Ohio Music Education Association

Marching Band

The Ohio Music Education Association sanctions marching band festivals in the State of Ohio in hopes of providing a broad-based opportunity for marching units of the state’s schools to participate in an educational setting. It is hoped that the adjudicated festival situation would be one in which viable comments and suggestions are offered in a positive, constructive manner to each group and a fair evaluation of the group’s performance is reflected within the Ohio Five Rating Plan. It is intended that this system provide the fairest, most consistent experience possible for the marching bands in the State of Ohio.

Ohio bands receiving a final rating of “I” (Superior) in any of the 63 OMEA-sanctioned local marching band adjudicated events held this fall are eligible to participate in State Marching Band Finals.

Local Events

Local Marching Band Adjudicated Events are scheduled across the state during the months of September through October. These events are sanctioned by OMEA and provide a venue for marching bands to “qualify” for State Marching Band Finals if they earn a rating of Superior.

Each site usually charges an admission fee for attendees. This fee helps to defray costs and provides an opportunity for the music support group to earn money for their music program.

State MB Finals

Ohio bands receiving a final rating of “I” (Superior) in any of the 63 OMEA-sanctioned marching band adjudicated events held this fall are eligible to participate in State Marching Band Finals. These bands are not competing against one another, but rather against a standard, as determined by the Ohio Five Rating Plan.

Other Information

  • Ohio Five Rating Plan
    The Ohio Five Rating Plan of Adjudication will be used for all Adjudicated Events. The decision of the judges is final. A participant or group may elect to perform either for a rating or in “Festival Performance” for comments only, but must perform the required composition(s) for the classification.

    The Five Rating Plan is as follows:

    Rating I:
    An outstanding performance with very few technical errors and exemplifying a truly musical expression. This rating should be reserved for the truly outstanding performance.

    Rating II:
    An unusual performance in many respects, but not worthy of the highest rating due to minor defects in performance, ineffective interpretation, or improper instrumentation.

    Rating III:
    An acceptable performance, but not outstanding. Showing accom- plishment and marked promise, but lacking in one or more essential qualities.

    Rating IV:
    A poor performance showing many technical errors, poor musical conception, lack of interpretation, incomplete instrumentation, or lacking in any of the other essential qualities.

    Rating V:
    A very poor performance indicating deficiencies in most of the essen- tial factors, and indicating that much careful attention should be given to the fundamentals of good performance. This rating should be used sparingly and only when it is possible to cite major faults. 
  • Home School Policy
    Home-schooled students may participate in Solo & Ensemble Events.The online registration takes place via their private instructor (who must be an OMEA member) and their parent or guardian becomes the acting school administrator.

    Home-Schooled students are to follow the rules/procedures that pertain to their situation (eg. A Home-Schooled junior high soloist will follow all rules applying to middle/junior high, high school solo will follow the rules applying to high school).

    Home-schooled students are eligible to participate in Large Group Events if they meet enrollment requirements and are permitted participation by their local school district, and meet all other OMEA eligibility requirements.
  • What Judges Are Looking For
    OMEA began the use of a criteria reference system in the 2001 season. This criteria was established over two years of research and study, and implemented for the fall 2001 season. Judges were extensively trained in the summer at continuing education sessions. In order to progress from one rating to the next rating, each band must meet a certain set of criteria. This is listed on each judging sheet.

    There are nine judges involved in the evaluation of the bands. Of these, two evaluate the “musical performance”, two the “general effect” of the show, two judge the “visual program”, one field judge is evaluating the “percussion” section, and two judges concentrate on all auxiliary units of the band. The Overall Final Rating will be determined by the addition of “ratings” from the music, general effect, visual, and percussion judges.

    Music judges: evaluate the technical accuracy of the performance. They will concern themselves with how well the wind and percussion sections play together and the repertoire of the music being performed. The score of the percussion judge will be averaged with the two music judges to determine the overall music score.

    General Effect judges: evaluate the musical and visual presentation of all performers, how effective their performance is in the area of creativity and imagination, and how well the music and marching drill coordinate for a unified production.

    Visual Performance judges: will watch the marching performance, evaluate the accuracy of marching definition, and evaluate the construction complexity of the patterns and designs with respect to the number of individuals utilized.

    Visual Effect judges: will determine how well the drill (marching) program interprets the music as well as the coordination of all the visual aspects of the show.

    All judges will use SD recorders plus official OMEA marching band adjudication rating sheets. Each band is scheduled in a fifteen minute time block, starting with an announcement from the announcer that the band may begin it’s pre-placement and/or warm up.

    A second announcement that the band may begin their performance will follow. “Show time” starts with the first step or the first note following the second announcement. The show must be a minimum of seven minutes and a maximum of eleven minutes.

    Bands are entered into classifications based on the school enrollment grades 10–12, minus any vocational students who attend school “off campus”.

    Bands may enter a classification higher but not lower than their school enrollment will allow.

    Class AA

    Class A

    Class B

    Class C
    300 and below

    All adjudicators must be selected from the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) approved listing. 
  • Order Awards