Adjudicator Preparation

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 how I prepare.



Repertoire lists

If possible, I like to request ahead of time, a list of the repertoire entered. I find it nice to have a little heads-up so I can jump online and refresh my memory on the pieces. As I’m watching and listening, I try to think through my own thoughts about the piece and elements I may look for when the student performs. To me, this is simply being mindful of what’s to come.



I skim through some of my favorite articles I’ve found over the last few years as a reminder of what it means to be a good judge.

Marcia Vahl wrote three excellent articles on Compose Create:


Also check out:



I take my own pack of half a dozen pencils (this year it’s the Blackwing pencils recommended by Diane Hidy) and a small quiet hand pencil sharpener. I struggle with messy handwriting so I really have to work to write neatly and for me, that means erasing quite a bit and always having a sharp pencil to grab!


Adjective sheets

I print out a copy of adjective sheets to have in front of me in case I get stuck for words. 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. It’s nice to simply look over them prior to starting to get the “comment juices” flowing.

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. Dine Hidy also has a nice thesaurus.


Referencing from year to year

I use Evernote for everything! 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.




For more on how I use Evernote, see my post:


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