Drum Corps International

Judge Requirements

Requirements to become a DCI Judge

Judging for Drum Corps International is a challenging and rewarding experience. DCI does not “train” judges who have no prior experience in the marching arts. We strive to provide the best assessment of our constituent drum corps through a comprehensive vetting and education process for prospective candidates.

The expectation for any prospective judge candidate is that they have extensive background in the marching arts and related education as follows:

  • Prior judging experience in a marching arts activity
  • Prior experience as a writer, designer, and/or instructor in the marching arts is highly desirable
  • Demonstrated ability to judge more than one music caption (brass or percussion, plus music analysis or general effect) or more than one visual caption (field visual, visual analysis, general effect, color guard)
  • Successful completion of DCI online judge training sessions (for those selected to trial judge)
  • Summer availability to trial judge at two or more DCI competitions (ideally three to four competitions on two captions)


Candidates meeting the above requirements must submit all of the following information and materials below to the DCI judge candidate coordinator, judgeinfo@dci.org, by January 1.

  • Cover letter (PDF) that expresses interest and indicates specific background emphasis (brass, percussion, visual, color guard)
  • Resume or CV (PDF), that includes marching arts experience as judge, writer, designer, and/or instructor
  • Detailed copy of judging schedule for the past two years, listing dates, contests, locations, and captions judged
  • 2-3 recorded judging examples on different captions
  • 2-3 written letters of recommendation from recognized individuals who are familiar with the candidate's judging skills and performance
  • 2-3 recaps or tote sheets from contests judged


Invitations to judge candidates for the upcoming season will be issued by the DCI judge administrator or designee by March 15.

Anyone interested in becoming a DCI judge is encouraged to enrol in the DCI online World Judging Symposium

Judge Diversity Initiative

Launched in 2023, the Judging Diversity Initiative extends DCI’s commitment to develop new opportunities to expand and share the greatest stage in marching music through thoughtful and deliberate collaboration. It works in partnership with DCI’s IN STEP committee to more broadly foster and promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Funding to offset expenses and comprehensive training will be provided for candidates accepted into the program.

Learn more

How to apply for the Judge Diversity Initiative

Beginning November 1, interested candidates can submit their application materials to include:

• Letter of interest
• Professional resume
• Two letters of reference
• Supporting materials (such as videos and/or audio recordings of candidate’s bands, drum corps, color guards, drum lines, and/or sample recordings of previously recorded commentary)

Applications will be accepted beginning November 1 with the registration window open through January 1, 2024.


• Deadline for applying: January 1, 2024
• Review & Screening: March
• Notifications sent: Early April
• Training begins: Late April
• Biweekly training sessions: End of April through start of the 2024 DCI Summer Tour

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