Open debate about the standard of adjudication

Cornishwomble

Active Member
I agree that the adjudicator's judgment is final and that if he doesn't like your interpretation then that's the way it goes.

I've done contests with bands who have played a blinder but missed out because it wasn't the adjudicator's "bag". Similarly I've come off stage thinking it wasn't so good and the result has been higher than expected.

My only problem I have is if the areas only has one adjudicator. In the London and Southern counties there was only one but in others there were two.

I think then you get two points of view which is harder to complain against when the result goes against you. If both adjudicators don't like what you do with a piece you have even less of a case to complain.

Personally I was diappointed with where our band came on Saturday and yes there was a stage in the day (after a few beers) where I wanted to let his tyres down and kick his dog, but in the cold light of day it was probably fair. However I still feel that having 2 men in the box would provide a better method of adjudicating.
 

The Cornet King

Active Member
johnflugel said:
What do you think about our present judges? Is age an issue? Is qualification an issue? Suggestions of musicians that could do the job in your eyes?

John

On the topic of age, it does seem our 'top' adjudicators are all 'getting on a bit'. Who have we got?...David Read, William Relton, Geoff Whitham etc. They are no spring chickens! However, they seem to be able to get the job done...so if they are the best...age shouldnt matter!

It would be nice to see younger adjudicators, which i think in the lower sections is starting to happen.

I dont think qualifications should be an issue either. If you are capable of the job...qualifications or not...you should be allowed to do it!
I have always thought highly of Steve Sykes as an adjudicator for a present musician. Will no doubt have others spring to mind.

It is an issue though adjudication with clearly no obvious solution.

:wink:
 

NeilW

Member
Whilst I thought most of RRs comments were nice enough - it isn't that common for BB, 2nd Trom and 2nd Bari to be "featured" and that's fine (and was nice), the one I didn't appreciate was the idea that he "expected the soloists to miss some of their notes due to nerves, and didn't penalise for the odd slip".

Surely if its about the "performance on the day" and the soloists' ability to get their notes is a part of it?

Was he saying that he discounted that whole section?

I've seen comments from other contests where you get the exact opposite: "your solists missed notes, and that's not expected at this standard of band"...

NeilW
 

katej

Member
someone wrote in another thread about roy roe at the midlans. 4th section. He said he was disappointed with the standard of playing and had expected more! 4th section mind not Championship!!
 
Ever tried getting a test piece on cd, a score to the same piece, a sheet of A4 paper and a pen, opening the score, starting the cd and then listening, following the score and writing constructive criticism at the same time? It aint easy!
What we do need is two men for each section at each area. It's got to be fairer and it needs to happen soon.
 

James Yelland

Active Member
johnflugel said:
I am pleased that my thread has prompted such debate, althought less pleased I have two guys at eachothers throats. Dave and Jim...chill...I don't want to be responsible for you two killing one another :wink:

John

I haven't said anything - yet!
 

James Yelland

Active Member
Dave Payn said:
In which case the tone of your response rather contradicts the points you make. So we're not allowed to have adverse opinions of adjudicators, huh? Might be better to think a little more in future before putting your thoughts down and clicking on the send button.

No sir. I did not say you are not allowed your opinions on adjudicators. Please read carefully what I wrote.

As to engaging the brain before committing to public: what appeared was drafted several times before it was sent. I note that your response appeared only six minutes later. So I must reject your assertion that this particular post was ill-considered, while supporting the general tenor of your remark that we should all pause for thought before sending that potentially explosive message :)

The moderators and other contributors to this thread will be pleased to know that this is my first, and last comment on this particular aspect of this subject. :)
 

Valvecap

Member
Agree that an adjudicator cant be wrong (as he is the person who makes the 'rules' for that particular contest. I have been annoyed in the past when comments such as "not keen on your interpretation" are written because i am not sure thats the guy in the boxes job - surely he is their to judge the standard of the band on the stage - NOT whether or not he likes what they have done with the piece (as long as what they have done is within the markings on the copy of course). Having being subject to Roys comments on a number of occasions, i find them often quite close to the bone and probably not what i wanted to hear at the time (having placed my ex band last on one occasion) but on re reading them and listening to a minidisc recording, he was also pretty darn close to the truth.
 

cornetchap

Member
Does anyone keep a database (whether on paper or hard disk) of adjudicators that they've come across at contests and what they listen out for based on the comments they've received?
 

johnflugel

Active Member
Re: adjudicators debate

Billy said:
Hi John,
a question for you.Supposing Messrs. Watson, Graham and Winter had been in the box at the Open last September, do you think they would have come up with a different result or better result than the three who did actually sit in the box? .)

