Archives: October 2003
Mon Oct 20, 2003
I had great fun at Amergin's this year, although the shoe was on the other foot, as I was judging this year instead of competing. I had just competed at Kingdom Bardic, so all the thoughts about judging competitors was fresh in mind. Aodhan, a fellow harper, was the winner.
It's not an easy job to rate a performance, as it's so subjective. Probably the hardest part is to give constructive criticism. You have to walk a fine line between not hurting someone unnecessarily, and telling them how to improve. Luckily, most of the performances were good, and in fact, the competition was the closest I've ever seen - one point out of over 500 between the top 2 performers and less than 25 between all 4 overall competitors. Master Lonergan and Lady Niara, last year's winner, were my fellow judges.
One of the other things I'm becoming aware of is that as a Laurel, your words carry a little more weight than they did before. You find yourself choosing your words carefully when giving criticism because you want to encourage, not discourage. You see yourself in the place of the performer or artisan, because that's where you were just a year or two ago. Kindness and consideration temper your judgement, since the last thing you want to do is to diminish their spark of joy in their art. And it's a great thing to watch someone grow and bloom as time goes on.
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