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Information posted - December 2008

Focus On Achievement

As we move into the season, all of the guards should be aware of a renewed focus from the judges as to recognising and rewarding achievement. This applies to all classes; however, the Cadets, Juniors, and As will experience a definitive shift in reward as they must not be overwriting for their members. The goals for the Cadets, Juniors, and As are for the performers to thoroughly understand and to apply their training to all skills presented in their shows. The Opens are challenged to continue to be creative and to explore new ideas whilst maintaining strong training and achievement by the performers. It is a difficult task to recognise and to reward the performers' actual achievement. The judges should be speaking about both the depth of 'what' the performers are attempting and 'how' well the performers achieve those responsibilities.
For all teams: be clear, be musical, and ensure your performers achieve what is asked of them.

It doesn’t need to be overly complicated. There certainly will be a misunderstanding if the only measure of excellence is precision, pure and absolute. In reality, we often give the impression that we are judging primarily precision, especially if we don’t attempt to recognise -- or fail to recognise -- what it is that the student is doing. 

Whilst achievement has always been a part of the judging process, it is an ongoing effort to build recognition skills in order for the judges to score and to differentiate units based upon their actual achievement. For many years, the motivation for achievement as the basis of excellence was a simple premise. Units taught what they could clean beyond question. Whilst this certainly fitted the times, it also limited creativity. This is not to say that we now pay no attention to precision simply to permit unlimited creativity. Achievement is not the signal to sacrifice precision rather we do consider that there is now more understanding about what students do. Indeed, there is a certain amount of elasticity to precision. In short, precision is relative to what is being performed. 

The balance of this process is that creativity shine while the performers achieve their work with evident training, grace and consummate artistic integrity. Additionally, there is a precision that neither interferes with the emotional content nor inhibits the performers from releasing an inner energy while presenting a completely understandable concept.

For pageantry, we know that the basis of modern judging is the principle of achievement. We have often called it “derived achievement” to acknowledge the consideration of the responsibilities of the student. The score for excellence is derived from considering the responsibility while simultaneously considering the training and the precision.