A couple of responses:

i) The average age of the 2003 'box' was significantly lower than what it has been at other major contests. I was pleased when I saw that Messers Sparke and Roberts were in 'judgement'.

ii) It is not a question of getting another judge for a 'better' result. There is no 'better' result for everyone because some will always disagree with whatever result!! I am raising the issue that year by year without fail we see the same gentleman in the box. David Read, Sydney Swancott, Bill Relton, Roy Roe, Geoff Whitham to name a few. It just seems to me that we closing ourselves in with who judges us and as these results are so vital to the ongoing development of all bands, shouldn't we open up the task to other people.

iii) I wondered whether anyone would pick on the James Watson thing - I believe he was involved in a rather controversial decision at the 94 Grand Shield.

iv) Linked with iii) Didn't Dyke received some consistently average placings in the Open and Nationals in the early 90's under Dr King despite some highly acclaimed performances? Wasn't there whispers of 'foul play' towards people who were alleged to be against the appointment of the mentioned conductor. I was not within a contesting environment at the time but see those 'average' placings were given by some of the, shall we say, more 'senior' judges. Perhaps someone can confirm whether what I have heard is utter tosh or whether there is some substance for 'raised eyebrows' at the time.

John
 

yr_epa

Member
Good topic!

Same could be said about Geoffrey Whitham's comments at the Welsh Area. I must admit, the standard of the adjudicators was not the best. The 3rd Section was a very big suprise, but fair play to Newtown, they won it. Having listened to a recording of us in the Champ. Section, we still aren't too sure what we did wrong, it was a b****y good performance if I do say so myself!

I would just like to say about the comment made by Billy about the different adjudicators in the Open, it is a fair point yes, but still you have got Stephen Roberts in the box (arr. of the piece), Philip Sparke (the tMP's favourite composer) and William Relton <--- these three are probably the best around (like Carlsberg is probably the best lager!!)

I think the problem is, there aren't enough decent adjudicators around. I've heard other band members saying things like ("...he's too old...." or "....he's too old-fashioned..." or "...what do you expect with Grandad in the box...").

Another thing I don't really understand is why there is only one adjudicator in the Welsh Championship, when Scottish Champ. and Yorkshire Regional have 2 in the Champ. Section. When you consider that the Welsh Champions go through to the Euro's, its not quite fair that only one person decides on the Welsh representives. If there was two adjudicator's in the welsh this year, the representives could be different for Amsterdam, but unfortunately, we'll never know.

Thank god for that, most issues are finally off my chest!
 

Accidental

Supporting Member
As far as I'm aware, the choice of adjudicator(s) and decision wether to use 1 or 2 is down to each regional committee. So, if you think things need to change, talk to your reps about it!
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
James Yelland said:
Dave Payn said:
In which case the tone of your response rather contradicts the points you make. So we're not allowed to have adverse opinions of adjudicators, huh? Might be better to think a little more in future before putting your thoughts down and clicking on the send button.

No sir. I did not say you are not allowed your opinions on adjudicators. Please read carefully what I wrote.

As to engaging the brain before committing to public: what appeared was drafted several times before it was sent. I note that your response appeared only six minutes later. So I must reject your assertion that this particular post was ill-considered, while supporting the general tenor of your remark that we should all pause for thought before sending that potentially explosive message :)

The moderators and other contributors to this thread will be pleased to know that this is my first, and last comment on this particular aspect of this subject. :)

In which case, I accept what you say about being drafted and redrafted and profusely apologise accordingly, Jim. I will say, however, that in that case, I find the remark 'Repeat after me' (etc.) even more galling! ;-)

Likewise, my last thoughts on the 'thorny topic of adjudication ('woo-oo adjudication, woo-oo adjudicatiooon, that's what you need. If you wanna judge the best, if you wanna judge the rest, woo-oo, adjudication's what you need'. Well, I'm sure Roy Castle might have thought about something like that if he'd been a brass band junkie! ;-)

I'll stick to the day job.......
 

Pythagoras

Active Member
I found Roy Roe's comments sheet for 4th section Midlands was quite useful. (Plus he put Good Bass at 1 - any bass players who know Partita will know the bit I mean.)

I don't listen much to what they say at the contest, but it was pointed out by people in my band that what he was saying at the results announcements was similar to what our conductor had been saying, which probably helped us get a good result.
 

DublinBass

Supporting Member
First of all I agree with the orginal post on the grounds that there are some brillante adjudicators out there. Either from contests I've been at or just from watching there bands perform I think Watson, King Graham, Cobb, Holz and Tovey are excellent picks for judges (the rest I hadn't seen)

As far as the following quote...
Dave Payn said:
'Then, said adjudicator/s issue a missive to all competing bands to still (obviously) give them some free licence with interpretation, but give guides as to what he or she will be looking for, different balances required in different areas of the piece/s; how he/she would like certain phrases shaped; how he/she does NOT want to hear certain phrases shaped; whether he/she is a metronome marking stickler or is quite willing to allow a certain amount of bpm leeway if the performance convinces, etc. etc. '

Not forgetting the vital importance of good intonation! ;-)

MAYBE... if it is a premiere piece and the composer/arranger is the judge, but otherwise I think most good conductors should know how to prepare their band.

