How would you fix SCSBOA judging?

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Post by BandAddict » Sat Nov 29, 2003 11:26 am

BariLizzy05 wrote:
BandAddict wrote: Where I feel that it WOULD help is that UNLESS the band is really bad, you should try and keep the score above the 80. In the words of many out there such as Mr. T, scores don't matter, right? Therefore, give that band an 80.1 or better. Easy breezy. These are kids. They are looking at this differently than the organization is and the organization should bend their thinking in that direction. This is how the kids in band and the parents, friends and family members all view it: One organization, (one unit) that the band is a party to or signed up with, however you phrase it, and they compete in that organization's tournaments week to week by that organization's choice of judges. It is viewed simply and innocently that way and rightfully so. And being such, scores are expected to go up.......NOT PLACEMENT, mind you. I do not care if 89 wins Sweeps one week and the next week the same band gets 94 and places 6th. That's cool! All bands improve from week to week and the scores should reflect that.

And if a band has a low score from the week before, aren't I going to have an opinion about that band before they even play one note?

Nope....if you don't know what that other judges 80 means to that judge, then you don't have an opinion one way or the other. You just have a marker to go by to ensure a higher score, albeit, the score may be higher by .01 or maybe 1.3....just make sure it's higher (go by your marker.)

These are high school kids. Why are they being asked to "think about it this way" when it is a natural instinct to initially think that the scores go up as the weeks progress? .

Doesn't seem fair, somehow. We all have bad performances.

It is so rare that a band's performance goes down as the season goes on. It may stay the same or only incease by a hair but go down??? I don't think so.

Re judges who haven't worked with competing bands:

If you're good enough to become a judge, you work with a lot of bands, period. Should a judge be someone who never leaves their own band program?

At champions in SD, there was a judge there from another state, Texas, I believe. If you think there aren't people on the panel who are a bit bias, you are kiddin' yourself............welcome to the world of's everywhere you look nowadays!

SCSBOA already has a VERY firm policy in place regarding ethics in judging. I can't remember the exact policy, but there is a time frame in which you cannot judge a band you have worked with.

At some point we have to trust that people will do the right thing.
I really don't know what to say anymore at this point. All I know is the bottom line and that is this: A lot of the kids in these high school marching bands are so happy with themselves and their great performances but a part of them, small part for some, large part for others, is sad that they got a 93 one week and the next week they got an 89 and on the video it is obvious that their show was better. And the only answer we have for them is ......................well, you know the answer already. Need I repeat it?

Scoring matters.........heck, you don't get a metal without the highest score, right? Everyone wants that darn metal that everyone says is not really what is important.?????????????????? Arghhhhhhhhh!

It's NOT rare that a bands score will go down during the season. Arlington's score went down, Bellflower, La Puente, Glendora, even Hart's score went down. My god my bands score went down by 3.65 friggin points!!! Mira Mesa's scores went down, Murrieta Valley's, Carlsbad's... look at the score sheet for SCSBOA and you will find that it's not very rare for a bands score to go down. Some bands scores may go down and continue going down, but it's not the judges fault(s)! Just because you score an 80 at one competition, does not necessarily mean that you will score an 80 or higher at the next competition. Just because you've improved, does not necessarily mean your score will improve. Sure, it'd be nice if it did, but you must remember. Judges are also judging the improvement of the bands you are competiting against. Not only yours. So if you beat a band one week, and then they beat you the next, then maybe they just worked harder that week then you and managed to improve just enough. There's not much you can do about it except work harder and get better.

I'd rather go from 6th to 4th and have my score drop then get that metal. Cuz it felt good to know that my band worked hard enough to beat out those 2 other bands, even if our score went down, and even if it was just two bands. That told us right there that we improved. That our hard work paid off. Sure it wasn't what we were praying for, cuz like you said, everyone goes in hoping for 1st, but only one band can get it. And congratulations to them because they kick a**.

