Adjudicating: 5 Tips for Preparing Ahead of Time

As I am making preparations to adjudicate tomorrow at one of our Indiana districts for our state competition, Hoosier Auditions, I thought I would briefly share some tips on how to prepare.


#1 Obtain A Repertoire list

If possible, request ahead of time, a list of the repertoire entered. If you have a little heads-up, it’s nice to be able to jump online and your memory on the pieces ahead of time.

As your watching and listening, try to think through specifics regarding the piece and elements you may look for when the student performs. To me, this is simply being mindful of what’s to come.


#2 Do a Little Reading

Read through a few articles online on what it means to be a good judge.
Marcia Vahl wrote three excellent articles on Compose Create:


Also, check out:


#3 Bring Sufficient Tools

Take your own pack of half a dozen pencils (I often use the Blackwing Matte Pencils I first saw recommended by Diane Hidy) and a small quiet hand pencil sharpener.

If you’re like me and struggle with messy handwriting, that may a good eraser and plenty of pencils are a must!


#4 Arm Your Vocabulary

Print out a copy of adjective sheets to keep nearby in case you get stuck for words.

The first is Ways to Say Good Job (once again, by Marcia Vahl – I guess she really knows what she’s doing!) and the second one is a Teaching Adjectives document I found years ago but I can’t recall where I obtained it. Diane Hidy also has a nice thesaurus.

Honestly, I usually have to write so quickly I don’t even have time to look at the sheets but it’s reassuring to have them on hand. Even if you don’t take it with you, it’s nice to at least look over them prior to get the “comment juices” flowing.


#5 Keep a Reference Sheet

Designate one location for all of these items whether it’s bookmarking this article, saving a document titled “Adjudicator Preparation” and listing all of these links, or by using Evernote (like I do!)

I save each item or link as a separate note and tag each as “judging”. I can then recall everything in one place whether it’s an article, a pdf, or a note from myself, all in one nice tidy reference for next year.

(Click on the image to view it closer.)



For a tutorial on how to use Evernote in this way, check out the video series.



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