Marching Band Performance Criteria – How Assessments are Made

John R. (J.R.) Carlisle has served as a music educator and principal in his lengthy career in the performing arts and education fields. Now an educational consultant with Carlisle Educational Services, John R. Carlisle has participated as a judge in several marching band competitions.

When a judge evaluates a band’s musical performance during a competition, he is given a scoring sheet to assist him in making a determination with respect to scoring or the achievement level of the band.

Several factors or criteria are reviewed for determining the final score – some of which include the balance and blend of the musical composition, the centers of tone and pitch, and the tuning of the percussion section of the band. The cohesiveness of the ensemble as well as tempo, control, pulse, and timing all factor into the final score as well.

When a band achieves a high score for musical performance, band members exhibit a mature technique in both method and articulation. The manual dexterity displayed by the players is superior and coordination of the unit is exemplary. Members show solid control in all aspects of tempo, rhythm, and pulse during the musical routine.