How do you know if judges are bias or not? How do you know if a judge goes in saying, oh I hate this band, last place for them. But then again how do I know they don't, right? Because this is the world of politics. No one knows for sure what goes on in those press boxes except for the judges themselves... and anyways, that's like a kid going to his mom and saying his grades are bad because the teacher hates him. Sure the judge might hate ya, but it's not his place to give your band a bad score just for that reason, just as your teacher's not gonna give ya a bad grade just because she hates ya.

If your whole season, your goal is to get that stupid metal, then man, ARGH to you!

I'm not after the medal.....that's a typical misconception.

Your season should be based on being your best. Having the best shows. Beating out that band that you've wanted to beat for almost ever! Placing higher then you ever thought possible. Not some stupid metal. Scores are what get you that metal, placing is what brings a smile to a kids face at compeitions. For a band to get 3rd a comp and then 2nd at the next, they jump up and scream and are happy because they went up. and then they might get 1st at the next comp, and then they jump up and yell and smile and some even cry. Not because of the score, but because they beat out all of the bands they were going up against and they felt happy.

How do you know they ACTUALLY REALLY TRULY beat out the other bands? And does it really matter, as you say? As you and other say, the judges are human........flawed...........and scoring flucuates and has not a shred of consistency for which to base improvement upon, which is, as I'm told, not the point. Why are you yelling and screaming and crying when you place first when you don't know if you really are first and deserve it based on your own words and assessment of the entire judging process???

It's about ranking so I take it, then, that each night's competition is being looked at as a whole and the judges have to decide who is best (highest ranking) for that competiton. Okay....makes sense. Now I get it. A band is not being scored on their own merit but instead they are being judged COMPARITIVELY that one night against the other bands in that division. Is that accurate? Thereby, the flucuation in the score number?

There is obviously a mind-set here and I can understand that mind-set.

I think my only comment is that it would still be nice and seemingly more sensical if scores went up from week to week. And I understand that that goes against the reasoning of the mind-set incorporated by the organization BUT the kids view the scores as a reflection of their improvement; regardless of what their directors tell them.
Quite frankly, a lot of the parents feel the same way. Call it human it common sense. Oh, well, it is what it is and cannot be changed by me nor anyone else willing to voice their opinions.

I still think (as do many others) that Chino and RBV were ripped off at Championships............their rankings were dead wrong.......and that is not whining.....that is a band person who watched stating their opinion and judgement. Period. And anyone who criticizes that, should not be harsh in criticizing those of us who criticize the judging.

And if this has happened to you, then you know what it's like. And if you don't, then this is the feeling you should be working for. But I'm pretty sure that every band out there knows what it's like to beat out another band and just feel great about it.

Here's an example: Rancho Bernardo performed out of order at the Vista Tournament and were creamed by Rancho Buena Vista. Rancho Bernardo scoring 90 and Rancho Buena Vista scoring a 92. Everyone was floored. And most people's comments were that RB only lost to RBV because they played out of order so they could make it to their Home Coming. They performed after the 4a division and before the 5a. Should RBV be happy they beat out RB? Did RBV really do better than RB, who are known to be virtually flawless and haven't lost to RBV in years? I mean, RB did out rank RBV the following two weeks. I think anyone can say anything they want to say to explain this away but the minds of all are still puzzled and wondering.....therein lies the problem thus the controversy...................

It's the judges jobs to give you these placings and to help you..
placings don't help improve a band. I've seen bands improve tremendously, even more so than the other bands and place poorly the following week.

I don't understand that comment. How does placement help you when it's so different from week to week? You can improve tremendously but you are being "ranked," which means you are being compared to other bands in your division that night and the judges are saying, "You rank number whatever tonight." You are being compared to the other bands that night and ranked accordingly for just that evening. How does your ranking help improve you the next week? Doesn't make sense.

If it were their job to make everyone feel all horrible, then I'm pretty sure there'd be more of a discussion. And mistakes happen, but life goes on.

