alden_drake at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jan 7 10:53:18 PST 2008
Standards for bards...or by what I gathered from the response...bardic
standings. One of the prime problems we seem to face as a community is
that our personas represent an enormously broad geographic and temporal
span. This makes it incredibly difficult to come together as a cohesive
community. We also consider many factors in who we are and what we do
that make us more individual. This is the dilemma we have when
discussing MANY topics like this. Other groups have great communities,
because their differences are fewer and less ethereal. The rapier and
archery communities have a good sense of group identity and internal
systems because what they come together for is very specific.
How do you "rank" as a bard? Do you answer this question based on a
personal evaluation, or on an external evaluation? Is it more important
to you to rank yourself? [I know X songs, Y poems, Z stories...I feel
like I'm an accomplished bard] Do you look to external sources of
confirmation? [I get asked to perform in circles, but no one invites me
to participate in a showcase, so I guess I'm an ok bard]. Do you break
down your performance styles and rate them individually? We all have
different answers to these questions, and that's fine.
I consider myself a bard. The ranks I used for myself stemmed from my
relationship with my teacher. She started out calling me her "baby
bard". When the time came for me to leave the nest, I called myself a
"fledgling bard". After I felt like I could fly on my own and hold my
own among other bards, I called myself a "bard". I have an Iris of
Merit. This was a recognition granted to me by the Crown, as
recommended by other people. It's certainly an honor, but I don't rank
my skill as a bard on it - especially when a newcomer comes along who
has an advanced degree in vocal performance, or is a professional
Archers have an internal system that they use, based on Royal Rounds
scores. It doesn't rank them in any heirarchy, but it does provide a
standings roster. It's a great tool to encourage archers to improve,
and they get awarded colored tassles as a mark of their skill. It's a
very simple and self-rewarding thing. Brewers have competitions and
guilds and rank themselves according to their judged brews at certain
events. It's a great way to gauge the caliber of a brewer, so you have
an idea of what you're getting when a recognized brewer gives you a
bottle of homebrew. None of these systems compete with SCA awards.
None of them are used to alienate members of different standings. I've
seen no competitions require a level or above to participate, though I
have seen a level or below to participate (like in a newcomer's archery
What would having bardic standings do for us? Would it encourage us to
work towards improving our craft to get the next cookie? Would it
promote competition among us? Would it be used to divide us into who
can and who can't participate in something? Would it be used to back up
award recommendations? It begs questions, certainly.
How would the standings be determined? Who would be the evaluators? A
simple approach would be to use what we already have - judging forms.
Submit a minimum amount of judged forms to obtain an average score in a
discipline to be ranked in that discipline. Set a score range for each
discipline to qualify for a different rank. This is much like how the
Royal Rounds works in archery. You shoot a round and your score is
submitted in a style category. You need a minimum number of scores in a
category to get an average score, and that average score puts you in a
rank category. You can rank in several categories (open bow, period
bow, open crossbow, period crossbow...) Someone is responsible for
maintaining the scores, and marshals are responsible for submitting the
scores. We could do something similar with judges submitting scores.
Is it a perfect system? Probably not. But no system will be without flaw.
Would it be required to participate to consider yourself a bard? Of
course not! It should just be meant to be a tool. Whether or not it's
a tool you want to use is up to you.
Would participating bards be recognized for their achieved standing
(like the archers' tassels)? Would such recognition be conveyed to the
general populace for them to recognize accomplished bards? I wear the
blue belt sash nowadays, but nobody seems to know what it means outside
of a handful of bards.
Honestly, I don't think we necessarily have to ALL come together over
such an idea. Someone (or a like-minded group) just needs to be able to
say "This is what I want to do and y'all are welcome to join in." If it
gets support to keep rolling, great. If it doesn't, so be it, or see
what can be fixed and try again.
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