As we venture into the competition season, I feel that this topic needs to be discussed. I have often been asked this question by parents, students, and even the occasional colleague. My response is always the same – Yes!
We are a performance driven activity. We attend competitions for a reason – right? There are some out there that go to festivals instead of competition, but honestly it is still a competition. I often wonder why we call it a festival when the judges keep score and a recap is given out.
Whether you compete or attend festivals, the judges play an important part. They are trusted (or should be) sources in their respected fields to evaluate our product. Their job is to evaluate and correctly place us in order of first to last. However, I believe that should be secondary in the early part of the season. They give us the feedback we need to improve our programs to grow throughout the year.
I have often looked to a few people to give my programs some “good reads” when they were judging. These were experienced judges who gave great comments and suggestions for the program. They were also very honest and would see me out if they saw something that really needed my attention.
When You listen to your tapes, or MP3s , do you listen with a defensive attitude? Do you discount their opinions and make excuses for your group? Do you let your kids listen to the tapes?
We need to get our egos out-of-the-way when listening to tapes. The judges read and comment in real-time. As someone who has judged in the past, judges tend to get sidetracked on a comment occasionally. Just remember that they are commenting while evaluating on the performance that is still going on. If we don’t make perfect sense, come and ask them to clarify the comment.
If you have not considered playing tapes for your kids, please do so. This can be a good learning experience for them and help them to goal set for the next series of rehearsals. Have them write down both positive and negative comments that the judges made. Have them evaluate the comments and set priorities to clean those issues. As a rule of thought, if more than one judge comments on what is going on, you should probably take a look at it more closely.
My final caveat is in regards to less experienced judges. Sometimes we do get a bad tape from a judge who didn’t quite understand the production. This may be due to the height of the box or placement of the judge. When this happens, don’t discount the judge’s opinion. Try to understand what they were seeing, Maybe you will find something that really does need to be fixed. I have found that having a video of the show and playing it along with the tape makes a huge difference in assessing the judges’ comments.
Share your thoughts below… What are some things you would add to this topic?