The songs that came to me to be judged represented a wide range of styles. Some were simple children's songs, others were sophisticated choral works. A few were highly influenced by popular styles while others were written in more artistic or classical styles. Fortunately, there is room for many different styles in sacred songwriting. Using the rubric helped clarify why some songs felt more effective and appealing. I hope that these ideas might be helpful to you songwriters out there.
Here are the Categories of the Rubric:
Aesthetic Appeal Ratings 1 2 3 4 (1 highest)
Line, shaping, word painting, effective message and expression
1 - Strong aesthetic appeal and general impression. Would be enjoyed by many listeners. Keeps the listener interested.
2 - Includes some interesting musical ideas. The general impression is pleasant and moderately effective.
3 - Includes at least one interesting musical idea. Yet, the overall impression is not effective.
4 - Does not present an effective general impression. Musical ideas do not hold the listener’s interest.
Creativity Ratings 1 2 3 4 (1 highest)
Variety, development of musical ideas, thematic material cohesive throughout
1 - Includes very original, unusual or imaginative musical ideas. Explores and varies at least two musical elements.
2 - Involves some original aspect(s) or manipulation(s) of musical idea(s). Explores and varies at least one musical element.
3 - Musical idea is neither familiar nor a cliché. However, there is no development, variety, or exploration of musical elements.
4 - Musical idea is familiar or a cliché. No variety or exploration of musical elements (range, timbre, dynamics, tempo, rhythm, melody).
Craftsmanship Ratings 1 2 3 4 (1 highest)
Organization/Form, Adherence to Style, Chord Progression, Melody,
Accompaniment, Part Writing, Voice Leading, Vocal Range, Poetic Devices, Rhyme Scheme, Completeness
1 - Presents at least one complete musical idea. Has a coherent and organized form with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Uses musical elements to organize musical ideas or the form.
2 - Ending feels final. Uses at least one musical element to organize the musical ideas and overall form.
3 - Presents one complete musical idea. However, composition lacks overall completeness. Fails to use musical elements to organize musical ideas or form.
4 - Gives no sense of a completed musical idea. Exhibits no clear beginning, middle or end section. Form appears random rather than organized. Musical elements (range, timbre, dynamics, tempo, rhythm, melody) do not connect well or are not used to organize musical ideas or the form.