The 'Official' tMP L&SC Regional Thread

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by dyl, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    For what its worth (and I already no some of you don't care for numbers, so you don't need to say so again) if you take at out bands number 1 & 2 in the draw the correl. co. moves up to 0.77

    Also by the way, had LSC gone with an independent two judge system (Mr. Brownbill and Mr. the Sec), the top three places and the bottom 4 would have finished exactly the same, with only the middle being shuffled around a bit.

    I think as Will was trying to both 1) learn a lesson here and 2) provide some additional feedback to bands that may not have gotten many comments from the adjudicator, we need to remember that tMP is an online community - which means everybody shoould play nice in the sandbox together. While Wills comments may have upset some of you, surely that was not his intention. I can not however, say the same for some of the comments made towards Will.

    Anyways, I'm sure Simon & Will will sort things out over a bevie in Hadleigh, so all is right with the world;)
     
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Although I thought I knew the pieces I was covering pretty well, I did spend a bit of time with the score beforehand - including following a couple of recordings of each work, and realising in the process what a test Tam O'Shanter was to be (Dyke recording that proved to be by no means perfect!)

    What I did find was that as things went on, I'd find other specifics that I was listening for, consciously or subconsciously, and wished I could go back and hear some of the earlier readings to check them out.

    As I put in my 1st section review, tiredness was a major factor (remember I'd sat through over 30 performances by then), and I reckon I was possibly less alert to the good points of a couple of the later performances, marking them as "competent" rather than "good".

    My own notes were more sketchy than Will's, maybe partly because I was balancing the score on my lap, but even then there were bits I struggled to read afterwards, and Im not surprised some Adjudicators' remarks take some deciphering.

    I am sure, equally, that being "in the open" makes a difference, particularly regarding missing instruments and swapping of parts.

    I did this at the Areas last time for the first time, and found myself a little more comfortable this time, but I didn't feel able to come up with specific placings for those in the middle order, only group them together, and I certainly won't be looking to do the job permanently!
     
  3. Spanky Rear

    Spanky Rear Member

    I think we should all thank W the S and Peter Bale for their efforts.They have thrown more light on the process of adjudication for probably all of us. They have illustrated many of the difficulties inherent in adjudication,not least tiredness;memory;difficulty in writing fast enough[should taped comments be the norm?];objectivity v.subjectivity;priorities inherent in the piece;etc....etc...
    A big THANKYOU is due from us all----not the parochial negativity that seems to follow most adjudication.
    Spanky
     
  4. barnybeebop

    barnybeebop Member

    Does anybody know if adjudicators meet before any of the areas are played, a big meeting to discuss what they'll be looking for etc.

    It would be nice to think that they do to make things fair, for example discuss which parts of the piece they consider to be most difficult and the bands that make the most sense of it do well.

    Also they could discuss the way they mark and try to make things uniform. As mentioned before it is very important for a band to feel fairly judged and it would be reassuring to them knowing adj. have had this sort of meeting to prepare for the areas/finals.
     
  5. IYOUNG

    IYOUNG Member

    Some telling comments in the final few posts

    1. The third section result would not have been different if Malcolm Brownbill and Will the Sec results were combined (other than the middle few). To those of you who think 2 is better than 1 think on.....

    2. Both PB and WtS conclude that Adjudication is a very difficult job and they highlight the difficulties they experienced. Excellent thank you guys for this very useful for us mere mortals perhaps to get to grips with and maybe just maybe it may help things improve in the future.

    Had you just set out the difficulties and why you experienced them and your conclusions that it was hard, I for one would have had upmost respect for you.
    Listing all the gory details and differing places has just inflamed an already upsetting result for many. (in both directions)



    Ian
     
  6. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    Perhaps if more people were to use this exercise (1- Preparing the score behorehand - I by this I mean more than just borrowing the score the night before and listening to the Regionals CD!! 2) Sitting through EVERY performance 3) Writing comments whilst the band is playing) then we might have a little less of the constant whinging and seemingly sour grapes that seem to colour every band contest because someone thought that their band should win (although most come to this conclusion by listening to very few of their competitors - or through beer goggles!!).

    As Will said adjudication is hard, it requires a degree of mental concentration that, I'm afraid, many people do not posess (this is not a critisism - I can't watch more than about 2.5 minutes of any reality programme without wanting to slit my wrists!!). Whilst I agree that for a contest as important to bands as the areas that some idea of what the adjudicators will be judging on would be helpful all you can do as either a conductor or a player is to prepare as best you can, play to the best of your ability on the day and don't get your knickers in a twist if a result doesn't go your way.

    If bands wish to continue to compete then everyone must as BBCBari put it "play nicely in the sandbox".
     
  7. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

    Sorry Will, thanks for the clarfication. I hope you didn't think my replies were meant to be offensive - only meant to be light hearted and not too serious! ...but understand how things can be mis-interpreted when printed. Star-performer should apologise in hindsight....

