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Band Sight-Reading Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will I be disqualified if I begin to sing rhythms in the general explanation period?

A: No. A director that inadvertently begins to sing rhythms or audibly reproduces the music during the general explanation period will receive a warning from the judging panel. There will be no penalty. If the director sings rhythms or audibly reproduces the music a second time the 3 minute summary explanation period will automatically begin.

Q: Under what circumstances can I be disqualified under the new format?

A: It is not possible to be disqualified during the discussion period. The only grounds for disqualification will remain the same as in the past. "A band whose director makes an obvious contribution to the performance by either singing with or speaking to the students while they are performing shall be disqualified." Section 1111 (e) (7) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

Q: Can I count beats (1-2-3-4, etc.) during the General Explanation period?

A: Yes. Counting, snapping, clapping or tapping consecutive beats in tempo will not be interpreted as audibly reproducing the music. However, the director should use no voice inflection that implies any element of the music including but not limited to pitch, style, articulation and dynamics.  Judges are instructed to monitor adherence to this expectation.

Q: Since I can count beats (1-2-3-4, etc.) is counting 8th note or 16th note pulse acceptable?

A: No. Students should have been taught a sense of subdivision prior to the evaluation.

Q: Can I use note names or fingerings during the General Explanation period?

A: Yes. During the General Explanation period directors may use note names and/or fingerings for the purpose of defining key signatures, accidentals or other technical concerns. However, directors should not use consecutive note names or fingerings as this will be interpreted as a reproduction of the music.

Q: Can I conduct rhythmic figures during the General Explanation Period?

A: Yes. There are no limitations regarding what the director can communicate through the use of conducting.

Q: Do I have to use all of the General Explanation Period?

A: No. A director is not required to use all of the allotted time. He/She may elect at any time to proceed to the Summary Explanation Period or to perform the music without penalty.

Q: How does this procedure affect my day-to-day approach to teaching sight-reading skills in the classroom?

A: That would likely depend on your teaching style. Perhaps the most important issue will be the fact that the students' ability to count rhythms independently will need to be reinforced so that they do not need to hear every rhythm sung by the director. Also the criteria for the selection of sight-reading music is available on the UIL web site. This document spells out the keys, time signatures, rhythms, etc. that can be used in the music for each conference. Directors might want to concentrate on music that fits these parameters as they prepare for the sight-reading evaluation.

Q: What is the best way to use the summary explanation period?

A: During this portion of the discussion period it will be permissible to count, subdivide, and sing rhythms. Most directors will want to use this time to focus on those spots in the music that are most likely to give the students a problem and perhaps sing and count the more complex rhythms.

Q: What criteria will judges consider when assigning ratings?

A: Judges ratings shall be based only upon the band's sight-reading performance and will in no way reflect the approach taken or the techniques utilized by the director and students during the explanation periods.