Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top 10 Comments from an Auxiliary Adjudicator

I have judged several shows over the years and continue to see many of the same mistakes. Here is a list of some of the most common things I see on the field and some quick tips to fix them.

1. EVERYONE needs to perform, all the time. Even if you're in the back or on the goal line we can still see you.  Don't stop performing even during a transition and you are on the sideline getting equipment. No fixing hair or adjusting costumes; no messing with equipment or just running off like a pedestrian.  This should be an easy fix but makes a big difference to your overall show!

2. Be careful of your shoulder facing as you move through drill and spin equipment. If your shoulders are facing to the side or even on a slight angle instead of straight to the front, your equipment will spin on a different angle and look wrong or dirty. Specify to the performers which way their shoulders should be facing for each drill move - for example "to the audience"; "to the left end zone"; or "following the leader."

3. Transitions when you exchange equipment should be built into the show. Do not run off of and then back onto the field between songs to change equipment. Similarly, avoid having all members of your auxiliary exit during a song at the same time to change equipment. An easy way to fix a transition is to either stagger the auxiliary's entrance so not everyone is exiting and/or entering at the same time or have a soloist introduce a new flag silk while the others are still at the sidelines.

4. Add lower body choreography to your show, even when you are moving through drill forms.  Having the equipment spinning while you are traveling AND utilizing your body is considered the Triad and should be your goal.

5. If you have a small auxiliary, please do not split them up in your drill. Having three members on one thirty yard line and three others spinning on the other thirty yard line is a very split perspective and not very effective.

6. Another note on color guard drill, please incorporate the auxiliary into the band forms.  It is not a good idea to keep them in an arch along the back of the band for your whole show. 

7. Try to stage equipment changes in different places around the field. If you always exit to the front sideline your show will become repetitive. Plus, your equipment can be mixed up or damaged if it's all thrown together. It also takes away from the effect of your show if your equipment becomes messy and distracting.

8.  Clean up your technique.  Clarify where hand placements should be. For example, are you supposed to be covering the tip or at a cheater tape? Hit your angles and catches a exact angles and be strong with them. Also, release a regular toss from inside the silk, and pay attention to free hands. All these little details should be addressed during basics rehearsal and need to show through in your performance. Even a small deviation in angle or height is amplified to the judges.

9. Watch your equipment pathways! It is not only important to make it to the right angle, but also you need to pay attention to how your equipment cuts through space. Do you slice on an angle? Stay in the toaster (lateral plain)? Your equipment pathways need to be clean so your choreography is readable.

10. Finally, do everything full out. Straighten your arms, lower your lunge, and use full energy in everything you do. You may be far away from the judges in that press box, but we can still see every detail of what you do.

THANKS FOR READING! For more tips and fun stuff about the marching arts OR if you are interested in custom Winter Guard show design, drill, and choreography or Marching Band drill and Color Guard choreography, check out my website at

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