    Actaully, I think your problem on the day was one that faces all adjudicators - however impartial they try to be towards the draw. It's just natural that we provide ourselves with benchmarks (even on submininal levels) and the concern is that the early bands (1&2) may be benchmarked against how the adjudicator thinks (or has heard) the piece played before (probably by better bands that 3rd section!). The mid and later bands, as you point, out must become easier because a benchmark for particular contest is then established by the first few of each section.

    However, I do not know about the processes of adjudication (never having been one and never wishing to given it's sometimes thankless status!). I do not know how today's adjudicators would overcome this? This is why bands hate number 1 spot!

    I wonder if someone did the calculation over the years of contests on how many bands had won off number one with a set test piece?? The statistical probabilities are that it should be as frequent as any other draw - but i'm willing to gamble it isn't!!

    Surely, in an age where modern technology can give us instant replays (yes, I bought a CD recording of the performance straight after we played!) the adjudicator could have access to all the performance digitally and be able to review either:-

    a) some of the things he was unsure about marking
    b) review notes from the first couple of performances rather than replying on his handwritten notes if it's a close call.

    Malcolm indicated in his speech that is was very close between first and last band. Well, would Malcolm or any adjudicators reading have wanted to been able to compare just how close rather than rely on his/her vague handwritten remarks to place a 3rd section band in 3rd place!!

    As discussed elsewhere in these forums, such notes need to be so general as 'cornets insecure' for fear of not providing constructive critisism! How can anyone look back at such a comment and know exactly what he meant after 17 or so bands have played!

    On a personal note, I think that someone with as much dedication towards the movement and music abilitiy as Will is exactly the kind of person that should be encouraged into adjuctation. I also feel that adjudication process could be revised given the availability of new technology (like rugby or tennis!)

    In closing, I think this tread has provided an insight into just how hard it is for any adjudicator to get it right every time.

    Simon
     
  8. barnybeebop

    barnybeebop Member

    Agreed, a lot of people judge through the beer goggles and after the results on Sunday a couple of idiots were directing unwelcome comments at our members.

    I remember a conductor of a band I played with at an entertainments contest having to be calmed down several times and restrained as he was thoroughly cheesed off with a result and was back doors and windows etc. afterards.

    We had to laugh as he was very drunk and was the only one expecting to come anywhere but last as we had a shocker.

    I'm signing off for the Easter weekend now and think you lot should too (Sorry if you're working, you can carry on!! (so)
     
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... there is another important factor of adjudication that is often overlooked ... when you are actually making a comment about performance, it is always after the event has occurred. The skill of monitoring and note-taking is a little like being at a lecture, and can be improved on to minimise loss of information. Unlike lectures, where the structure is usually only briefly summarised in the course syllabus (if at all), the contest adjudicator at the areas can prepare a skeleton framework of the score in which he can add comments. This could be each movement, rehearsal marks, distinct passages, solo/ensemble sections to ease the workload during each listening session (performance). Furthermore, he/she must decide on advance exactly what they are expecting ... to minimise damage to early drawn bands.

    The problem of fatigue has also got roots in the activity of our daily biological clocks (circadian rhythms, or to be more precise ... the 90 min. long cycles of ultraradian rhythms) and has an effect on concentration and alertness. This is why employers are legally obliged to give a break after 4 hours work. A contest can be a long day for even the most skilled and attentive adjudicator and only one break may have unseen negative effects for bands that happens to overlap the judge's downturn in his/her daily cycle! A short introduction can be read in the link below:-

    http://www.tcn.net/~opticom/Biological_Clock/biorhythms.html

    It has been shown by all who have taken the time and effort to mirror what adjudicators have to do shows that it still is a highly personalised task. Although we may not criticise their musical worthiness, the methods of preparation and execution may expose shortfalls in necessary skills of effectiveness. If they had discussed with each other what they were going to expect from the scores before committing themselves, I bet that there would be more continuity between them. Again, it is the official adjudicator(s) who matter on the day and it is their organisation of preparation and work that is needing examined. I wonder if they quietly had a chuckle or taken notes when reading tMpers' remarks? Being as subjective as the system has been allowed to be, they probably agree or disagree as most of us do!

    Music, like any art, throws up the unexpected and sometimes this can be seen as a radical new insight in interpretation or plain misguided, depending on viewpoint. What would you do in this circumstance? For example, say that you had to judge a competition in which artists had to emulate someone's copy of the Mona Lisa. The copy has been restricted in the amount of colour used and this is the basis of testing the competitiors' worth. Most of them, to varying technical degree, attempt to exactly copy the set test. But some go further and add more hues to copy the original done by da Vinci. One artist, with faultless technique, uses the test to amazing effect but decides to give her hair a makeover, painting it ginger with coloured highlights in it, adding some originality. (LOL! Let's say that some scanning device showed some ambiguity over her original hair colour in research). How would you decide on marking each group in comparison with each other? (.. maybe this part should be discussed on a separate thread!!! :) ).
     
