NABBC: Diploma in Adjudicating - Introduction


Fancy learning the the art of adjudicating. The National Association of Brass Band Conductors and the University of Salford have a Diploma available for those who wish to study.


The National Association of Brass Band Conductors in conjunction with the University of Salford offers a Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication.  The administration of the Licentiate Diploma is governed by the Ordnance and Regulations of the University of Salford.

Candidates for the Diploma are required to give evidence of suitability for consideration in a hand-written profile, indicating their musical experience as conductors, arrangers, composers or teachers;  also outlining any experience already gained as an adjudicator, and giving details of any personal successes in competition, as a performer and/or conductor.  They will normally be expected to be members of the NABBC.

Only candidates considered suitable by the Board of Examiners will be allowed to proceed with the Examinations.  The following are members of the Board of Examiners:  Richard Evans, Professor David King, Dr Roy Newsome, David Read, Professor Derek Scott and James Scott, with Sydney Swancott (NABBC Chairman) as Examinations Administrator.

On successful completion of the Examinations for Sections I and II candidates undertake a series of adjudicating assignments.  The award of the Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication is made to candidates who reach a satisfactory standard in the examinations and adjudicating assignments.

The examinations for Sections I and II will be administered by the University of Salford, and assignments monitored by the NABBC.

No one under the age of 25 will be accepted as a candidate for these examinations.

The examinations consist of the following:

Section I - Scoring
Section II - Aural Perception and Viva
Section III - Assignments (Minimum 6, Maximum 8)

The examination fee is payable in two parts:

Sections I and II 110
Section III  120

Candidates must obtain a pass in Sections I and II before proceeding to Section III.


Section I

(Time 3.5 hours)

The candidate is required to score not more than 16 bars from:

a) an Orchestral passage and
b) a Pianoforte or Organ extract for normal Brass Band

Attention must be paid to the matter of the limited playing skills of those playing secondary parts.  Instrumentation should be similar to that used in present day publications, i.e. a separate part for Flugel Horn and appropriate Percussion.

Section II
Aural Perception and Viva Voce

a) Score Reading

The candidate will be provided with a full score 30 minutes before the examination, for preparatory study.  The examiners will ask questions about the score to determine the candidate's aural impression of the piece and the candidate's knowledge of Brass Band instrumentation, style and texture.

b) Aural Perception

The candidate will be required to write an adjudication on a recording of different performances of a band piece or part of a band piece, the title of which will be given to him/her in advance to enable him/her to study the score.

c) Viva Voce


A recording of an excerpt of a piece of Brass Band music of not more than 5 minutes' duration will be played once.  The candidate will be expected to discuss the performance from both musical and technical aspects and also to indicate how he/she would assess the band in a competition.  Particular attention will be paid to the candidate's powers of oral expression.


Candidates will be asked questions about all brass instruments, including Percussion, as well as the practicalities of Brass Band Adjudication.


Candidates will be expected to demonstrate to the examiners that they have a good knowledge of Brass Band repertoire, covering all grades of bands.

Section III


Candidates will initially undertake six assignments covering different types of contests and different grades of bands.

When a candidate has successfully completed Sections I and II, the Secretary of the NABBC will ascertain the forthcoming programme of contests which would be suitable for the assignments.  The Secretary will advise the candidate of the appropriate dates.  The candidate should contact the Secretary within 21 days, either to accept or discuss alternative dates.

Candidates will be responsible for their own expenses incurred in attending these contests.

Candidates will sit in an area adjoining the box designated by the contest authority, and will be given forms for their reports and marks.  A member of the NABBC will be in attendance to supervise the candidate.  A copy of the official order of merit will be made available to the Secretary and this, together with the reports and marks awarded by the candidate, will be sent to the examiners for assessment after each assignment.  A copy of the examiners' reports will be sent to the candidate when available.

Following completion of six assignments, the examiners, at their discretion, may award a Pass or Fail, or in the case of a borderline candidate, further assignments.  The examiners will stipulate the type of contest to be selected and/or grade of Band.

Dates of Examinations

Examinations for Sections I and II of the Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication are held once per year, normally at the University of Salford.

Entry Fees

The full examination fee is 230, payable in two parts to the NABBC.  The initial payment of 110 covers Sections I and II.  The second payment of 120 covers Section III, and is due on the satisfactory completion of Sections I and II.

The Examinations

Candidates for the Licentiate Diploma are required to take both sections of the examination during the same session.  Those failing once section may re-take that section within two years.

Candidates will receive reports for Sections I and II as soon as possible after the completion of the examinations.

Re-entry Fees

Section I  - Scoring      50
Section II  - Aural Perception and Viva    50
Section III - Assignments     110


The maximum number of marks obtainable for each section of the licentiate Diploma is 100.  Candidates must gain at least 70 marks in each of Sections I and II and a satisfactory assessment in Section III in order to pass.


Candidates may apply for exemption from the scoring section of the examination if they hold a recognised Brass Band Conducting Diploma, or a Brass Band Studies Degree or Diploma, or an equivalent qualification.  Exemption will be at the discretion of the Board of Examiners.

Absence from Examination

In cases of genuine emergency and at the discretion of the Board of Examiners, fees may be carried over to the following year.  Written evidence of the emergency should be submitted to the Registrar of the University, with a copy to the Secretary of the NABBC.


On completion of the examinations and assignments, the recommendations of the Board of Examiners are passed to the University's external examiner in Music for ratification.

The results of the examinations, with particulars of marks gained, will be sent to the candidates as soon as possible, by recorded delivery, along with a short report on their examination.

Neither the University of Salford nor the NABBC can be held responsible for the loss of a report.

Examiners are not permitted to disclose the result of an examination.

Candidates may appeal against the recommendation of the Board of Examiners, but any such appeal should be based on the following grounds:

Either a)

that evidence is available which for good and reasonable cause could not have been submitted to the Board of Examiners.

Or b)
that the Board of Examiners has not properly carried out the agreed procedures

Candidates wishing to appeal should write to the Registrar of the University within seven days of the notification of the results, with details of the grounds on which the appeal is based.  A copy of the appeal should simultaneously be sent to the Secretary of the NABBC.


Licentiate Diplomas are awarded at the Graduation Ceremony of the University of Salford following the satisfactory completion of the Assignments.

Candidates who have gained the Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication are entitled to add the letters, L.D.B.B.A (Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication) to their names.

See also:

 Pre-study course details
 Notes for Candidates

Application Forms

Application forms and notes for candidates can be obtained from:

Mr Ted Howard
Secretary, NABBC
30 Havant Road
Hampshire PO8 0DT
Tel:  023 92598162  or email


The Registrar
University of Salford
The Crescent
M5 4WT


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