Seating as ranking in youth orchestras:
What do you think?
For my taste, I don’t think it is the way to go. Rotational seating is much better for everyone. Ranked seating can put a great deal of undue pressure on students (and parents!). If you want to showcase an individual’s talent, hold a concerto competition, or invite one of your students to come and play a solo with the orchestra. But to rank students in such a public way is not effective—and it can never be truly accurate anyway. Side effects that I have seen over the years include students actually quitting—not the orchestra, but the violin altogether. There are other ways to keep order, provide positive motivation and encouragement, and to foster a healthy and productive amount of competitive spirit in music students.