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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:48 am 
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I agree with Ken's idea about possibly rethinking the weighting of "what" vs "how well," but I disagree wholeheartedly with anyone who believes "what" should not be evaluated and only "how well." I believe this because I feel that not giving any weight to demand or difficulty opens the pandora's box of pushing down the difficulty simply for achievement to be stronger. I always relate things to math: which is more impressive...the kid getting an A in pre-algebra, or the kid getting a B in AP Calculus? If we had to "rank" those kids achievements against each other....who wins?

I also never understand the arguments against visual judging or the argument that the best playing band should always win regardless of the visual package present or lack thereof. When it comes down to it, this is Marching band....the visual aspects are an inherent part of what makes it different than simply going to a concert and listening to well played music. Like was mentioned earlier, a concert staging of a musical is nowhere near the same as the full blown production. If we want to simply ignore the visual aspects of marching band and focus solely on the music...why even march at all? A football field in who knows what kind of weather is obviously not an ideal concert venue....

We also have to constantly remind ourselves this is a subjective activity. There is no definitive "best" violinist in the world, people have vastly different opinions of some "top" performers (Lang Lang comes to mind) and so on.


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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:25 pm 
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I think there are two very interesting discussion now on-going...

- Are marching band shows becoming more like WGI, and...

- The weighting of What vs How well

To the former, not to disparage the great shows coming from Key Poulan, Gary Gilroy, Randall Stanbridge, et al... some of the most up and coming marching band show writers have their roots firmly planted in the WGI world (Box 6, wunderpitmusic, etc.) And locally in southern CA, many of the current show writers are primarily percussion folk, from my experience. And these shows, IMO, tend to follow a model very similar to WGI shows. Even some of the latest DCI shows follow these models. Some have said that the amount of brass time in say a Blue Devils show is vastly less than in a Phantom, or Madison show.

To the latter, that is one of the things I like about the USBands A class sheets for effect. The What/Design (vocabulary) is 25% of the score, where the How Well/Student Achievement (excellence) is 75%. I've found that this rewards those who are trying to stretch themselves. It almost seems like there needs to be a third grading area, on the directors/designers, versus the students. In circuits with critiques, it is "easy" to talk directly to the adults and say things like, that's too much, or it's time to ask the students to do more, especially with feedback from the adults about things like training, rehearsal time, age, etc. But when judges have to convey sometimes conflicting information, to students and adults simultaneously, in a single commentary, something's gotta give.

Are we asking judges to do too much?

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:51 pm 
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The comments made by Magic Sax concerning those of us who do not support the Visual emphasis show a distinct difference that is now starting to split up the Marching Band Movement in this nation. A few thoughts
1. If playing was not the prime reason for the Bands performance on the field, Then why do the folks not leave the Stadium when the Pride of Buckeyes takes the field, or The Spirit of Troy, or the M Band at Michigan, or the Tiger Band from LSU, or many other university Bands take the field. The truth is MUSIC is what it is about, and I challenge any of you to spend time at HS Stadiums watching many of the current shows and tell me how the crowd that pays the freight think of your visual performances.

2. In the last three years, numerous organizations and State School music programs such as the following have sprung up to encourage Bands to perform on the field with less emphasis on the heavy visual requirements, which to many schools have made the cost of doing marching contests very expensive.

Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Assn MICCA. They started two years ago to provide contests different from the New England Scholastic Band Association. This year they even had a finals event. Bands advanced by receiving superior ratings. They now have more Bands attending their events than the Competitive Circuit.

Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. Several years ago then began holding Marching Performance Assessments for all the Bands and attendance is much higher there than many of the Invitational Events held in VA.

Michigan Band and Orchestra Association. Their districts are starting to host Marching Festivals using Music Standards developed by the National Federation of High Schools.

Georgia Music Educators Association. One in three Band Contests during the Marching Season is a Rated Contest and not Ranked. This is growing.

Louisiana Music Educators Association. Currently five of the 9 sistricts in LA now have Marching Performance Assessments. Next years all 9 districts will follow those currently hosting contests.

Ohio Music Educators Association. With the Help of Music Department of the Ohio State University and the Buckeye Marching Band, Ohio hosts 63 Rated Contests. Bands advance to the State Championship based on Superior Ratings at these 63 contests.

This is only the start. The heavy emphasis on expensive and shows that most folks will not watch a second time have lead to this. Interestingly enough in each of the states mentioned, Music is the Highest Score required. After All we are Bands that March. The motto of the Pride of Buckeyes. They do not need props to do their shows.

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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:03 pm 
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JLGORMAN,

I don't think anyone is stating that music is not the primary part of the marching band. But using your example and looking at Ohio State, visual is obviously a big part of that half-time show, including in their case, tarps, smoke effects, and pyrotechnics.

"In the last three years, numerous organizations and State School music programs such as the following have sprung up to encourage Bands to perform on the field with less emphasis on the heavy visual requirements..."

I'm not reading the same reasons as you are. Yes, all of the organizations listed utilize festival ratings as opposed to placements. I certainly have no problem with that. BUT...score poorly in the visual and visual effect captions, and there goes that I/Superior. And as I read the sheets for the majority of those organizations, things such as pacing, originality, displaying the music, dynamics of body motion are as much a part of those sheets as they are in BOA, WBA, and any of the CA circuits.

Even the Effect sheets do not refer to props, their use of lack of them, in any of mentioned circuits. So, it's not the association, or method of judging that is the impetus.

That's not to say that you are incorrect that there is an over-emphasis, or possibly over-reliance of these in some locations. And in fact, I will acknowledge that that happens here in CA a great deal.

But Festival ratings do not, IMO, elevate the quality of musical performance by their very nature more so than rankings. I believe that is far more a function of the director and the culture of the school.

"This is only the start. The heavy emphasis on expensive and shows that most folks will not watch a second time have lead to this. Interestingly enough in each of the states mentioned, Music is the Highest Score required. After All we are Bands that March. The motto of the Pride of Buckeyes. They do not need props to do their shows."

Again, I believe this is conjecture more than direct correlation. And in looking at the sheets, I do not believe that in all cases music is weighed more heavily than visual. It definitely is in VA. And the sheets, or lack of them from LA is kinda scary. But in a number of those states, each contest only requires 3 judges... 1 music, 1 visual, 1 effect.

Does Ohio State need props? I don't believe any band does, yet, they, including the Pride of the Buckeyes, use them.

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:58 pm 
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At the risk of wading into this discussion (a most worthy discussion), I would like to point out a simple explanation for Arcadia and the lack of props or sets or anything placed on the field.

Until just recently, Arcadia has the been a group with ~350-400 performers occupying the finite space of a football field. Props and/or sets would just get in the way.

Now being a simple answer, we should tread cautiously, because simple answers are often wrong.

As an old Arcadian, I prefer to believe that the actual reason is that the music and the marching matter more than advancing a particular theme.

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 Post subject: Re: SCSBOA 6A Field Championship Predictions?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:49 pm 
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I would agree with the writers conclusion about the size of the Arcadia Band making the use of Props very difficult. I went back and looked at th e 2016 UIL Region and Area Contest of the Allen Eagle Escadrille with their 720 members and they also did not use props. In fact the size of the Flags Team was almost more than was needed. I think the writer is correct, the football field can only hold so many people and items. I cannot speak for the Arcadia folks, but I know that Allen would not sacrifice Marchers for Props. I hope the Arcadia folks think the same way.

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