Current (Paper-based) Method

Before the contest

Performance judging paper forms are printed and distributed to the judges and/or to the rooms where the performances will be held. Volunteers (typically older students and parents) must be recruited for many tasks, but especially important are the “runners” who transport the completed forms from each judge to the contest staff office several times per day, per judge. A spreadsheet and/or database program must be set up to record the incoming judged performance sheets. Sufficient staff must be recruited to perform the necessary data input as the contest progresses.

As the contest day approaches, paper invoices are created for each visiting school, based on the number of students expected to participate in the contest from each school. Office staff must rely on the school band directors to keep accurate records about how many students are attending, and keep up with substitutions as students are removed and added at the last minute.

Day of the contest

Once judging begins, paper runner volunteers deliver the judged performance sheets to the contest office throughout the day. In the contest office, staff members type the handwritten judge forms into computer records (text documents, spreadsheets, or a dedicated database) for tabulation and display. At regular intervals, results from the tabulation data are printed onto sheets for the students, parents, and band directors to see their results. These papers are often posted onto a wall in a common area such as a cafeteria or gymnasium.

Using Solo-Ensemble.com

Before the contest

Student solo and ensemble information is entered and updated online at Solo-Ensemble.com by the School music directors. For each school, a detailed printable invoice is available, which facilitates billing and payment by each School. The invoice is automatically kept current as student performers are added or withdrawn from each school’s account. Both the Contest Staff and the School Staff can view a school invoice.

Each room that will be used for judged performances will require a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with internet access. The school or venue Information Technology (IT) department must ensure that the local internet network (wireless or hard-wired) can access the Solo-Ensemble.com web domain. Judges are free to use their own devices if they wish, but they must test to ensure they have internet access from their device(s).

Day of the contest

During the contest, the judged scores are automatically entered into the online database, so no “paper runners” are required (thus fewer volunteers are needed overall). Office staff prepare certificates for outstanding performances, and (optionally) may print paper copies of the judged performance sheets for the school band directors.

The Contest Staff can use a computer and projector to display real-time results for the contest, typically where the students and parents are gathered to await the results. This special display page automatically refreshes at regular intervals to show the most recent results.