If all you think about is the score you get, and you get all pissed off when it goes down. Then geez, don't sit here complaining about, if you care so much about it, then you better be doing something to bring it back up instead of saying that it was wrong for it to go down, or it should've happened.[/quote]

That's the point.......BINGO!!! I've seen bands "do something about it." I've seen them critique the "rough" spots of their shows and greatly improve and it did nothing for them in regards to ranking or scoring. Thus, the controversy. Get it?

And for those of you who belittle the trophies.........GIVE ME A BREAK. Let's try and keep it honest and real, shall we??? If you or anyone for that matter, go to a competition, you ALWAYS hope to be the one who goes home with the big trophy. It's the "so-called" losers (never is there a loser in my mind) who always deemphasizes the love and desire of the trophy.

Let it be said that I'm not whining.....I'm sort of playing devil's advocate as well I can see both sides of the coin. Too bad both sides cannot come to a happy medium....I mean, this isn't major league baseball and the World Series for Pete's sake. It's H.S. marching band competition..........

Thanks to all the bands for a wonderful and highly enjoyable season.

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Post by BandAddict » Sat Nov 29, 2003 11:51 am

Teever wrote:Every time I read one of these threads I am amazed at how ignorant most of the posting population here is of the judging process and simple mathematics. I am also disheartened by the fact that your directors have mislead you into believing that your number from one show to the next will ALWAYS be relevant, and that you can expect anyone else to be able to measure your own group's improvement better than you can.

The judges job is to 1) Rank, 2) Rate, and 3) Evaluate (in that order) each performance based on the extent to which it meets the criteria listed for each caption. The judge's job is not to insure that your numbers satisfy your ego or encourage self esteem - that is your director's job to interpret this information as it applies to a particular event or to your group's progress. It would seem natural for your scores to go up as the season goes on, and for many groups, that is exactly what happens. A more precise determination of your progress, however, would be to examine the criteria that each judge has highlighted (yes, that's a requirement for each SCSBOA judge) on the back of your score sheets. You should see a progression upward from show to show.

Unfortunately, many directors completely ignore this fact and, rather than isolating elements of their program that are indicated as needing improvement, will focus only on the numbers as their indicators of progress. This is very foolish indeed.

Someone threw out the suggestion of giving all bands a score no lower than an 80. Imagine your typical 24 band tournament. Your top band isn't going to score a 100 (ok, in your dreams they might), so let's say, a 98 is the best score. Well folks, that only leaves 18 other numbers to be shared by 23 bands. Yes, you can go down to tenths and hundreds, as some scores now do, but to try to fit all of those bands into that small of a range, and considering that their are 3 - 6 SETS of numbers that must be added up to create the total score, you're asking for a level of mathematical wizardry that will never happen in the 2 minutes the judge has to determine a number. You must utilize a wide range of points to properly rank a large amount of bands. This predicament also explains why larger tournaments generally produce a wider range of scores.

Finally, to the guy who got the same "persussion" judge for 4 shows in a row (and that is a lot - dunno what the odds are on that, but I bet it has to do with the region your shows tend to be in) - if the guy liked your show, but your scores didn't go up at some point, and a line who scored lower at a previous show finally scored higher, guess what? Your show didn't improve (in the long run) as much as theirs did. Does that seem a little weird to you?

Last word here - at any judged or officiated contest - whether it's a ball game, a talent show, or a field tournament, there's always gonna be a large percent of the audience (usually 45 - 50%) who doesn't agree with the umpire, referee, or judge's decision, and doesn't think he/she saw things the right way. You know what, sometimes those people are right, and most times they're wrong, but that's how the game is played.

Be a good sport and stop arguing that the umpire's blind when the game's already over.

First off, you reference an old post of mine and you did so inaccurately. Let me set the record straight.

In regards the the "score of 80," my hypothetical was that if, for example, Chino socred an 80 one week, the judges the following week should be told that so they have a marker to go by to "ensure" that they get a higher score, albeit, an 80.01 or higher.....this encourages bands and let's them know their improvements are noticed.

BUT..........let me say that I understand now that that is less possible to do in light of the understanding I have that judging is done not based on the individual merits of the band but instead it is based on where they rank that particular night IN COMPARISON to the other bands performing in their division, which doesn't seem to be a possible task in light of many, many factors!


