Thinking About Applying to Become a Judge?

Being a judge is a wonderful way to serve Harmony, Inc…even when a pandemic cancels contests. For example, you may have seen some of our judges teaching classes as part of Harmony, Inc. Virtual Education. Or maybe a Harmony judge has dropped in on your Zoom
rehearsal. If you want to be part of helping our members grow and learn, the judging program may be right for you. Here’s how to become involved.

First, ask yourself some questions today: Do I thrive on helping our Harmony, Inc. members in whatever way I can? Am I a good communicator? Am I willing and able to commit time and money to go to Category Training School (CTS) for a four-day weekend once a year, and to attend Area contests to practice, knowing that the training process is never less than two years, and can be as many as five or six (though it is usually somewhere in the middle).

If answers to these questions are making you think that you should look further at the judging program, then check out the Contest & Judging Handbook in the members-only section on line, and look at the category descriptions for the four categories. While you are reading, ask yourself some more questions: Do I relish being organized and creating a good experience for all? When I am at a barbershop performance, am I most drawn to the ringing chords? The entertainment? The drama? The musicality? Do I have some music theory background? Some vocal training or teaching background? Do I have good computer skills? Based on your answers to these questions, you will likely identify a category that seems a particularly good fit for you.

And if you feel you need more information, talk to any judge and ask any questions. We are all passionate about what we do, and would love to provide any information that might help you with your decision.

So, let’s say you’re ready for the next step. If you have been a Harmony, Inc. member for two years, contact Sue Novosad, the ICJ Committee Training Coordinator ([email protected]) to request an application now. She will send you an application and a General Knowledge Test. You must complete and submit them by July 1.

Based on your application and on feedback from references, the Training Coordinator will notify you in early August about whether your application has been accepted. At this point, if you have applied to be in a scoring category, the Category Director in your chosen category will also be in touch with you and ask you to complete assignments designed to assess your current knowledge and skills related to that category.
The assignments might include answering questions to show your understanding of the C&J Handbook category description, providing a coaching video, or taking a music theory test or vocal pedagogy test, among other things. Assignments will be given and completed between August 1 and October 1. These assignments are an opportunity for you and the Category Director to determine whether the category you have chosen is really a good fit for you, and for the Category Director to make recommendations about resources you may need to study further before you are ready for CTS.

If the category seems to fit and if you have satisfactorily completed any assignments that were given, then in early November, you will receive an invitation to the upcoming Category Training School. And you are on your way toward what may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!

Submitted by Kathy Greason
[email protected]