  10. lewis

    lewis Member

    I had a long chat with Eric Crees when I was at college, and he said that after he had adjudicated at a few contests he realised he had massive highs and lows during the day depending on what he had just eaten or drank and whether he needed to eat or drink. So he now (sadly he isn't used as an adjudicator anymore :mad:) has a selection of foods and drinks that he can have lots of but they won't effect his energy levels too much. If you do have to listen to a lot of bands it probably isn't that fair on some bands at the end because I can imagine it being very easy to switch off early in their performance if there are a couple of mistakes.
     
  11. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I ran some numbers from this year's LSC contest for kicks....

    A correlelation coefficient of -1 is produced if the results happen in the exactopposite of the draw...ie 1st draw comes in last, last draw comes in first. (A negative correlation suggests this as well)

    A correlation coefficient +1 means the draw is the exact same as the finishing order...ie 1st draw finishes first, last draw finishes last.

    Anything between -0.3 and 0.3 shows virtually no correlation as there is always random chance that better bands will actually get drawn near the end or the begining.

    Champ Seciton - Read: -0.16
    1st Section - Read: 0.12
    2nd - Brownbill: 0.19
    3rd - Brownbill: 0.34
    4th - Lippeat: 0.22

    Read total for both sections: 0.18
    Brownbill total for both sections: 0.32

    Total for Sections containing 13 or fewer bands: 0.21
    Total for Sections containing 17 or more bands: 0.24

    Total for all bands, all sections: 0.28

    Almost all of this data lies in the statistically insignificant range as far as showing a relationship between draw and placing. *keep in mind...if you collect enough data, you will get some 'statistically significan' results even if there is no relationship. (ie if you flip 5 coins enough times, you are bound to get 5 heads, even though you shouldn't...doesn't mean you have any magical ability)

    However, if you were try to conclude a tread (which I stress doesn't exist), it would be leaning towards earlier bands placing (on average) higher than later bands, which would go against common perception. (Not to say it isn't more difficult to finish 1st with an early draw, this is more just the general averages)

    There seems to be no difference in adjudication between small and large sections.

    Still, this is very limited data based on only 5 competitions at one area...I CBA to do the others :p
     
  12. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    That must be right then.No other opinions required
     
  13. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    Yes I'm really sorry for being abusive - it was the end of a long week. I'll buy you a pint at the next contest.

    Someone already has by the looks of things - funny what you stumble across in an average day in my job
    http://www.4barsrest.com/articles/2002/art254.asp
    and the conclusion backs you up to a large degree (but is quite interesting).

    If you aren't interested in stats you'll find the rest of this very tedious. Sorry about that.

    Pat, unfortunately (as you probably realise) your theory involving correlation coefficient is totally wrong

    (a) you make a dangerous hidden assumption about the influence of draw on placing being a linear equation of some kind - the question was in fact specifically about draw number one (in fact isn't it draw number 2 that's meant to be the graveyard slot?) in what I consider to be very much a discrete system.

    (b) the sample size would need to be several orders of magnitude larger to be of any use - the third section for example would be heavily influenced by the relatively early draw of Jersey band who were a class above the field on the day. This effect indirectly exaggerates and illustrates point (a) because draw number 5 is in fact fairly neutral but has a significant effect in making "earlier draws" look better in your system. The 4barsrest.com article linked above demonstrates this well by having a far larger sample size but still coming up with one or two anomalies (c.f. number 10 draw).

    (c) there are obviously many other factors to take into account here so I think that even with all significant contests ever held being used as your sample you would still have trouble proving any statistical correlations

    I would say there is also still a problem with the size of the field having a major effect on research in this area, particularly if you are interested in late draws - for example draw number 23 looks bad in the nationals table - but there haven't been 23 bands very often.

    To close I would also like to suggest that in fact the standard and consistency of adjudication at the nationals is in fact _better_ that at the areas IN GENERAL (for example, using more than one judge is usually considered to be a good start) and the bands are much easier to pick apart in some ways because you know to start with that there will only be a few contenders for the top prize (Dyke, YBS, Ever Ready etc.) and that people are in fact far less interested in exact order of lower placings so you can concentrate a bit harder on what matters, whereas in the areas the difference between 7th and 8th place is life and death to some people because of promotion, relegation, etc. In summary if the same analysis were undertaken at the areas there might be even more link between 1/2 draw and bad results. Although I would accept that the nationals results (which only cover 30 years) may be influenced a bit by the famous "no. 1 streak" of the (fantastic in my opinion but not usually considered to be quite in the same league as the big boys) southern lads recently.
     

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