I have yet to see a band not improve from week to week..............

:idea: I know: Why not try this: As soon as the first band that performs in their division finishes their performance, the judges announce that band's score!


The next band comes out to perform. As soon as that band is finished, the judges announce that band's score.

SO ON AND SO FORTH................


at the end, the winner is announced and the trophies given and the surprise awards would be Best Percussion, Visual, GE......etc...etc.

I like that idea because it seems fair.....Like, what it is is what it is.
It's as if the judges would be saying, "On their own merit as a 6a division band, that band's performance scores a number of (add number)." Period.

I like that idea. :idea: Anyone else?

Thank you to everyone for a fantastic field show competition season. It was fun and you all RANK NO. 1 to me :lol:

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Post by Lizzy05 » Sat Nov 29, 2003 12:16 pm

Sorry but I'm going to say one more thing:

When I said the judges place you and help you, I didn't say they place you TO help you. The helping part was meant for the deal with the tapes and their thoughts on what needs to be worked on.

Teever, you asked what about the non "metal" bands, and I'll tell you the honest to God truth. I have no idea how to answer that. I've thought it over and have come up with many ideas, but I cannot say.

Now I'm trying to see all points of views here. Mine, BandAddicts, Teever's, BDinkels...everyone's. Some points are the same and some are, well, not. I personally believe that the judges are doing one hell of a job and there's nothing that needs to actually improve on their part. Though people differ from me. Some believe that the judges ways of, well, judging needs to be changed. Change the system of it or the whole process. Get out of state judges, give scores right after they perform...hell! Why not just have the crowd themselves judge the competition. That way everyone will leave the judges alone. Look, all I'm saying, and please, leave my words at this, you try being up in that press-box and try juding a competition. I personally have never tried it, but I pretty damn sure it's not as easy as some people are making it out to be, and I'm not pointing out anyone inparticular. So...yeah...
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Post by jrichmond68 » Sat Nov 29, 2003 6:20 pm

I would fix SCSBOA judging with hundred dollar bills and my associate "Mikey Donuts" them off or theaten thier lives; either way....

/didn't read the thread

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Post by BttrDrummerThanU » Sun Nov 30, 2003 10:02 pm

Ok, I feel it is about time for me to put in my 2 cents. The topic being "How would you fix SCSBOA judging?" Here we go!!! HOLD ON!!

I would not change it.....just try and ensure that judges are consistent.

More judge workshops. Right now to become a judge you have to go through an apprenticeship (spelling?). I believe that if we want "fair and consistent" judges more is required. More workshops. Maybe "mock" comps for those "soon-to-be-judges". These mock comps can be done by High Quality Video/Sound. You may be thinking....."yeah, sure, video". But then you want SCSBOA to pay to Bus out 20 bands for a mock competition.

The second thing we can do: I know Press Boxes are small and it gets cramped. But....if you are a judge or "judge-in-training" and you have a free comp day (i.e. your bands not performing, and no serious plans) you should be up in a press box at a tournament assigned by SCSBOA. Not as one of the official judges, but as an "alternate judge" and as practice, just to keep those observation and listening skills up.

Do these things take time? Yes they do....but, if we want judges to be fully trained then it's necessary. The 5 hours at each SCSBOA conference isn't enough to cover all judging rules/regulations/practice.

And last....maybe more specific score sheets? The I-V thing is a great idea....but there is a pretty large point spread in those categories. We could break it down even more specifically.

And, if personnel allows, maybe a larger judges panel to watch specfics. (i.e. more than one visual judges. 1 to focus on technique and form development, 1 for other stuff)

Basically it needs to be as Error free and specific as possible so we know one judge at Savanna and another judge the same day at Wherever are rating consistently based on what they are hearing and seeing (not using a comparison scale).


