A regular update will be published here after all Committee meetings in order to keep Members and the wider piping public fully informed of the activities of our Association.
SPJA Summer Update
The SPJA Committee met at the Cairngorm Hotel Aviemore, on the 22nd April. It was decided to meet in Aviemore due to the distances involved for each person travelling. All the Committee were in attendance - Colin MacLellan, Neill Mulvie, Bruce Hitchings, Euan Anderson, Angus MacDonald, and Jack Taylor.
Further to the previous meeting, the Piobaireachd Society has now agreed to the SPJA holding a seminar on judging matters. The prospective date is the 18th November 2018, and the venue will be the Army School of Piping and Highland Drumming, Inchdrewer House, Redford Barracks, Edinburgh.
It was thought that it would be good to ask and include the senior pipers on the CPA Supplementary Judging List to attend also, and that their President, Glenn Brown, be asked to make a presentation on behalf of pipers.
The proposed outline in draft form is as follows:
11am SPJA Annual General Meeting
1200PM: Presentation by Dr Angus MacDonald on judging issues followed by discussion. Chaired by Colin MacLellan.
1300 – Lunch
1400 – Presentation by Glenn Brown on the piper’s viewpoint. Chair Jack Taylor.
1445 – Practical judging session. Chaired by Bruce Hitchings and Neill Mulvie.
Judges will be asked to adjudicate several light music performances preferably on video and the following points will be considered.
Reaching an individual decision – what is best practice?
Reaching a collective decision – what is best practice?
Writing feedback sheets – what is best practice?
Assessment and Admittance of Adjudicators
The Committee has gathered information from some organisations and individuals and a presentation will be made on the subject in the autumn. The Committee feels that some sort of formal accreditation qualification should be discussed for new judges joining the Judges List, although over - formality is seen as perhaps unnecessary. A potential new qualification will include aspects of practical playing, knowledge, and theoretical competency, which will be considered a prerequisite needed before actual application is made to be considered for the Judges List. The Committee would like to hold a full open discussion with all judges on the subject at the November AGM.
Consultation with Senior Judges
It was agreed that all Senior Judges would be contacted either by e mail or, as an alternative, verbally, on each prospective new candidate to the Judges List. This feedback will be viewed as most valuable in helping the Committee make the proper decisions on all future admissions to the Judges List, and in ensuring that the criteria for both Senior and Approved categories are accurately adhered to.
A new website has been constructed at http://www.solopipingjudges.co.uk which contains much information, including new Mission Statement, the Constitution, the Judge’s Code of Conduct, a revamped Complaints Procedure, contacts and a new gallery page containing many current judging photographs. There are also pages for the regular SPJA Updates and the current Judges List, and, most importantly, a page where judges can give immediate comment directly and confidentially on outstanding or otherwise performances. This information goes directly to Glenn Brown, and will greatly aid the CPA grading process by way of informed feedback from current judges.
Code of Conduct Clarification
Recent conversations with some judges have resulted in the understanding that some aspects of the Code are unclear. Please take the time to read all of the documents in the new website, including the Code of Conduct.
In short, as regards the judging of pupils it is only at Inverness, Oban, and London that judges cannot under any circumstances judge pupils. At all other competitions the rule is to avoid doing so if at all possible, and particularly if it is known in advance that pupils will be playing.
SPJA Secretary Position
Jack Taylor has intimated that after being Secretary of the SPJA since inception, as well as having been involved for a few years in the JCJ days, he has decided to step down this year at the November AGM. He has worked tirelessly for us and has been an exceptional and most meticulous Secretary. All will agree that he deserves a sincere vote of thanks from members of the Association. Jack of course will continue as a Senior Judge on the Judge’s List.
As a result, the Association will be looking to appoint and vote in a new Secretary in November, and Jack’s considerate early notice allows us to ask that any member interested in taking up the position contact him through e mail or the new website.
The Committee presents these updates as a way of fully informing SPJA members of all matters pertaining to the Association and wishes to solicit and consider the views of all of its members. Consistency and transparency are a priority and as such ideas, concerns, and input is invited from everyone so that the Association can represent the views of its members to the benefit of all.