Friday, 6 March 2015

My system at work - the pointy end of the job !

A half day ! Hurrah ! I could sleep for a few more hours which is vital when one's body clock has had something of a time whack. It means I'm back at the SKH Church in Shatin feeling very human and ready for action! The (once again) empty 28 seater, bar moi, was eager to bring me so we left earlier than my 12.45 time and arrive here with an hour and a half before the class starts.

It is another In the Highlands class but only 34 girls so I should be finished in very good time. We have a working dinner at the hotel tonight when the committee tell us about any problems they have encountered, and we can air any of ours. I had no problems at all last time, but this year two of the set pieces have some printed 'alternative' notes, and the syllabus requires them to sing only the high notes. Now some teachers, schools or students have missed this and so at least half of every class have sung the incorrect notes......a headache for me when the best and obvious winner has performed incorrectly by the syllabus standards. I rang the festival office on Tuesday and asked for a ruling, as to disqualify half of every class seemed ridiculous.

I was informed that I could treat it as them simply singing 'wrong notes' and not disqualify ? Begs the question why there is such a stipulation in the first place ? Ah the quandaries of the itinerant singing teacher.

I have posted a photo of my draft mark book to show how I try to fine down these large classes into three categories - the only way which I can remotely remember how an early candidate, or one who sang two hours ago, compares with a later one. It means I have to rely on my judgement and standard evaluation of 'the moment' so to speak. This seems to be the biggest problem which the, without doubt, fine musicians who are here, but are new to the adjudication game, find so very tricky. When we are trained by the Federation in the UK this ability to quickly grasp a level of performer is paramount, and the best tool we have. It is of course easy to say, but not easy to put into practise initially, and one needs to be quite an old and grizzled exponent of this fine art, before it ever becomes easier.

I truly don't know how I would ever have coped had I not had lots of hard earned experience in UK festivals !


Three bars = Excellent

Two Bars = Placing

One Bar = A possible

D = They sang the notes Down which should have been Up !

Sometimes I write 'check' or 'yellow' that simply denotes the uniform colour or pattern. The check blouse girls seem to have a very good singing teacher because wherever I go they pop up and sing very well !

Here is the reality of the above class ! Happy girls who mostly love singing !


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