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#945762 - 05/22/08 12:46 AM adjudicating
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I had the experience today to adjudicate for my first time, quite unexpectedly; our out of state adjudicator fell ill and us teachers were left having to adjudicate each others students.

I did the best I could under the circumstances.

What was interesting to me is the role one takes as an adjudicator. For me, I just did my best to encourage, yet, I felt it necessary to comment and make suggestions on how a piece can be improved.

Although I think I did a good job, under the no-training circumstance, considering the support and encouragement students and teachers expect. But I must say it is stressful!

I do not want to do it again.

What frame of mind should I have to relish the idea of perhaps adjudicating again, or even having my students adjudicated after experiencing it first hand? Although, my comments were positive and constructive, I guess I care to much about upsetting a teacher.

Any advice or comments from those who have experience adjudicating would be appreciated.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#945763 - 05/22/08 07:32 AM Re: adjudicating
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
I adjudicate/evaluate/test about a dozen times per year, and I absolutely cherish the experience. There are some ground rules I always try to adhere to:

1) Go with what the teacher marked in the score and reinforce his/her teaching; do not try to contradict what the teacher wrote. This is a big one for me, as I am always disturbed by comments my students get that contradicted my teaching. If the teacher is obviously wrong about something, then write a private message to the teacher, not the student.

2) Avoid comments on subjective things like tempo choice, rubato, and added pedals in Baroque/Classical periods. If you do, phrase it like "In my opinion..." or "I would prefer..." Again, if the student is completely wrong (e.g., playing "adagio" when it's supposed to be "presto"), then do comment.

3) No matter how poorly the student plays, always begin with a positive comment--and go from there.

4) Don't be afraid to pinpoint exact problems and be specific with the criticism. When phrased professionally, criticism is appreciated by teachers and students alike. Then, suggest a way to fix the problem.

5) Be friendly and smile to keep the student relaxed in a stressful situation.

6) Be absolutely fair. Do not give bonus points if the student plays a piece you like, or a piece by your favorite composer. Similarly, don't downgrade a student because you hate the piece.

7) Score the student on music alone and not "extra-musical" items like physical gestures, bowing, bodily movement, and their attire. If anything is distracting, I just stare at the paper I'm writing on. Only comment on this if the movements are so extraneous, they're affecting the performance.

8) I always bring with me a list of "commonly misspelled words" and "words I frequently use but can't spell" (like "appoggiatura"). I also have a list of "positive words." I also make a clear distinction between "nice," "good," and "great" with a bunch of synonyms for each group.

All this, to me, is just common sense. I guess, since I do a lot of judging, I expect the same from other judges who judge my students. Then, I get mad when they don't do what I do or when they make really outlandish choices.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#945764 - 05/22/08 08:37 AM Re: adjudicating
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Those are great guidelines - thanks for posting them.

Pianobuff - was that your Guild adjudicator who fell ill? I hope your students did well.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#945765 - 05/22/08 06:05 PM Re: adjudicating
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Great guidelines! I have a special place in my heart for #8. If you looked at the scratch paper I used for my first judging gig, you'd see the following:

staccatto
stacatto
staccato
stacato
staccatto
stacatto
staccato
stacato
staccatto

My second judging gig resulted in a heated debate with my friends over the spelling of "leger" or "ledger" lines.

(Both are correct, although "ledger" seems to be slightly more common in the US!)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#945766 - 05/22/08 07:01 PM Re: adjudicating
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Or:

Eccossaise
Ecosaise
Eccosssaise
Ecossaise

and yes Stacattoe is a good one too, Kreisler!

Thanks so much AZNpiano!!! These are great guidelines.

I had a teacher today adjudicate my students, who is not experienced as an adjudicator and I must say did not adhere to #'s 1 and 2 of your list. Although when we had our lunch together, I tried to tactfully explain that we all teach differently, and then it went a little bit smoother, I feel. I can't expect her to know what she should be doing as an adjudicator, although you're right, most of it is using common sense.

It was definately a different aspect of music teaching. If I should ever do it again, having those guidelines will certainly help and I will feel much more confident. Thanks again!

John, yes it was our Guild adjudicator. She fell ill the first day of auditions and had to go home because she was so sick with the stomach flu. It rattled all of us teachers, that is for sure. But my students did fine. Glad it is over... Now on to the end of year recital.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#945767 - 05/24/08 02:43 PM Re: adjudicating
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
John, yes it was our Guild adjudicator. She fell ill the first day of auditions and had to go home because she was so sick with the stomach flu. It rattled all of us teachers, that is for sure. [/b]
Something similar happened to my branch's annual exam. One of the evaluators was running late, so one of us teacher/evaluators jumped in to evaluate the students until the evaluator showed up.

When I was evaluating students in a faraway branch, I gave myself 30 minutes extra to get there. The freeway was shut down completely due to a murder investigation. I took the detour on surface streets, and I still got to the evaluation site 15 minutes early.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#945768 - 05/24/08 03:02 PM Re: adjudicating
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
There should be a back-up.

I'm pretty upset with this. Yes, things do happen, but I feel, because things do happen, there should be a Guild Adjudicator from a close by district to jump in for these rare circumstances.

It was not a good experience for my students nor I. Too much money and time spent, on all fronts; there should have been a back-up.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#945769 - 05/24/08 04:38 PM Re: adjudicating
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I just had one additional thought - it may be that they did contact the various "back up" judges, none of whom could fill in or who already were backing up someone else, and then they asked the center coordinator if they wanted to go with "Plan B" which is what you ended up doing. You may want to discuss this more with your center coordinator to find out what discussions they actually had with Guild before firing off a letter of complaint.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#945770 - 05/24/08 07:45 PM Re: adjudicating
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Hmmm...

Our coordinator is (what I know of her) very sweet, but busy person. She has had a personal loss in her life recently, so with respect to that, I hate to bother her with this.

How to be diplomatic?

Rough situation. I think I need to talk to someone at headquarters.

Do you think email will work?

I would just like to be assured that somewhere in their rules and/or by-laws it states that students can only be adjudicated by trained guild adjudicators that are not local.

There should always be a substitiute trained Guild adjudicator if something should happen to the appointed one.

Thanks for the PM, John.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#945771 - 05/25/08 02:20 AM Re: adjudicating
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I would recommend a more formal typed letter sent by good old US Mail! That's harder to ignore!

Is your center large or small? Our center handles students from 15 to 20 teachers, so it's difficult to know what other teachers are thinking. We're a spread out lot, from all over the Puget Sound area.

Just for your info, one of the teachers who routinely uses our center is out of Seattle - she was a former WSMTA and MTNA president, and I guess she feels her students need the impartiality of a center not connected with her teaching area.

Here's a thought - you might visit the Vancouver center to see what their setup is like. If you like what you see, you might consider making that your primary audition center in the future. Even with the Portland I-5 traffic, it's probably quicker to reach than our drive from Olympia to NE Tacoma.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#945772 - 05/25/08 02:30 AM Re: adjudicating
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
originally posted by John:
"From: Boppard am Rhein (im Urlaub - 65 Geburtstag))"


John - alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#945773 - 05/25/08 05:08 AM Re: adjudicating
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Danke!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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