apples. It has a drawback also, it can get just boring after awhile. I am not taking this post lightly. I have been thinking about for quite sometime. Perhaps those who have gone before us can provides some lessons. First I want to look at Ice Skating. Remember Figure Skating? It is no longer (except as a slip of the tongue) called Figure Skating. Why? Well it used to be that the skaters for about 30% of their score did figures. It was basics. Figures 8's, etc. Even at the Olympic Level, no one would pay to watch the figure portion. It was boring. Now it helped the judges (much like test pieces) but it didn't move anyone. Dorthy Hamel doing her figures in 1976. See the grove in the ice from others doing their figures! Ice Skating eliminated the figures and put in a "short program" with required elements. It became 40% of the scoring (if memory serves me right). Instantly the short programs sold out. Admittedly, it made it a bit harder to adjudicate, but not that much. How about the top music competition in the US, drum and bugle corps. They play only one 11 1/2 minute show, but have about 10 adjudicators. Each adjudicator has a speciality - drums, choreography, music, general effect, etc. The percussion judge could care less is a trumpet play plays rotten note. But if the drums are not in perfect sync, now they get involved. So I would like to have a discussion on test pieces with the above as a backdrop. I'll give my thoughts in the next post.