Field Percussion Study

EKU Marching Arts Research Team


2013 Field Percussion Judge Project



August 28, 2014

TO:      Readers of Marching Arts Research Team’s 2013 Field Percussion Judge Project

FROM: Dr. Joseph Allison, Project Supervisor and Field Percussion Study Participants: Lucas Black, Bryan Harmsen, Jeff Hartowicz, Brian Hodge, Steven Kelly, David Knowlton, Casey Lockard, Dr. Kent Morrow, Matthew Parunak, Ben Regaldo, Eric Sabach, Mark Silvey, Kyle Travis, Matt Verberg, Scott Wagoner, Clif Walker, Paul Weber, Tracy Wiggins

RE:      Project Background

The efficacy of field judging in marching pageantry has been the subject of much discussion over the past seasons of competition, and perhaps the most-debated role is that of the percussion judge.

In a nutshell, field percussion judges are required to move more often and faster than their visual and winds counterparts, due to the physical nature of performer movement and the highly-restrictive nature of acoustical “sound focus” that must be preserved to accurately assess percussionists.  This task easily requires the most location-specific sampling positions, while often placed “in the eye of the storm” in terms of moving performers from all sections of the ensembles.

With a reduction from 2 to 1 Field Percussion Judge in most major organizations (DCA and DCI among them), and a prevailing trend of visual design to separate the elements of first the percussion battery and now the traditional “pit” instrumentation for extended periods, the efficacy of this assessment method warrants review.  It appears that the nature of the programs, performers, and assessments have evolved greatly since this system of adjudication was developed.

It is important to note that this project is a continued extension of other similar studies undertaken by the EKU MART, the purpose of which is to provide factual, objective information that the marching pageantry community can use to increase the quality of experiences for it’s participants: performers, educators, designers, spectators, and adjudicators.  There is no intent to coerce or influence any organization or individual to respond in any prescribed manner.  In our view, empirical research in this industry has been conspicuously lacking, and we hope to assist in rectifying the disciplinary void.  How the information is (or is not) used is beyond the purview of this project.

Here are documents to explain the survey results

0 Percussion Study Cover Letter

1 Inferences & Summary of Field Percussion Survey

2 Graphic Data of Field Percussion Survey

3 Overall Statistics of Field Percussion Survey

4 Individual Corps Aggregate

5 Second Study of Field Percussion

6 2014 Addendum

7 Dr. Joe Allison Personal Submission

Field Percussion Study Participants


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