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Mr. Hadouken
10-18-2009, 11:13 PM
Okay so the marching band I work with had their 3rd competition saturday. The Band had a terrible, terrible performance and it had a lot to do with us not being prepared for the weather (i.e IT WAS FREEZING) Plus it had rained all week our practice field when it rains is nothing but mud! So we didn't run through the show marching and playing until the day of the competition.
So we knew going into this it wasn't going to be too great.

Well warm up and all and it seemed like we could do better than that we thought, we walk a about 10 minute walk to the gates and the band before us still hasn't gone on yet, so we had to wait more... 20 minutes in fact! So that's a totally of 30 minutes of standing there in the cold, no playing. So they play the show and the director, brass instructor and I are just :confused: We knew that was horrible.

Awards come around and band got 3rd place. Our previous scores have been 74.02 and 77.04. We were thinking this performance was somewhere between 69-72. We pull the sheet out and its an 82.74... laughter ensued. Well i said the drumline did about a 65. Nope The guys scored us an 89.05, we begin crying we are laughing so hard! We tied with one of the INCREDIBLY clean 4A bands. How?!?!?!?

Well here's where it gets better! I listen to the percussion judge tape and the judge says his name "Hi I am Brian Tinkel, Director of Percussion Studies at Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, North Carolina." Then he says "I am currently the Percussion Caption head of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps!" WHAT!?!?!?! He gave us that score on our worst performance of the year? And the only bad comment he made was about 2nd and 3rd bass not being in the center of the head.... which is like the first time they have done that!
I just don't know what to think.....

DrumYoda
10-19-2009, 12:54 AM
Unfortunately, you have first hand experience in what has become a pain to many drumline and other instructors dealing with high school marching bands. Specifically, there is absolutely NO standardization in the scoring systems or judging criteria in any of the usual marching band contests in which you participate. Some may venture that things are better in BOA competitions but there are a whole other set of issues when you enter there.

Just because someone teaches percussion at a college or instructs a drum & bugle corps drumline does not automatically make them a good adjudicator. There are some who can do both. They are far fewer and farther between than some might think.

Perhaps, the judges were giving more than a little benefit of the doubt due to the cold weather conditions that you faced at the contest.

The contest sponsor may have instructed the judges to give higher scores or to award a certain number of trophies. Don't laugh. I have judged at contests where that very thing has happened. The sponsor wants everyone to go home happy so that next year they will come back again. High scores insures that. In this day and age when every Saturday there are at least half a dozen contests that a band can choose from, every contest sponsor is vitally aware that they have to do whatever is necessary to get sufficient attendance to raise money. That, rather than the recognition of true excellence or the benefits of hard work and effort is the true bottom line.

I am thankful that I no longer teach high school drumlines for that very reason. There are many people who share the opinion. Until the standards are established, the results of most such contests will be meaningless aside from an ego stroke to some.

The Dreaming Tree
10-19-2009, 02:45 AM
Unfortunately, you have first hand experience in what has become a pain to many drumline and other instructors dealing with high school marching bands. Specifically, there is absolutely NO standardization in the scoring systems or judging criteria in any of the usual marching band contests in which you participate. Some may venture that things are better in BOA competitions but there are a whole other set of issues when you enter there.

Just because someone teaches percussion at a college or instructs a drum & bugle corps drumline does not automatically make them a good adjudicator. There are some who can do both. They are far fewer and farther between than some might think.

Perhaps, the judges were giving more than a little benefit of the doubt due to the cold weather conditions that you faced at the contest.

The contest sponsor may have instructed the judges to give higher scores or to award a certain number of trophies. Don't laugh. I have judged at contests where that very thing has happened. The sponsor wants everyone to go home happy so that next year they will come back again. High scores insures that. In this day and age when every Saturday there are at least half a dozen contests that a band can choose from, every contest sponsor is vitally aware that they have to do whatever is necessary to get sufficient attendance to raise money. That, rather than the recognition of true excellence or the benefits of hard work and effort is the true bottom line.

I am thankful that I no longer teach high school drumlines for that very reason. There are many people who share the opinion. Until the standards are established, the results of most such contests will be meaningless aside from an ego stroke to some.

He's pretty much hit the nail on the head. A lot of times, experienced Corps members become jaded to lines, and expect non-Corps lines to be pretty terrible. So, when they judge for the first few times and the lines perform better than expected, they score against their previous notions. Many, many seasoned Corps judges score much more fairly and consistently.

That's just my experience, by the way.

Biowaste
10-19-2009, 11:41 AM
Well here's where it gets better! I listen to the percussion judge tape and the judge says his name "Hi I am Brian Tinkel, Director of Percussion Studies at Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, North Carolina." Then he says "I am currently the Percussion Caption head of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps!" WHAT!?!?!?! He gave us that score on our worst performance of the year? And the only bad comment he made was about 2nd and 3rd bass not being in the center of the head.... which is like the first time they have done that!
I just don't know what to think.....

LOL, of all the small colleges in the US and you mention Mars Hill. Small world. My father is a Mars Hill grad and I've been up there quite a few times. The place is TINY, but being so close to Asheville can make things interesting. :D

The post above, about giving higher scores to make people happy and keep them coming back, makes complete sense. However, it can give you a false impression of how well you really performed.

Congrats on your scores though! Sometimes it works that way. I'll have nights with my band and it didn't feel right at all or "off", but the fans think we just slayed. While other nights I think we play pretty well and no one mentions it or seems to care. Such is creative arts.

-Bio

Mr. Hadouken
10-19-2009, 06:08 PM
Unfortunately, you have first hand experience in what has become a pain to many drumline and other instructors dealing with high school marching bands. Specifically, there is absolutely NO standardization in the scoring systems or judging criteria in any of the usual marching band contests in which you participate. Some may venture that things are better in BOA competitions but there are a whole other set of issues when you enter there.

Just because someone teaches percussion at a college or instructs a drum & bugle corps drumline does not automatically make them a good adjudicator. There are some who can do both. They are far fewer and farther between than some might think.

Perhaps, the judges were giving more than a little benefit of the doubt due to the cold weather conditions that you faced at the contest.

The contest sponsor may have instructed the judges to give higher scores or to award a certain number of trophies. Don't laugh. I have judged at contests where that very thing has happened. The sponsor wants everyone to go home happy so that next year they will come back again. High scores insures that. In this day and age when every Saturday there are at least half a dozen contests that a band can choose from, every contest sponsor is vitally aware that they have to do whatever is necessary to get sufficient attendance to raise money. That, rather than the recognition of true excellence or the benefits of hard work and effort is the true bottom line.

I am thankful that I no longer teach high school drumlines for that very reason. There are many people who share the opinion. Until the standards are established, the results of most such contests will be meaningless aside from an ego stroke to some.

That's just sad, we had to stress how bad the performance was before announcing the scores to the band. I'm going to talk the director about not going there next year.... only reason we would is the spread they had for us in the directors lounge!

DrumYoda
10-20-2009, 01:00 AM
Kjac18, you are absolutely correct. It is a very sad state of affairs when you or any other instructor puts the time and effort into a group who also puts out the effort to excel in a performance and then cannot rely on the value of the adjudication/comments received as a result.

On the other hand, in this day and age when many are only interested in hearing themselves praised for even a mediocre effort, why should there be any surprise that the marching band contest has followed this path.