We had a lovely time at dinner recently, talking about everything musical, and hearing about all the ways that some local teachers try to abuse both the local music exam system, and Music Festivals. It's sad to hear that certain of our colleagues feel the need to behave in this matter, but then it's probably a feeling of musical inadequacy on their part. When I interviewed Vladimir Ashkenazy recently, he was the most humble person to speak with - now at the age of 70, he has nothing to prove! And, certainly as far as Festivals are concerned, the standard of moderation for adjuciators is variable to say the least! At a recent event, an adjudicator, apparently confronted with a number of inital grade violinists, couldn't make up their mind as to the class's overall winner, so just picked one randomly - and in fact this one hadn't even used the bow at all. That certainly gives you a lot of faith in that event, I don't think!