Solo Festival Adjudication

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by cornetguy, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    With Solo festival comming up, I would like to hear from other folks that adjudicate what they do in this situation. I hate this situation, and not sure the best way to handle it. It seems that I get it a few times every solo festival I judge and it doesnt matter whether I am doing brass, strings, or the "catchall room" (a little bit of everything, to help out with scheduling)

    The student comes in they are obviously prepared because they start off really well. Then the inevitable mistake happens and the student crashes and burns from there they either shut down or the mistakes keep snowballing more and more or both. And what starts off as really promising rising above the nom winds up getting a III. I know what happend you can almost see the student beat themselves up, something along the lines of; "you idiot you messed that up...." and they dewll on that rather then letting it go and playing as if nothing happens I know that is what happens, been there done that myself.

    I usually ignore that and try to focus on something from the part that was good. I have thought about talking to the students about present time, and that it is ok to make mistakes but I think that is more the teacher's job then mine. That we as judges aren't there knocking points off for mistakes, I dont care if they make a couple now if they are unprepared... That we as judges want to hear them play well, do well and be successful at this and for it to be a positive experience for them.

    Teacher or other adjudicators thoughts.
     
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Northern New York
    Yeah. I've had kids reduce themselves to tears at times. I try to remind them about what they did well, what I found went well or some specific aspect of their playing that is a strength. And even though they are thinking to themselves "Yeah. You're just saying that to cheer me up", it leaves them thinking about their strengths. As much as we would like to, we can't let the kid try again, or the whole audition process would be suspect and lacking truth and real world basis. (How many candidates, students or otherwise, do tremendously well, but don't percieve they played their best?)

    It is mostly the teacher's and the parents and freinds of the student who need to remind them that they are not a failure because they blew the high C at the end of the Kennan or crashed and burned on the Turrin Caprice. It is our job as adjudicators to provide them with feedback on their playing, and see through the mistakes and nervous issues to the real musician within, and reflect back to the performer what we hear, and make some positive comments for continued growth.

    A little breif conversation before hand and a touch of light humour usually helps relax the student a bit. (If it's a piece I'm really familiar with, I try not to let that on...I don;t want to make the kid more nervous than he/she already is). Don't know how things work in MN, but here we have a three part performance: scales, solo and sight reading. Most soloists seem to benefit from doing them in that order, in my experience. Scales loosen the student up a bit. I usually let the younger ones pick their first one; that way they start off with something they feel strong on. Sometimes that backfires and the kid is either thrown off by that or tries to pick their hardest one to try and impress me, but usually they pick one they know and seem to relax a bit when they nail it.

    It is a learning experience. Every time the horn comes out is a learning experience, be it a clarinet, flute, pair of sticks or whatever. All of us here know that; most kids know that, too.

    I guess what it all boils down to is this: I try to console them as best I can with positive comments, and always thank every student for performing. I hate the situation, too. Especially when tears start falling. That breaks my heart.
     
  3. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 8, 2004
    Maryland
    Both sides of an adjudication can be tough. You want the student to get a feel for the "real" world of music and how they have to strive to be perfect, but dont want them so frustrated that they give up. I try to make sure my students know they are growing, and with growing comes good and bad. If they are doing the festival it means they care about how they sound and how they can improve. They should welcome constructive ideas from an expert.

    With that being said, the teenage ego is fragile. I think Solo and Ens. festivals should be restructured so the judge can spend more time with the students, really help them out and then be able to truely look for exceptional students. Not just judge them on a 6 minute solo they may have rehearsed for 4 years. I also would like to see some pre-festival workshops at more schools, to get the students ready. And even easier, we need to listen to our kids play more often. I am presently doing auditions with all of my students. approx 160 kids. I am taking the time during class to listen to them in a connected storage room. They are nervous and whining, but they will be abel to audition better than the other kids on the county. This inturn makes them better musicians, which makes the band better. If more of us teachers took the time to prepare students for real world situations, they wold do better in these events.

    I have judged these events as well. I feel the county event is alot different than the state. We are looking for potential at the county level, at the state level we are looking for the performance quality. As a judge all you can do is call it like to see it. Dont treat anyone differently than you would want to be treated after your performance, and try to keep these kids interested. Music is tough enough without more obstacles.

    Sorry for the rant.
     
  4. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    in minnesota and Wisconsin (live close enough to WI that I adjudicate there too) The kids just come in and play, no scales or sight reading. I do encourage the kids to play a few notes to get used to the room and so on while I deal with the paperwork end of things. Then have them start whenever they are ready. (the antenna are up even while they are playing a few notes and tuning for things, and have written things about stage deportment more then once, tuning themselves to piano etc.)

    I would like to see us get longer time slots particularly for class A students. (top level in both states) where we can do more with the kids to encourage them to grow. I really try to focus on musical things and not just technique, though God knows I write enough about that too. The learning experience for the kids is the most important and that they get ideas from a differnt person then their band director.
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
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    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Might it be possible to get on the state manual selection commitee and suggest those things for the next revision? Just a suggestion. Sounds like it would be a big change, which is difficult, but nothing worthwhile is easy.
     

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