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Old 05-23-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
bagpipes360
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Default Re-grade?

In the EUSPBA, at least, do you know if you could upgrade from, letís say, 4 to 2, or even 3 to 1? Not that Iím thinking doing so, but was just wondering (Iím talking about solos, of course).
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:03 AM   #2
Pppiper
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Default Re: Re-grade?

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Originally Posted by bagpipes360 View Post
In the EUSPBA, at least, do you know if you could upgrade from, let’s say, 4 to 2, or even 3 to 1? Not that I’m thinking doing so, but was just wondering (I’m talking about solos, of course).
From what I've seen it's a bit unusual, but can and has been done. It's all based on your own circumstances.

Last year in particular, I've seen evidence of the EUSPBA Music Board making a concerted effort to observe and recognize the unique circumstances of some players, and act accordingly. Here are some recent examples from the 2018 season.

One fellow I know started the 2018 season in Grade 4 after a long hiatus. After one or two outings with just about all firsts and AGLs, he was upgraded mid-year to Grade 3. He had the same results in Grade 3, and by August, he was upgraded again to Grade 2. I believe he remains in that grade currently, and he's extremely formidable as a competitor.

Another fellow (who I believe also started in 2018 following a long hiatus), so far as I'm aware, had one outing in Grade 4 in 2018, and was then upgraded straight to Grade 2. Similar to the fellow above, he plays in Grade 2 presently, and is a fine player who does quite well.

I myself also started competing in 2018. I'd been playing for a long time and had many years of high quality instruction, but for a number of reasons, I chose not to compete. Tried it once when I was a kid, and never again until now (long story).

In finally deciding to give competition a go, I agonized over the prospect of entering into the initial grades, (presumably) stealing away easy wins. And please don't confuse my intentions/thinking ... it's not to say there aren't solid players across all grades ... I simply knew my abilities/shortcomings, and wished to be graded "appropriately." I started seeing an instructor for this at the time, and her evaluation was that I would likely do very well in Grade 3, and could possibly "manage" in Grade 2, though the latter would have been a struggle.

I submitted recordings to the Music Board, and they concluded that Grade 3 would be the best place for me in 2018. I did pretty well from the get-go, and improved still further throughout the season. By late August and September, I was consistently getting top placings. I requested an upgrade for the 2019 season, and the board obliged me.

Had I initially gotten my way, I'd have started in Grade 2 straight from the off, and struggled. Personally, I'd have rather had that be the case, instead of getting all kinds of top prizes in Grade 3 (particularly in the latter portion of the season) ... but at the same time, I recognize that I still learned quite a lot. I'd thought about asking for a midyear regrade in June, but some folks I trust suggested I simply wait for 2019.

Overall, I think the board made good decisions in my case, while (I assume) also working to maintain solid standards for their grade levels. I had a good year in Grade 3 last year, and so far I'm also off to a good start in Grade 2, though the need for me to work hard in order to do well cannot be overstated.

So yes ... it IS done. However, I will further emphasize that all decisions are unique to each competitor's individual circumstances.

Hope this is helpful.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 05-24-2019 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:12 AM   #3
bagpipes360
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Default Re: Re-grade?

Ahh yes, thank you for the great response. On second thought, you said that one lad got upgraded mid-season; how was that done? Did they approach him at a competition, letter etc, or did he approach them? How would that work?
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Re-grade?

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Originally Posted by bagpipes360 View Post
Ahh yes, thank you for the great response. On second thought, you said that one lad got upgraded mid-season; how was that done? Did they approach him at a competition, letter etc, or did he approach them? How would that work?
I never asked them, so I can't know for certain. If I were to speculate (which is all I can do), I would imagine a couple of things took place. Firstly, of course, the playing of the individuals will have been of outstanding quality at the outings ... and (this is where speculation comes in) one or more of the judges present suggested that the player(s) submit for an upgrade.