There are however, a few poor judges that spoil it for all those who take it seriously. For instance, Goff Richards. Look at last year Yorkshire results. In such a competitve region can you really not start judging until about 6th in the draw?

Also, Bram Gay. He judged our North American Championships back in ...'97? While the Illinois Brass Band has been one of the better bands in the states recently, '97 is the one (out of their 6) championships they did not deserve. The low brass and high brass were literally off by one measure from each other for about 16 bars!!! On our bands tape I think you could hear him snoring as he fell asleep. Now I understand jet lag and all, but...damn!

I'd say 90% of the time adjudicating is done at a quality level, but what to do to get things to get done seriously those other 10% of the time...I don't know. Maybe judges should get paid more? Maybe the best judges should get promoted and the worst relegated? I do like how the Masters has the bands chose the judges?

Instead of focusing on bad judges, does anybody have any other ideas on how to get the best?
 

Lothianh

Member
BBCbariUSA said:
Also, Bram Gay. He judged our North American Championships back in ...'97? While the Illinois Brass Band has been one of the better bands in the states recently, '97 is the one (out of their 6) championships they did not deserve. The low brass and high brass were literally off by one measure from each other for about 16 bars!!! On our bands tape I think you could hear him snoring as he fell asleep. Now I understand jet lag and all, but...damn!

I thought Bram Gay was a great adjudicator! Of course, he and his co-adjudicators picked Prairie Brass Band to win in the Challenge Section, in our first year of existence. ;-)

Seriously, he was only one of three judges in the Championship section that year, so are you sure that it was his scores alone that undid you?? I obviously don't have the score sheets in front of me, so I can't say for sure. I'm just pointing out that it may not be *all* his fault. That said, however, I know that PBB has had its share of complaints about the judging at past NABBA contests as well - too little feedback to be constructive, and failure by individual judges to effectively rank the competing bands. As I recall from our section last year, one judge had two bands tied for first, then *three* tied for third, and finally one band in last place (six bands total). Whether or not you agree with the overall results, a judge is there to make a decision that one band is better than another for the purposes of the competition, which that judge obviously failed to do.

Getting back to Bram Gay briefly, he had a great comment on the tape of our performance of the test piece in 1997 - Hinemoa by Gareth Wood. It opens with big timpani and side drum strokes which our percussionists played very, errrr, *aggressively*. His comment: "Percussion, please try to remember that there's a brass band competition going on here today." :-D

-Lothian
 

DublinBass

Supporting Member
Lothianh said:
BBCbariUSA said:
As I recall from our section last year, one judge had two bands tied for first, then *three* tied for third, and finally one band in last place (six bands total). Whether or not you agree with the overall results, a judge is there to make a decision that one band is better than another for the purposes of the competition, which that judge obviously failed to do.

-Lothian

Judges get paid to judge and whichever of the three judges couldn't take his balls out of his purse and make a decision should never judge again. I personally would like to see you put his name out there so that does not happen.

As for the Bram Gay thing...he may have been alert for the Challenge section and done a brilliante job then, but fatigue must have set in. This incident was back when I was in COBB (so I'm not trying to be a total homer or too bitter or anything), but I did see the scoresheets and hear the tapes.

In his defense, it must be tiring to judge two sections of 6 bands or so (sarcasm), especially when for the British Open and Nationals judges have 18-20 bands to follow!! I sometimes wonder how a judge can do a good job when there are more than 10 bands at a contest.
 

Lothianh

Member
BBCbariUSA said:
Judges get paid to judge and whichever of the three judges couldn't take his balls out of his purse and make a decision should never judge again. I personally would like to see you put his name out there so that does not happen.

Well, let's just say that some of the judges we've had issues with in the past are back at NABBA again this year, and likely to be judging you on Saturday... ;-) I'll be interested to hear your comments when you get the complete score sheets back.

Best of luck on Saturday, by the way - it should be a great contest!! I'm sorry that PBB is not attending this year, but we'll be back next year, hopefully better than ever!

-Lothian
 

DublinBass

Supporting Member
Lothianh said:
Best of luck on Saturday, by the way - it should be a great contest!! I'm sorry that PBB is not attending this year, but we'll be back next year, hopefully better than ever!

-Lothian

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be there this year.

By the way, a belated props to your band on creating the U.S. open. It's nice to have a second contest here in the States (especially of a different format).
 

Primary

tMP Assistant
Here are some related products that tMP members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to tMP’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to tMP discussions about these products.

 
 
Top