Clavier Companion - May/June 2017 - 45
student's preparation or potential. When unsure,
give the student the benefit of the doubt. Be
open to musical interpretations and technique
that may be different from your own. Is the
performance convincing, vibrant, and expressive
on its own terms? Accept editorial markings
indicated by the teacher, and make comments
on how well the student executed the given plan.
In the event that you feel strongly that the
performance, interpretation, or editorial markings
indicate a misunderstanding of style or performance
practice, direct comments to the teacher on a Post-it®
note. When commenting to the student, support the
teacher. If you do address the teacher, be gentle and
respectful. Let your words leave room for an honest
difference of opinion between colleagues. (Example:
"My understanding of performance practice in this
written in cursive style. Avoid slang or idioms
that are less than professional. Do choose
language that communicates clearly without
being overly formal or overly academic. The
most brilliant and nurturing words will be of
no use to the student if the critique cannot
be read. Your handwriting and signature
must be legible. Your insightful and wellwritten critique, as well as your professional
and welcoming demeanor, makes the event a
motivating one-an experience students will
want to repeat.
Finally, a great critique will be worth the
investment of time and effort of the student,
parent, and teacher. Make sure your comments
provide both the quantity and quality of
feedback that is worth the price of their time
and the registration fee.
A great critique is valuable
Written by Marianne Bryan and Kirsten
Levorson for the 2016 MMTA Judge
Handbook. Reprinted with permission.
Use age-appropriate language. Very young students
appreciate critiques that are printed rather than
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