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What the Music Judges Discussed at Category School

NOTE: Every three years, all Society judges and candidate judges wishing to certify are required to attend Category School. Held during the three days prior to Harmony University, judges and judging candidates receive instruction and testing; they also officially acquire, maintain or lose their certification. Category School is also the point in which any formal tweaks to the scoring or interpretation of the rules are formalized and calibrated among all judges. All tweaks, shifts in focus, or other modifications are based on the prior three year's feedback from competitors, judges, audiences, Society leaders and others.

Below is a summary of the adjustments discussed by the Music judges, presented by Music Category Specialist  Jim Kahlke. The Music category had fewer changes than others due to the higher number of changes implemented during the previous cycle.

The Music category has changed little in the way the competitors interact with us for scoring. The barbershop style, as defined, remains the same. We shifted our focus slightly in thinking more about the songs we compete with globally, as opposed to a laser focus on chord-by-chord analysis, though we reinforced that skill as well. We resolved some differences in the way various terms in the Music Category Description are being handled in evaluations.

Rather than just noting and evaluating performances errors, we added a couple of items to our scoring sheets to remind us that the singers are trying to cause something to happens in the hearts of their audiences. We also studied closely the interactions we have with our competitors in evaluations, and how we could help them better, or just get out of their way. And finally, we looked at ways we, as the Society "Music Masters," could help Society members and the world to enjoy the wonders of barbershop harmony through better Music adjudication, education, and celebration.

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