Adjudicators and Adjudication

We’re really proud of the guest music educators that adjudicate your groups each year.  Because Forum Festivals was founded by music educators, the individuals who “judge” your ensembles are very important to us and should be important to you and your students.

Adjudicators are selected based on several key criteria:

  1. Experience
    Members of our adjudication team possess a solid history of successful music programs. Many have college-level experience, but they worked their way up through younger grades to the college level.  They know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a middle school or high school director.
  2. Attitude.
    Forum Music Festivals is a supportive festival company.  Judges are required to provide constructive feedback.   If an adjudicator feels something isn’t right, he or she should tell the director how to fix the problem.  Being positive and affirming is key!  We are trying to encourage young musicians, not discourage their efforts.
  3. Written and digital recordings.
    Judges should write comments that reflect the major points made on the digital recording. Recordings are used in the classroom as a teaching tools, so comments should address both the director AND the students.
  4. National music standards.
    Adjudication is based on national music standards, but adjudicators want to know about unusual circumstances, disadvantages, or situations that can shape your performance.  For example, does your class meet daily or once or twice per week?  Is your program in a “building” year with fewer returning than new students?  Are there funds for an accompanist or to purchase music scores & instruments, or to finance instrument repair?  Have significant changes occurred with directors or students? The ensemble is still adjudicated according to proper standards for their grade and age, but knowing your situation allows the adjudicator to offer ideas based on your group’s budget or needs.
  5. Collaboration.
    Adjudicators on our festival team confer with each other to provide the best feedback designed for your group’s growth.  By collaborating, they select students or sections from each ensemble for the Outstanding Musicianship Award. The judges select these students as beneficiaries of an unbiased assessment based on the performance itself.  Directors usually appreciate having this role shifted to the judges.

Our goal is to partner with you to provide a little inspired motivation to keep kids in music!  And we’re inspired by the professionals who not only learned something along their own musical journey, but also wish to share their expertise and encouragement with young music students and directors.