Question: It’s time for Solo/Ensemble Contest. What do I have to do to get a Superior Rating? -M
Answer: Thanks for your question, M! Obed and I just happened to have attended the Minnesota State High School League’s Judges Workshop last week. While we both participated in Solo/Ensemble Contest and did well ourselves, it was fun to actually be on the other side of the table at the judge training. There are eight categories that singers will be graded on if they are in a large group, small group, or sing a solo. To qualify for a Superior Rating, you must score 35 points and up. An Excellent Rating is 28-34 points. Then there is a Good Rating of 22-27 and a Fair Rating of 21 and below.
The eight categories are: Tone Quality, Intonation, Rhythm, Balance/Blend, Technique, Interpretation/Musicianship, Diction, and Other Performance Factors.
The categories I really tune into is Technique, Diction and Other Performance Factors. If you have no problems in your song with what “voice” or “voices” you are singing in, you use the correct diction and make me believe you, I’ll love you. I am a stickler for correct diction, particularly in Italian. If you use the American “t” for words such as “tu”, “gentile”, “pastor”, “tuoi”, “martiri”, “diletto” I will be very disappointed to the point of being annoyed. If you understand the clues I’m giving with the Italian words that I’m using as an example, I’m referring to Se tu m’ami by Pergolesi. It is the most annoying song if all the “t’s” are Americanized, and I find it absolutely abominable when singers, who study with private voice teachers, sing them incorrectly. There is just no excuse for the teacher and of the student. Sorry, not sorry.
So, if you see me in the next couple months, be sure you at least are pronouncing your foreign languages correctly!