Unhelpful adjudicators remarks - South West Regional 2015

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by cornishgiant, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. cornishgiant

    cornishgiant New Member

    My band received a disappointing result at the above contest. As is usual in such situations we attempted an autopsy and scoured the adjudicators remarks to try and identify what we should have done/what we did badly.

    What we found was they really hadn't written much at all, pretty much nothing specific and definitely nothing that we could reflect on. What we were looking for was something along the lines of 'poor tuning between B and C' and what we got was 'the total added up to less than the sum of the parts today'.

    Anyone else at Torquay disappointed with the remarks their band got? Or were we just unlucky?

    (we're in the 3rd section)
  2. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Didn't compete at Torquay, but I have been on the receiving end of similar remarks on many an occasion...goes with the territory I think. Obviously, in any competition, there is usually only one band who thinks the adjudicator got it completely right. However the type of remark you received is very frustrating because it tells you nothing about what you should do for the future, and that's what lower section banding is all about, in my opinion.

    From what you say the adjudicator wrote, it sounds as though there were just better ensembles than yours on the day. It seems as though what the adjudicator perhaps should have written was: "a pretty good job today from this band, with some fine individual performances around the stand; however, as an ensemble, this did not hang well together when compared to your competitors. Ensemble playing is every bit as important as individual skill, if not more so. I hope your band got the chance to listen to some of your competitors today so that you could hear how much more cohesive they were than you".

    I think what I've written above roughly equates to 'the total added up to less than the sum of the parts today'.
  3. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Interesting my band performed in Torquay at the weekend. The adjudicators remarks that we received were a little puzzling as they contradicted one another in various places of the performance. It would have been nice to have been a fly on the wall when they weighed up the placings.
  4. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    I happen to have obtained a photo, leaked from the box of one of this years contests. This might shed some light on how judges sometimes rank the bands.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Feed back after a failed job interview is meant to be helpful for the candidate but it can be hard for the interviewer to give. What degree of honesty will be constructive, what comment might lead to challenge and how do you say that the sucessful candidate was just better in several subtle ways that can't be described that easily? I suspect adjudication is partly an art and partly a reasoned and recorded form of judgement.

    A band very local to you came second and was full of young people so there's lots of talent in your area - well done to Cambourne Junior, though I suspect there will be many (us excluded!) who find it difficult to accept being passed by more able youth. Competition between bands can be fierce but perhaps a few casual talks to other local people (from different bands) who attended might help your band gain more insight into how you sounded and what the adjudicators heard. Three bands near you are two sections above you yet only a few miles away ....... now just how do you find the right person to exchange a pasty and a pint for some honest (and constructive) comment?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  6. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    As mentioned elsewhere I listened to most 3rd section bands and thought that some of the results were very puzzling.

    Had a good result for the band I wave for and the remarks don't really tell me why whereas had a bad day at the office with Woodies and the remarks sheet is fairly anodyne.
  7. owain_s

    owain_s Member

    I've heard criticisms of third-section comments at other contests, along the lines of "they're being too specific", "they're picking on individual points and players", "they should be commenting on the overall performance".

    The adjudicators can't please everyone!
  8. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    They only ever really please one band.

    Personally I don't like the idea of adjudicators picking out obvious errors such as incorrect or missing entries and clear slips on solo passages as the player(s) and band all know that's happened already and nobody really benefits from it being reiterated in comments. However some people would see the lack of something like that in the notes as "the adjudicator missed it" therefore they must be deaf and incompetent and our result is just a lottery.
  9. midlandman

    midlandman Member

    It is a difficult job to listen and scribble notes. But I like comments like 'intonation 3 before C' 'balance not good at F I had difficulty hearing the solo'.
    i suppose the major focus must be on the result and helpful comments secondary. That's why I like 2 adjudicators as usually you can some idea of your playing.
    like other posts I can't stand the flowery non-discript comments are no use to bands and cannot help when reviewing the performance of the band to allocate a placing
  10. Had all of the comments been written at the very end of the contest, this would work, however very little of this could have applied to a band drawn #1.
    I too prefer constructive comments like, 'intonation in troms at C+4', or 'rythmn at G should be dotted quaver / semi quaver not triplets'.
  11. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    This would be nice, but mostly unlikely. I was asked to adjudicate a state high school festival. As the piece goes on, the time to write very specific comments is difficult. I would not have written the phrase you suggested, but something more like "the rhythm just after C was not together". I guess I would not have mentioned anything about the quavers HOPING the MD or the band would know which tough passage it was.

