Judging Criteria in 21st Century
Kiyomi Niibori (a member of NE & Ladies' Quartet, Master of Arts in Music)
We were so glad and honored receiving warm New Years greetings from many
peoples in the world to carry on January issue of this magazine, and we would
like to say thank you very much.
Now, information of International Guitar Festivals and Contests (conventions)
has been sent to us from many countries and we were surprised to receive information
of Guitar Orchestra Contest, not for Guitar Ensemble, from unbelievable country
and actually felt the spread of Guitar Orchestra in the world now. What kind of
musical instruments are used, how organized, are actually interesting. Receiving
this kind of information from the world will be appreciated. Of course we know
the existence of guitar orchestra using N-Method guitars of each sound range (Sopranino
Guitars, Soprano Guitars, Alt Guitars, Bass Guitars, Contrabass Guitars, and Cembalo
Guitars of each sound range) in other countries, and the different organization
will possibly existing. Method of judge in contest will also be interesting.
Here, the writing by Dr. Hiroki Niibori on judging criteria for All Japan
Guitar Contest sponsored by IGOA (International Guitar Orchestra Association)
& NKG (Nippon Kyoiku/educational Guitar League), Dr. Hiroki Niibori works
as the president and chief judge, will be introduced below. This writing was carried
on December, 2010 issue of this magazine (specially featured for contest), in
Viewpoint, in Japanese language.
Excerpted from Viewpoint 91 written by Dr. Niibori
Judging Criteria in 21st Century
The sense of value for culture and means of expression have been widely changed
with entering into age of heart, the 21st century, from age
of material, the 20th century. Then, it will be quite natural to change
the evaluation criteria. For judging contest, the criteria foreseeing future,
making sure of universal value, will be required.
Ways of studying music and means of expression have been also changed.
School lessons in 1964, I was giving lessons at Kunitachi College of Music, were
done, looking back from now, with unnecessarily big quantity and severe for basic
practice, and also with unnecessarily detailed subjects forcing to use left brain
very hard (explanations with theory). Lectures with words occupied considerable
And, as the way of thinking in that time, students were prohibited to appear on
cheap (?) stage while they were students.
Thus, learning fundamentals thoroughly in college of music, memorizing scores
correctly, playing each sound precisely, performing in dignified manner, many
teachers (judges), graduated from college of music, giving good marks for above
Now (2010), colleges of music, left center of cities, are beginning to return
to the central area of cities. That is entirely because of the times entered worldwide
of information-oriented, on-the-spot learning with experience
and sensing and expressing with right brain. Having ardent experience
together with audience in big hall is difficult in suburban area with small population.
Thinking about stage manner and direction, assuming to appear on worlds
stage for musicians (performers), it will be too late to start stage activities
after graduating college of music, now. Sometimes, it will be too late even for
middle school students.
Now, Niibori Music Academy is obtaining good results with positively promoting
specialty course (entering vocational college) for primary school boys and girls.
Structures of class rooms and school buildings have been changed extensively.
For instance, Niibori Music Academy Fujisawa Campus having more than 3 different
purposed halls, live performance and concert are being held day and night.
Students are experiencing all aspects for concert and learning the way of expression
on the stage. Overseas public performances are also frequently carried out.
Thus, Niibori Music Academy prepares many kinds of subjects, not found in curriculums
of usual college of music, and facilities for them are steadily being enriched
now. Of course, traditional art and history are carefully studied, but things
to be possibly done only in urban area are increasing. Make right brain
sense the composers thought with utilizing DVD (or live
stage) at the first stage of learning, and learn musical breathing
necessary for them. Experiencing stage manner (especially smile), clothing, walking
figure, body fixing, talk, and premises for them, PA, lighting, directing, further
before them, planning, design, editing, video & sound recording, camera work
for sometimes are made students to do. Keeping up with audience is also made to
learn. Simultaneously with good performance, so many items, can not bear comparison
with usual college of music, are made to experience. Then, all of above items
are fulfilled or not will be checked (judged) at the audition in the school.
As a conclusion, the first item to be checked as the judging criteria is that
the composers thought = expression of the style is fully expressed
The performer should begin to sense (percept sensually with right brain) the composers
intension to describe what he thought, not to begin with analyzing musical score
(study theoretically with left brain). Asking thoroughgoing questions when the
composer is alive, checking DVD first when you have, visiting the point composer
worked, thus study with various experience should have priority. When you surely
grasped the heart of the piece of music, you should try to express it just like
an actor. Suitable action (breathing) and clothing for the piece should be taken
into consideration. Of course your effort to take care of make up, hair style,
and shoes to pass the severe check by judges. Now the judging criteria expanded
than before even to walking figure and way of smiling.
Looking at musical score even on the stage, considerable points will be deducted
at present judgment. Whenever looking at musical score, eye contact with other
performer, conductor and audience will be interrupted and spoil the atmosphere.
Eye contact with conductor is especially important for ensemble and existence
of conductor with eye contact will be big factor for judgment. Judgment without
considering conducting will be the most unreasonable. That is because of every
thing will follow the conductors intention at ensemble.
Finally, judgment from now on:
The most important point of judgment for guitar ensemble (orchestra) from now
on will be organization of instruments to surely express the style of the
Judges should have full of knowledge adding to general knowledge of music for
merit and demerit of each instrument from sopranino guitar to double stringed
cembalo guitar to properly evaluate.
When you evaluate ensemble of some school, the upper ranked criteria to give advice
to them will be selection for instruments, scale and performers
positioning (organization) as leading factors.
Judge should know even for the fact that rhythm of prime guitar part for Wiener
waltz will clearly expressed by adding 1 soprano guitar into how many numbers
of prime guitar.
I strongly hope all of you learn and understand highly advanced guitar ensemble.
For questions, advice & requests about Monthly Harmony,
Niibori Guitar Music Academy, Editorial Office
143-14 Fujisawa, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken,
Phone: +81-466-23-8338 / Fax: +81-466-23-9337
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