In submitting for an upgrade, you should reach out to the music board for guidance. Their contact info is here (http://euspba.org/contact-us/) ... music@euspba.org

For me, I was asked to submit:
  • A letter explaining why I felt a higher grading was warranted
  • A recommendation from an instructor, and maybe also a pipe major or other member in good standing
  • Recordings demonstrating your proficiency ... I submitted a 2/4, a 68, a SR, and a full piobaireachd
  • And I think there may have been a form for me to fill out

In my own situation (which I can comment on with far-less guesswork), I thought and worried a lot about the possibility of being above a particular grade ... far more than the opposite scenario. I had lots of good friends when I was growing up who would grumble privately to me about "sandbaggers" who would go around winning everything, and year after year they would stick in the same grade, winning away. I care a lot about fostering an environment of good sportsmanship and respect ... thus, the prospect of being a "sandbagger" really bothered me.

So I asked the association about it. I believe I tried their contact info on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pg/theEUSPB...=page_internal)

And I gotta tell you, they REALLY impressed me in how well they listened. They helped guide me through the process of submitting recordings for initial grading, and explaining how to (possibly) move forward. After reaching out to the association, I received a call back that same day from one of the executive board members (which I REALLY didn't expect) ... and that conversation really helped in relaxing my worries.

It was suggested I submit for Grade 3, and see what happens ... assuming that I was admitted in that grade, the next suggestion was to try and attend some competitions early in the season, and then see how I fared. If I were to have been winning everything outright, and consistently (say, a couple events in a row), and maybe an AGL mark here and there (but you can't count on those, as it seems that not all judges give them out) ... then I would have a pretty firm basis in requesting a further upgrade in that same year.

A couple of months in, my results were good, but not as clear cut. Piobaireachd I was in really good shape, but light music was a mixed bag ... lots of 3rds, 4ths .. some 2nds, one first. So it made sense to stay the course in 3, and by the end of the season, light music results improved greatly ... AGLs, and mostly 1sts.

So really, if you're wondering how this sort of thing might go ... the association isn't an elusive group of unreachables ... rather, they're a group of folks who have gone through all the stuff you and I are, and want to help. If you really, really want to know how this sort of thing could/might go, shoot them an email, or even drop them a call. Worked for me .. I think it reasonable to assume it would for you as well.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:30 PM   #5
DamhCabrachPiping
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Default Re: Re-grade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bagpipes360 View Post
In the EUSPBA, at least, do you know if you could upgrade from, letís say, 4 to 2, or even 3 to 1? Not that Iím thinking doing so, but was just wondering (Iím talking about solos, of course).


I know here in the ASPD, you can elect to play grade 4 (we have grade 5) and are stuck there without promotion, UNLESS you have a letter from an instructor or PM stating you are a higher grade...

Should you compete for two years without scoring any aggregate points you could also apply to be downgraded...

Worth a try...


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Old 05-29-2019, 03:20 AM   #6
Mainebagpipes
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Default Re: Re-grade?

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Originally Posted by bagpipes360 View Post
Ahh yes, thank you for the great response. On second thought, you said that one lad got upgraded mid-season; how was that done? Did they approach him at a competition, letter etc, or did he approach them? How would that work?
I'm the first guy Nate mentioned, who had a stop-over in Grade III before hitting Grade II last August. In my first event (Grade IV), one of the judges told me to apply for a regrade immediately. I emailed Nick Hudson, and he had me write up a brief summary of my playing experience, and send in recordings of all my competition music.

The second regrade, from III to II was the same process, but was a bit more difficult. I swept my Grade III group at the Rhode Island Games with all firsts and all AGLs. My teacher had thought that might happen, and told me to put in to move up. I emailed Nick again, and send in recordings of everything, plus my strathspey and reel. However, the music board didn't want to push me up again based on a single games I did well at. After the next games, I'd accumulated six firsts/AGLs from six different judges. My teacher took my score sheets, got in touch with the music board, and successfully made the case to regrade me again.
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