Clavier Companion - May/June 2017 - 42
Hiring an evaluator
Procedures and protocols for
hiring an evaluator
by Martha Baker-Jordan
n groups as large, active, and diverse
as most state and local music teacher
organizations, the task of hiring an evaluator is
one that circulates among different members. While
I'm aware that the terms adjudicator and/or judge
are probably used more often than evaluator, they are all
one and the same. My personal preference is evaluator,
as I believe this descriptor is much less threatening to
almost all pre-college students. Younger students very
often have never heard the word adjudicator, much less
know the meaning of it. I've seen apprehension levels
increase significantly when some students, young and
older, hear the word judge! Thus, my choice for this
article, when discussing one who evaluates, is evaluator.
Now to the subject at hand-the hiring of an evaluator.
Even if you are not currently the chair of an event
that requires an evaluator, chances are that, at some
point, you will become the "Event Coordinator" or the
"Evaluator Hiring Chairperson" for an occasion that
requires the services of an evaluator. For this article, the
word hirer is used.
Getting started with the hiring process
I encourage the hirer to email the prospective evaluator
to avoid "phone tag" and unwanted delays. If your initial
contact with a prospective evaluator is by email, I suggest
the inclusion of all seven items below, except for listing
the phone number twice. Refrain from emailing several
evaluators while awaiting an answer from the first-choice
evaluator. The evaluator undoubtedly had to check
several things in his/her teaching and other schedules
before being able to respond. The following list includes
several issues that are often missing in evaluator requests.
1. When calling by phone and possibly getting
voicemail, try to speak clearly and slowly stating
your name and name of organization first.
2. State your phone number twice.
3. Identify the kind of event for which you are
seeking an evaluator.
4. Give the city in which the event will occur,
the name of the venue, and the approximate
distance from the evaluator's locale.
5. Many organizations desire that the evaluator
arrive well before the start time. Clearly state
the start time and the desired arrival time.
6. If an all-day event, say if snack breaks and
lunch will be provided.
7. Give the date by which a reply is needed
from the evaluator. If you have started the
hiring process at a reasonably early date
(which is advisable), ask for a reply, either
affirmative or negative, within five days.
Throughout my many years of evaluating, I would
estimate that approximately only 10% of requests for
my services have included the amount that will be given
for the honorarium. I have always found this so peculiar.
I would think that for many evaluators, especially those
whose income relies solely on studio teaching, the
honorarium would be the most important information
to have before being able to accept. Always be sure to
include the honorarium amount for the event for which
the evaluator's services are being requested.
Keep in mind that the person being asked to evaluate
may have to do some or all of the following before
* Rearrange or cancel some of their own teaching.
* Make arrangements for other family members'
care, especially if the evaluator has younger
* Determine if the evaluation honorarium is
enough in the event the evaluator must pay
for substitutes for other jobs the evaluator
There are many more decisions the evaluator must make
before accepting an invitation but I believe most of them,
in some way, relate to the amount of the honorarium.
Before the event:
* Maintain continued communication with the
evaluator at least once between hiring and the
event. It is very important to relay some kind
of reminder as the event draws closer.
* Provide (preferably in writing versus phone)
complete name and address of venue,