“You Be the Judge” Critical Listening Cards

Happy New Year!  I hope all of you enjoyed some well-deserved time off over the holidays and are feeling re-energized and ready to start a new semester.   

If your studio calendar is anything like mine, spring time brings a variety of different audition, festival and recital opportunities.   My students are already hard at work (or back at work, in most cases) preparing repertoire for upcoming performances.  

As part of the process of preparing for public performances, my students have regular opportunities to perform for each other at group lessons.  I believe that it’s important for them to develop critical listening skills and be able to offer constructive and specific feedback to each other about their performances (more than just “that was good!” or “I liked it!”).  Here’s a new tool we’ve been using this year in our performance classes:

You Be the Judge Thumbnail

These student-friendly judge’s cards help students to observe and critique a number of different aspects of performance.   In past years I’ve given my middle and high school-aged students actual judge’s forms from one of our local festivals to use at group lessons, but I have found that a full form can be a bit overwhelming (although it gives students an appreciation for all the judge has to do!)  This simplified version hits all of the major points of performance without going into too much detail.  

In addition to use in performance classes, these are also handy for students to write self-evaluations of their own performances, and to evaluate YouTube recordings of their pieces.   (If they’re going to take advantage of YouTube as a resource in their learning process, you want them to listen critically!!)

The cards are designed to be printed front and back on a half-sheet of paper.  I printed a set for my studio and laminated them for use with dry erase markers.   You can download the file from the link below, or from the Studio Aids page.  

Looking for a similar resource to use with younger students?  Check out these Smile-O-Meter evaluation cards – they’re lots of fun, and easy to use with elementary-aged kids.  

You Be the Judge Listening Form
You Be the Judge Listening Form
You Be the Judge.pdf
Version: PDF
154.4 KiB


“You Be the Judge” Critical Listening Cards — 3 Comments

  1. Awesome idea! I too am always trying to encourage group classes, master classes and even ‘parties’ where students practice performing and become comfortable performing publicly. I recently held a party which did help several of my shy students embrace performing and are now looking forward to their next performance party! Love the cards.

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