How do we listen to music performers when we don’t see what we hear? Music professionals’ judgments in auditions and competitions have significant impacts on musical careers, yet these assessments of music performance are based on tacit knowledge. Empirical music research suggests music assessors are not as well equipped to assess sound as they imagine, have limited vocabulary to describe what they hear and are influenced by visual aspects of performance. Music performance institutions must think creatively about how to prepare performers for the profession, not only in the craft of their instrument, but as critical thinkers and expert evaluators of musical sound. This 2014 OLT Seed Project at the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong investigated music students’ perceptions and descriptions of music performances by sound and sight. ‘Redefining tacit knowledge in music performance evaluation: preparing perceptually-aware music leaders (SD14-3629)’ aimed to provide insights into the intricacies of performance evaluation and to prepare tertiary music students as future music professionals with sophisticated listening, evaluation and communication skills to evaluate music performance.