    I remember writing as much as I could for each band. One director complained I was TOO critical and hence I could not be listening to the blend and intonation. I wrote it off -- you cannot please everyone.

    My point is, if you have never done it, it is hard to do.
  12. I would agree that it is a difficult skill to master, however saying the rythmn was not together is completely different to saying the rythmn is wrong. They could be wrong but completely together...
    also you assume they already know they were wrong. In the lower sections, that may not be the case.
  13. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    I agree. It depends on what was wrong. It was just a quick example on my part. It is hard to do -- even if you are experienced. In the Championship Section with SO many great bands, to find differences is a great skill.
  14. Sop_Or_Bass?

    Sop_Or_Bass? Member

    In November I had the pleasure of attending the Wessex Contest where the adjudicator provides verbal comments recorded as you play the piece. You get a copy of the recording and you can hear exactly what the adjudicator is looking for and the reaction to what they hear :clap:
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  15. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Having played at the same contest (for the same band) - I'd absolutely echo the praise for that style of adjudication and the way that the adjudicator on the day chose to use it, he was able to make the kinds of more intricate comments mentioned here (and they were easy to relate to the music as you could hear them in context), and I particularly liked his anticipation of what he wanted to hear next and comments about whether it came off or not...
    Obviously easy to be happy with remarks (of any kind) when you place well but there seems to be an awful lot going for this style of adjudication relative to the traditional scribbles.

    (The adjudication in question, for context)
  16. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    One of the more competitive musical forms in the US is Drum Corps. Not every likes music, visual, and the driving style (although a Ballad, often without drums, is a required element). Each judge does exactly what you stated above. They all talk into a tape recorder as they judge the piece. Then transform their rankings to a scoresheet that is standardized. Here is an example from the lower (open class) of a score sheet. Each corps gets tapes from each judge and the scoresheet. Is it fair? Who knows? It is different. A link to and old score sheet from 2012 (it is interesting -- take a look. It is a table and not a graphic and quite large so I could not post it here) is provided below.

    Drum Corps International Score Sheet.
  17. grjeuph

    grjeuph New Member

    One of the things that I find very frustrating with having two adjudicators in the the box is the inconsitencies in their comments. e.g. Adjudicator 1 - Letter A good tuning, Letter C - Not together etc etc.... Adjudicator 2 - Letter A Poor Tuning, Letter C - well played etc etc....
    How on earth are we supposed to take note of the comments and move on? this sort of thing happens most years and I am sure that we are not the only band to get comments sheets like this. It's almost like reading a set of comments for two different bands!!!
    I must admit I like the new system used by the Wessex where the adjudicator talks over a recording and the bands get the two versions one with his comments and the other without. This to me is very informative and very useful.
  18. grjeuph

    grjeuph New Member

    Many a true word.... lol
  19. owain_s

    owain_s Member

    Having a breakdown of marks in that format doesn't necessarily change much. If, on adding up the marks, band no. 4 comes above band no. 6 but the adjudicator's overall preference was for no. 6, then they can just alter some of the marks as necessary to make it so.
  20. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Again in the US, the most competitive music form is Drums Corps. 8 to 11 judges, depending on how important the show is, will do the adjudication. Some areas (music divisions) have two judges at important events. Visual is very important, so at divisional and the final, they will have two, and in that case they will average the two judges scores. They are adjudicating 150 performers, not 33 or so, hence the need more.

    Another difference is that all the judges mark their score sheets (example) for tabulation before they are finished and can talk to other judges, fans, etc. The judges do not compare their opinions until after the score is turned in. DCI (Drum Corps International), DCUK (Drum Corps United Kingdom) and DCE (Drum Corps Europe) operate in a similar manner. Asian Drum Corps will travel around and put on their show in various venues. They show is designed for an American Football Field or a Football Pitch. But they may use quarter steps and march on a basketball court.

    The two years I went to NABBA (North American Brass Band Association) Championships, they had 3 judges, each in their own box. They turned in their scores and did all their work before they could talk to someone.

    In the several years I have been on this bulletin board, I have heard vehement complaints about adjudication. There are other some systems of judging that could be looked at, for example, a lot of the Olympic Sports are judged and they may provide some Models. There is so much complaining done about the current Brass Band System, there are many other judging systems that could be looked at.