Most SCSBOA judges are also educators. Some people who are currently students may not understand, but being a Music Director is not a hobby, or a job, it's a LIFE. These directors that work so hard for us don't work a 40 hour work week. They put in more time (and money) then you will ever understand. Now, if we want these great educators to not go insane and not have a breakdown or burnout, we must allow them to have a personal life ("What? huh? Band Director? Personal Life? Really?") Yes, we must allow them some personal time. If we ask them to do all these crazy things....(i.e. more training, etc...) We make take fantastic directors and burn them out faster.

Now much do we really want our SCSBOA fees to be? How much do we really want admission into a comp to be? Think about that.


It's never gonna be perfect. You're not always gonna be happy. As far as the post about making it mandatory for scores to go up each comp. Nope....then we would have judges "holding points". And second, i HAVE seen bands that have not gotten better week to week. I've seen bands get worse.


Just a thought, maybe instead of using the two highest score thing. We could do one of two things:

1) like someone else suggested, a qualifying round for all bands that think they have a shot

2) Forget it, I had a second Idea, but decided it was stupid and wouldn't work.

That's it.... i'm done.



Post by CrimsonCadetClarinet » Sun Nov 30, 2003 10:24 pm

Forgive me for not reading all 4 long pages of this topic but,

If we import judges from otter states..... how is it still the

and check out my band olympic topic

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Post by SafeSax » Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:36 pm

SCSBOA are getting some awesome and some sucky judges. GET THE AWESOMW ONES!!!! Also the judging is much harder that other organizations. Judgse...try to be a little easier.
The field at school is the Marching Band's field, not footballs.

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Post by Teever » Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:18 pm

BandAddict -
You're over 40 and still showing up for band shows - cool! We appreciate your support of the medium. I'm glad you pay attention to shows enough to notice improvement from show to show - not many people will actually sit in the stands for the entire show without getting paid to do so (not even many competing bands or directors!). While there are several factors which can effect a band's performance from show to show , here are just a few that seem to come up most often:
1) Added content - While some bands have their entire show together at their first comp, many will not, and will add material by their second or third show (I've seen some in mid December that still weren't finished!). While this added content gives closure to the show, it is often not performed at the level of the previously learned portions of the show the first time it's performed; hence, scores in this case drop after the first show.
2) Peaking too early - in contrast to the above example, some bands come out the first week of October with the entire program complete and clean, and it's a pleasure to hear/see. The problem is, it's difficult to maintain this quality over the 2 month season, especially if the students (or director!) are ready to move on to new material by November, so shows can lose their edge.
3) Tunnel vision - sometimes, a band will work very hard to overcome and improve one or more very noticeable aspects of their show (say, ens. visual for instance), while still not giving consistent attention to other less noticable (to the audience) yet important aspects (say, playing in tune with characteristic tone quality).
As a fan, you want all the bands to do well and improve, and you tend to look at the big picture. Keep in mind that, when you're focused on just a detailed part of an ensemble's performance though, it's often easier to see both the improvements and the flaws.

Finally, Lizzy or some others may have confused the issue (no offense meant here), but bands are typically compared to a set of CRITERIA first so that numbers can be assigned to each caption - numbers are not assigned on "how they did in relation to band X". Sorry if I misquoted your scoring concept, but I think we understand each other on that point (no pun intended!) now.

Personally, I love the concept of giving out the scores right after each performance - maybe olympic style using numbers on cards - I think that'd be a hoot! With some bands, I'd even want to put the number up as soon as possible. How about toying with the concept of playing the judge's comments live, rather than on tape? You know, kind of a play-by-play through the PA system? This could get way outta hand.

Lizzie, consider this: Would just metal bands get the medals?

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Post by SafeSax » Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:12 pm

I'm sorry about my reply in this topic. My music director and my fellow students have no reflection on what i have said. I apologize to the judge that judged our music and all the rest of the people that this reply affected. It was wrong and i will never do it again. I took this judging personally and i know i shouldn't have. It's very unlikely for me to say these things and i now understand that the judges judge their own way i no one can change that. I hope this won't affect the future FT's and i hope that you will forgive me for my actions. :(
The field at school is the Marching Band's field, not footballs.

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