Take a look at the ‘NCBF Award Criteria’ - the adjudicators use this to structure their feedback and provide clear observations on the many aspects of the participating band’s performance.



  • Excellent tone quality
  • Sound always focussed
  • Wide range of tone colours
  • Good tone quality
  • Sound generally focussed
  • Good range of tone colours
  • Competent tone quality
  • Sound not always focussed
  • Reasonable range of tone colours
  • Tone quality is limited
  • Sound occassionally focussed
  • Tone colours need further exploration
  • A well tuned performance
  • Intonation is generally excellent
  • Majority of instrument are well tuned
  • Intonation is generally good
  • Some lack of control with tuning is evident
  • Intonation is generally competent
  • Tuning is good in parts
  • Intonation is generally variable

Balance & Blend

  • An excellent sense of balance is demonstrated
  • Soloists are accompanied sympathetically
  • Sections blend well together
  • An good sense of balance is achieved
  • Soloists are accompanied well
  • Sections blend well together for the majority of the performance
  • An competent sense of balance is achieved
  • Soloists are generally well
  • Sections blend well for a good portion of the performance
  • Balance is adequate some of the time
  • Accompaniment requires a greater degree of sensitivity
  • Sections and individual tend to dominate
  • A wide range of dynamic variation is evident
  • Dynamic contrast handled effectively
  • A good range of dynamic variation is evident
  • Good control of dynamic contrast
  • A competent range of dynamic variation is evident
  • Competent control of dynamic contrast
  • Dynamic range tends to be limited
  • Some control of dynamic contrast is evident

Rhythmic Accuracy & Ensemble

  • Rhythmic accuracy is excellent
  • Pulse and tempo changes very well managed
  • Performance shows a high degree of cohesion
  • Rhythmic accuracy is generally very good
  • Most pulse and tempo changes are managed effectively
  • Band and sections mostly well co-ordinated
  • Rhythmic accuracy is generally good
  • Some pulse and tempo changes are managed effectively
  • Band shows reasonable coordination
  • Rhythmic accuracy is inconsistent
  • Tempo and pulse changes disturb the musical flow
  • Co-ordination is shown only in the more straightforward passages.

Articulation & Phrasing

  • Articulation is excellent throughout
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Phrasing shows a high degree of understanding and presentation
  • Articulation is good generally
  • A wide range of detail is portrayed
  • Phrasing is good and generally precise
  • Articulation is competent
  • A reasonable range of detail is portrayed
  • Phrasing is competent
  • A reasonable level of articulation is shown
  • Some detail is portrayed
  • Phrasing is in need of development

Style & Interpretation 

  • The Band responds vigilantly to the conductor's directions
  • A mastery of style is evident throughout
  • Interpretation produces a highly musical performance.
  • The Band responds well to the conductor's directions
  • A good range of style is displayed
  • A musical interpretation enhanced a good performance
  • The Band responds well to the conductor's directions most of the time
  • Some awareness of the style of the music is shown
  • The musicality displayed some of the time lifts the performance.
  • The Band only responds to the conductor's directions some of the time
  • The style of the music is not always well characterised
  • A basic understanding of musical interpretation is shown


  • Excellent skills shown by the soloists
  • Soloists display a good range of skills
  • Soloists mainly use printed solos, but there is some attempt to free themselves from the copy; or display a basic range of skills
  • Soloists only use printed copies; or no soloists used