Judges Academy2Band parents will often sit at marching competitions, watch an entire day of shows, and then leave somewhat mystified at the scores and placements assigned by the judges. Dr. Joe Allison, one of the creators of the Marching Roundtable Judges Academy, has been stopped numerous times by parents at contests who comment that they have “absolutely no idea” how the judges decide the scores the bands receive. And why would they? There is no curriculum or training for parents on how the assessment systems work or how the bands are adjudicated….until now!

Dr. Allison, along with Tim Hinton from the Marching Roundtable podcast, has created a new online course of judges training and assessment education called the Marching Roundtable Judges Academy. The judges training course is also an education in assessment because it explains the judging process in a way that would be helpful to those who aren’t specifically planning to judge. The information included in the Judges Academy could be useful to band directors, designers, instructors, administrators, band parents and spectators!

Band parents taking the course would learn about the history of judging, how the judging system changed to a “build-up system” that we use today, and why the act of judging is a worthwhile and highly respectable endeavor. There is great information about how the judge assesses the “what” and the “how” of a band’s performance. There is also a detailed explanation of how judges assign scores and rate and rank units. There’s even an interesting explanation of how judges can talk and listen at the same time, and how they create the helpful comments on recordings they share with the bands.

All of these topics in the Judges Academy course are clearly expressed in a way that a band parent could understand. The presentation of the Judges Academy is conversational, with colorful and engaging videos, plus assessments to check your progress and understanding.

Pre-registration for the course opened on May 15. The course will launch on Thursday, May 29. The Inaugural Class will be limited to 30 students. After the first 30 students are signed up, all others who are interested will be allowed to pre-register for the next openings as they become available. Tuition for the class is comparable to other online and college courses.

Each participant is assigned a mentor who is a master judge in the pageantry arts. Their mentor will interact with the participant to help them understand these basic skills and principles of judging. The mentors for the inaugural class are Dr. Joe Allison, Wayne Markworth, Ken Snoeck, and Jackie Gilley.

Many of the pageantry arts’ most experienced icons have agreed to lend their talents to the Judges Academy by serving as content creators, mentors and/or serving on its Board of Advisors, including: Greg Bimm, Michael Gaines, Bob Buckner, Dr. Harry Bulow, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, Bob Morrison, Dr. John Wade, and Alfred Watkins.

More information about the Judges Academy can be found at the Judges Academy website. At the website you’ll find helpful videos explaining the coursework, who could benefit from it, and even a sample video with examples taken directly from the coursework. You can also find Frequently Asked Questions and information about the creators, mentors, and advisory board for the course.

Don’t sit in the stands “in the dark” about the judging process. Now there’s a way to learn how it works, what the judges are looking for, and how they rank and rate the groups. This knowledge will allow any band parent to enjoy the performances more and feel more satisfied with the outcomes, having an understanding of the assessment process used by the judges. Find out more at www.judgesacademy.com!