A pipe band adjudicator’s sheet

We have all signed up for a hobby that is subjective, we perform in front of a judge and accept their decision on our placement in a contest. All too often I hear people complain about the result – but at the end of the day the judge’s job is to pick the prize winners and place the other competitors based on their experience whilst listening to your performance. Of course, we all hope that no political or tutoring bias weighs on the judges decision, and this aspect is of course a grey area and something that we are discouraged from dwelling on or discussing.

Let’s delve into the adjudication sheets.  Some sheets provide generic observations and others go into part by part detailed analysis of the performance from a technical standpoint.  What is right and what is wrong?

So, what is the adjudicators key role?  To decide on the positioning of the competitors? I feel that competitors often look to the sheets to see why they have placed where they have placed. “A great sheet, all mostly positive, great tone – 7th place!?!”. Honestly I hear this so many times from competitors and even from some parents! Reading into the sheets to try and justify the position you received is probably not the best approach.

What is the best way to create an adjudication sheet? Should it detail each part with the rights and wrongs from a technical aspect?  To me, this is more of an instructional lesson than an adjudicator’s sheet. When a soloist competes (at any level), they shouldn’t necessarily expect a sheet detailing how a flam should be played, or how to orchestrate a throw on D. Naturally at the lower levels, it can be valuable to offer up some advice to the rookies if they aren’t getting the instruction from a tutor. But generally, it becomes a tedious task for the judge to write notes on every aspect of every part that goes right or wrong. They would spend so much time focusing on parts and keeping track of errors that they would potentially lose the opportunity to enjoy the big picture.  Honing in on the small detail in my mind may be more of a coaching role (at a practice or rehearsal) rather than a judging role? Again, this is just totally my perspective and I’m all ears if anyone else feels otherwise.

Some of the best sheets I have read are the ones that address tone, depth, colour, dynamic presentation, execution, clarity, composition, integration, phrasing and musicality.  The sheet usually overviews the performance relating back to most of the key headings above. Often if something terrible happens (like a major fault or breakdown), the judge may note that a slip occurred. But honestly, I think these type of sheets are the best. They really make you think as a competitor – “what does he/she mean by that? I wonder where exactly in the performance is that happening? “.  To me, this should inspire the performer to approach the judge respectfully after the contest and ask if they can expand on their comments to help develop any personal weaker areas. The judges have so much value to offer, and a ton of experience. It seems a wasted opportunity not to reach out afterwards (it doesn’t need to be straight after the results either, it could be a few weeks later) and seek some feedback. I know some people feel that asking the judge why they placed in a specific position is not “the done thing”. Some people feel that it may appear that you are questioning the judges decision or his/her integrity. But I think there is a way to approach that situation and if you handle it correctly it can be a great learning experience for the competitor.

I see adjudication sheets vary in style and approach from country to country. This can be good and bad. But at the end of the day, I think a measured, consistent approach to adjudication is key for the pipe band fraternity. The RSPBA has an extensive training program for judges and you can see this in their sheet-writing. However, some other countries have their own processes for electing judges and they don’t always seem to have the same depth of training as the Scottish system. I really think this is an area that could help strengthen our competitions worldwide – a centralised adjudication training and appointment system can only be a good thing.

A big thank you to the judges out there who put their pens to paper, listen to all of our performances and make the tough decision to place the competitors as they see fit. It’s a tough job, and often only one person or band is going to be happy at the end of the day.

All I ask is that we all look at our current education programs and appointment processes for adjudication around the World.

James

Want to learn from a structured guide to pipe band drumming? Check out the digital version today!

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Is competition healthy within a pipe band?

I look at some of the most successful teams around the world, whether it be rugby, soccer, AFL or NBA and they all have many things in common. But the one thing to me that really sticks out, is that they are all competitive within their own group. This breeds a mindset of mental toughness, drive and excellence at each and every game or practice.

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Let’s take the All Black’s (just because it’s Rugby World Cup time) for example – their individual talent level is extremely high. Each individual brings something special to the table, and they are determined to continually demand more from themselves and from their teammates. Self-ego is often viewed as a negative attribute, but to continually strive for that “X factor” or “next level”, players must posses some form of egoic mentality.  Each player doesn’t want to be outdone by the next, so they are driven to really push themselves to their limits, every time they step up to the plate.

There is no reason why the same approach couldn’t work for pipe bands. Creating a culture of healthy competition within the group cannot be a bad thing. So long as it is managed effectively it can really enhance the overall level that the team operates at. Seeing team players compete against each other in solo contest’s is a fascinating scenario, and at a subconscious level can really motivate the individuals to dig deep to get that advantage on the board. Some of the best pipe band drum corps’ of all time have all showcased a large number of the best solo players – I don’t think this is a coincidence.  The individual effort of each player can only enhance the collective product of the group.

