3 Tips for Adjudicating Your First Online Festival

by Jul 30, 20200 comments

It’s an exciting day – the day when you are asked to adjudicate a virtual festival for the first time! Never dreamed of the day you could listen to great recordings at home & share your feedback right there? Well with the new online music festival option from Simplissimo, this is totally possible and pretty simple as well. (See what I did there?! Ha ha!) Now before you get started, let’s talk about 3 tips that will help everything go really smoothly from the start.


Check out your adjudicator dashboard.

First take a look at your dashboard. When you log in as a judge, you’ll see a list of assigned students and a column where finished check marks will appear after you submit your comments. Navigating around this list is simple, just click on each student to view their video submission, scanned music uploads & add your comments below. Some judges like to come back to review their comments before submitting so make sure you don’t click the “SUBMIT” button until you’re really done. Also if your screen is wide enough, it’s great to have the video play while you view the music on the other side of the screen. Whatever your process is, you’ll figure it out and be on your way in no time!


Review the rating system.

Next take the time to figure out the rating system for this festival. Every music festival and competition seems to differ a bit when it comes to ratings. Some use Roman numerals (I, II, III), others use percentage scores (88%), and some stick to scoring with “Descriptive Words” (Superior, Excellent,…). Then there’s + and – that are added onto some of these that can get even more confusing. So before you begin, clear up any confusion with the administration or the people who hired you to adjudicate. Do they want at least half the group to have high scores to encourage the students? Or is this a cutthroat event that needs one clear winner and a runner up so your comments need to identify exactly why scores are deserved. Whatever it is, be sure to have that conversation before you get going.

Time to adjudicate.

Finally, it’s time to focus on writing your comments about the wonderful music you hear! This is the best part because comments will be read by the performer. Make sure you ask festival administrators if there are any specific points they’d like you to cover in your comments. Also, a list of adjectives often comes in handy at a time like this when I’m writing away for a few hours. Otherwise I find myself using the same phrases over and over again… And how many times should we just say “good” about anything?! When you finish, be sure to add a “Call to Action” at the ending. Some examples are:

“Keep practicing!

“I can’t wait to hear you perform again!

“What a marvelous recording! Be sure you share this with friends & family.”

Adjudicating online festivals is organized and efficient.

You still get to hire your favorite adjudicators, just like you do for in person festivals or competitions. Once teachers finish submitting everything, the administrator will send their judges a link to their private dashboard. Here they can easily view performances & scanned music while entering comments and ratings quickly. There’s no hassle of sharing 20+ videos, scanned music files, and comment sheets for each student through emails. It’s all saved in one spot that’s easy for everyone to access. When finished, teachers can print adjudication sheets to share with students.

All the wonderful results of a festival are right here. From the growth in our students as they work hard to prepare, to the leap in learning that comes with from an amazing adjudicator’s comments. And we can’t forget the increase in confidence a successful performance brings to every student.

With these 3 tips, you are ready to jump into your first virtual festival adjudicating.

You’re gonna rock this! And yes, you should add this experience to your resume – judging your first virtual competition is something you’ll always remember. And treasure the experience since usually adjudicators are fighting hand cramps as they race to write comments before the next student enters the room 😉

Ready to Get Started? Have Questions?