What An Equipment Judge Is Looking For In Your Show……

| January 23, 2012 | 2 Comments

Often times, as I am sitting in the stands during a break in a contest, I get many questions from the spectators seated around me.  They vary from “what are you doing?” and “how do you sit that long?” to “do you really have to talk through the entire performance?”   Undoubtedly, at some point in the day, I will get the “what are you looking for” question.  My response, in a nutshell, is to tell them that as the Equipment Judge, I am looking at what the performers’ are doing, how well they are doing it and providing them with comments specifying both strengths and weaknesses to assist in improving the program or the performance.  This answer usually satisfies most audience members, but guard instructors and directors… not so much.  So it begs the question, what are Equipment Judges looking for when we watch your guard perform?

First and foremost, as judges, we are tasked with ranking and rating the given groups in a particular class as well as providing educational and articulate commentary on their show.  In the A Classes (both Regional A and Scholastic A), the focus is on training; therefore, I am looking for how your guard has been trained to handle the show and the vocabulary you have given them.  Are they utilizing the equipment principles of position sense, timing, spatial pathways, balance, moving through space and articulation? Are developing effort qualities (space, time, weight and flow) being shown? My attention is on the vocabulary the guard is demonstrating – which is referred to as the “what” and on the excellence they display while demonstrating those skills – which is referred to as the “how,” based on the criteria reference for that specific class.  (Class specific score sheets with the criteria reference can be found at www.wgi.org or through your local circuit association).   I am not contemplating your music selection, your costumes or your show (the “Upstairs Judges” address that); however, if there is a glaring problem that affects your guards’ equipment performance, I may make a comment regarding that.

As you work on your program, think about the following questions:  Does their training support what you are asking them to do? Are you showcasing your performer’s skills?  Have you given your guard vocabulary that is compatible with their level of training? Is there range and variety within that vocabulary? Are you utilizing effort qualities to vary the skills you have to provide greater depth and dimensionality to the vocabulary?  Are you beginning to combine equipment phrases with movement or staging? Do the equipment principles vary from member to member or are they displayed in a more uniform and consistent basis?  Does your team demonstrate that they understand muscle memory?  Do they have proper muscle development & strength to manipulate the equipment vocabulary?  Are they breathing correctly while performing?  Can they recover quickly after a drop or a break in the vocabulary? Do they show that they possess the mental and physical development necessary to perform the program?

These questions also run through my head as I view your program.  The answers to these questions determine which boxes and numbers I use to rank and rate your guard to determine placement score.  Hopefully, you are able to answer these questions with a resounding Yes!  If you can’t yet, then you may want to spend a little more time examining your program to ensure you’re setting yourself and your guard up for success.  Remember, a well-trained guard is usually a successful guard whose performers not only thrive but also have a willingness to attempt new things in order to develop skill sets that allow them to move on to the next level.

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Category: Adjudication, Competition, Design, Equipment Technique, Equipment, Floors & Props, Instruction, Latest News, Performance, Professional Development, Professional Development, Regular Blog Features

About the Author (Author Profile)

A native of Southern California, Denise has been involved within the color guard activity as a performer, director and judge for over 25 years. She has instructed at numerous color guard summer camps throughout the country and has taught at various high schools in the Southern California area. Additionally, she has worked as the guard instructor for “Hollywood’s Band,” the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. Denise has judged for Winter Guard International (WGI) and at present, judges for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), the Utah Winter Guard Association (UWGA) and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC).

Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and English from California State University Long Beach, a California professional clear teaching credential from the Graduate College of Education at CSULB and a Juris Doctor degree from American University. Denise taught in secondary education as an English Educator for ten years before moving to the collegiate level. Currently, Denise is the Career Services Manager at the University of Southern California and has also taught for the USC Marshall School of Business as well as the USC Rossier School of Education. When she is not attending USC athletic events or judging on the weekend, she spends her time in Foothill Ranch, CA where she lives with her husband and their extremely energetic four-year old son.

Comments (2)

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  1. This is AWESOME!! Thanks, Denise :)

  2. Sherri says:

    Thank you for your article. I have been involved with colorguard on many different levels for several years, but this year have been promoted to Guard Instructor/Writer. As a band junkie, I have attended (and thanks to internet-watched) many marching band programs. However, I have an idea for this year’s show that I have not seen before and I am wondering if I haven’t seen it because it’s a terrible idea? How do judges feel when the guard performs part of a song using pom’s? A piece of our music almost screams for the pom’s, but it’s at the beginning of our show and I don’t want to alienate any judges at the get go. I have been searching and can’t find any comments about this. Is using pom’s for a small portion taboo? Please help so that I don’t condem the band to a rough season!

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