There may not be a solo circuit happening everywhere globally that allows all bands to have their members competing regularly, however would it not be wise to consider an “in-house” solo? A way to have your players ranked by an external adjudicator?  I do feel nowadays there has been a push in some camps to make sure everyone feels good about their place and that everyone gets a prize in competitions. But at the end of the day, the only way to encourage world-class athletes or musicians to strive for new world records or Olympic bests, is to ensure that the best players and the greatest talents get the rewards. In life, there has to be winners and losers. That’s just reality. Those not getting prizes will be driven to work even harder to reach those new levels of performance. It’s a way that might help guarantee our art form will continue to develop for generations to come, just as it has done over the past century.

Do you know that moment when you witness a human being doing something freakishly amazing with their talent and you think, how on earth is that even possible? Or, Wow, I just witnessed something that this World might never see again? I recall such moments – watching George Best dazzle his fellow soccer players, being mesmerised by Jim Kilpatrick drumming up a storm on stage, watching Serena Williams dominate centre court with such ferocity … there are only a handful of things that come to mind that are truly freakish. Truly special. Once in a lifetime type things. These are the moments that make the hairs stand on the back of your neck. The moments that remind you how fortunate you are to be able to see these things with your own two eyes.  These moments are why it is important that we continue to reward the winners, the workers, the grafters and the lifers.  When a player see’s that they get the peer recognition for their sacrifices and passion, it continues to set the bar higher. And we all get to relish in the amazing potential that human beings are capable of.

Intra-corps competition in my mind – can only be a good thing for our little World.

James

www.come2drum.com

NEWS : New Zealand Pipe Band Championships

It’s only a matter of weeks until the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships 2014 in Tauranga.  I am very excited to be attending and Im really looking forward to hearing all of the bands competing. 

You will be glad to know that I have all of the drumming essentials here in stock to ensure that you get the very best sound.  Snare Heads (for Pearl, Premier and Andante), Tenor and Bass Heads (for Pearl, Premier and Andante), Snare Wires (for Pearl, Premier and Andante), all sorts of snare drum sticks, a full selection of TyFry Tenor Mallets, tuning equipment and much more.

Also I have some GREAT prices on all of these products.  Many of our heads, sticks and accessories are the most competitively priced in the country.  Please flick me an email (james@come2drum.com) if you would like any help or to chat about bulk pricing.  Or you can pick up the phone if you want to have a chat about tuning!

Also, the brand new Jim Kilpatrick Snare Drum Carrier has just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere – we are delighted to be stocking it. It’s simply the best!

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All the very best to everyone

Regards

James

www.come2drum.com

The World Online Piping and Drumming Championships 2012 – Entries Closing on October 15th

The World Online Piping & Drumming Championships is a new and exciting way to compete against pipers, drummers, and pipe bands from around the world.

Each competitor will have the opportunity to compete for the title of World Online Piping & Drumming Champion and the chance to win prizes in several additional categories.

Enter today and join us in giving back to the community with our first-ever Make A Difference Prize.  Every competitor has the chance to win big for his or her own charity.Image

Here’s how the online competition works:

  • Pick the events you want to enter.  
  • Sign up by October 15.  Each event is limited to 30 competitors.
  • Make and submit your video recording by November 1 — this is your competition entry!
  • Our world-class judges will watch the videos and write each competitor a complete sheet of detailed comments.  
  • The complete results and winning videos will be posted for the world to see. 

Check out our new and expanded list of events and sign up today!

Please enter today and join us! Pledge your support today and help us expand our online competitions, scholarship programs, and educational initiatives

Winners of the Worlds Week Come2Drum Blog Announced.

Thank you everyone for continuing to follow the Come2Drum Blog – I really appreciate your ongoing support. Make sure to drop me a line if there are specific topics or issues you would like me to Blog about.

Check out the Winners of the Latest Pipe Band Drumming Blog Contest!!

1. drummerdude34@hotmail.com – Alex Duthart Book, Pipe Band CD, RadPad and Guide to Pipe Band Drumming eBook Vol 1.

2. christ1076@hotmail.com – Three Piping and Drumming CD’s

3. facebookjunkielol95@gmail.com – Come2Drum Studio Membership

4. jade.genner@hotmail.com – Jim Kilpatrick KP2 Sticks and RadPad

5. tenor.flourishes@gmail.com – Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Volume 1 and 2 eBook

Anyone wanting more information on learning Pipe Band drumming should check out Come2Drum.com – the internet’s premier resource on Pipe Band Drumming.