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Paraphrased Thoughts on "Judging" from a newly minted 5-year Age Out


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"There's nothing wrong with judging and competition. But I was fine and would be fine in the future without it. Removing the "judging" aspect would make positive changes,  for members, staff, and administration. The staff wouldn't be up all night listening to tapes after every show painstakingly deciding on what to "pay attention to" and what to "let go" from judges in the quest for a "higher score". Judge's insights can certainly make a show better, but in the end, judges just have an opinion like everyone else on what is working and what it isn't. For members, undertaking rewrites of music, drill, etc. would be more accepted and palatable if everyone knew it was to make the show more engaging and not the possibility it was just in the name of a "higher score". For Administrations, it would allow them to focus on Instruction Staff whose primary focus is to EDUCATE members, inspire excellence, and let the chips fall where the chips fall. I can almost guarantee you that there are one or two key staffers inside each organization whose sole focus is on "winning". Winning is fun. Winning is good. But when "winning" becomes the focus of a staffer trying to boost their bonafides in the DCI ecosystem over teaching and inspiring, then we all missed something somewhere..." 

-My son, last night, after our flight home from Indy while watching the Rebroadcast on Flo-Marching. 

No...he didn't say it in THOSE words. But our conversation was in-depth enough that I can paraphrase it with mine. 

I think he's spot on the money. 

Edited by PopcornEater1963
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Without Judge feedback, scores, placements, competition, the product itself in time  would become  stale and stuck in a rut of little to no improvements , in my opinion . Pretty sure also , I would not have payed money to have marched Drum Corps in my youth if all my hard practices , sleeping on gym floors  , and long bus rides, etc  were to then do just parades and 20-25 or so exhibitions on another town’s football fields all summer . 

Edited by Boss Anova
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there has to be some standard to measure everything. Bottom line is the majority of people don't pay good money to see sporting events (in this case DCI) in the hopes that everyone just has a good time.

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3 minutes ago, Kopeck said:

there has to be some standard to measure everything. Bottom line is the majority of people don't pay good money to see sporting events (in this case DCI) in the hopes that everyone just has a good time.

I tend to agree. Then again, no one goes to an outdoor music festival with multiple bands with a scorecard in their pocket. And those events definitely charge “good money” to attend. Which would transition this conversation to “sporting event” versus “musical entertainment “. Which I believe has been discussed ad nauseum here🤪

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Most Junior Drum & Bugle Corps , for  as long as I can remember too , do both competitions AND exhibitions before the public  . Each  and every year too . The recommendation then that it should all be just exhibitions they do every summer is not something I would like to see happen . I’m pretty sure the DCI and DCA Corps themselves are not in favor of this restricted limitation in performance environments to just exhibitions either .

Edited by Boss Anova
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Being able to juggle multiple demands, under pressure, with changing priorities, and, yes, being judged (both objectively and subjectively), are all part of a quality education that prepares young people for what they’ll face as adults. The sporting aspect of drum corps is what distinguishes it from the many (easy to come by) musical exhibitions. 

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Philosophically, I mostly agree with your son and certainly the pros and cons of judging have been discussed since the initial announcement of no judging this year. 

Deep down, I think we all live and follow it all for the competition, though. I think in our sport, there's more to be said about the competitors when corps A beats corps B, even without either coming close to winning. For us BITD, we got bigger thrills out of beating DCI Associate status corps sometime during the season than we would winning a show against weaker corps. Even today on here we discuss what SOA could have done to beat Crossmen for example and neither of them had a snowball's chance of winning. 

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1 hour ago, Kopeck said:

there has to be some standard to measure everything. Bottom line is the majority of people don't pay good money to see sporting events (in this case DCI) in the hopes that everyone just has a good time.

Agreed, but the question becomes who is doing the measuring and what are their qualifications and mental state to make the decision of "whom" makes the finals show.  I have seen WAY too much weighting to scores on things that simply are not there.  With judges being people AND people being as myopic as they are, how do you figure all this out?  IMHO, there needs to be a system where people in the stands score the corps.  Let people decide who makes finals and win shows.  I know some drum corps  snobs look down on the poor "so-called" uneducated or uncivilized peasants anymore and think they know better...but at the end of the day its art and art is always subjective.  If this is not resonating I suggest boning up on the classic, "The Emperor's New Clothes".

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6 minutes ago, Mello Dude said:

I know some drum corps  snobs look down on the poor "so-called" uneducated or uncivilized peasants anymore and think they know better...but at the end of the day its art and art is always subjective.  If this is not resonating I suggest boning up on the classic, "The Emperor's New Clothes".

The rabble bourgeoisie ticket buyers. 

Edited by Terri Schehr
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