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Musical Aptitude Test


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#1 music margaret

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 14:41

One of my students has told me that he needs to take a Musical Aptitude Test in the next few months for entry to secondary school.

Does anybody know if there is a set format to these (ie like musical 11+), or if the tests are likely to be similar to grade exams of any particular board. What sort of grade standard (aural) are these likely to be? Anyone had any experience of this?
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#2 Guest: Mad Tom_*

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 16:18

QUOTE(music margaret @ Sep 24 2010, 04:41 PM)  

One of my students has told me that he needs to take a Musical Aptitude Test in the next few months for entry to secondary school.

Does anybody know if there is a set format to these (ie like musical 11+), or if the tests are likely to be similar to grade exams of any particular board. What sort of grade standard (aural) are these likely to be? Anyone had any experience of this?


I thought that - except for trivial skills - the whole idea of aptitude test had been discredited.

What is the point of the test? Will he be denied entry to the school if it shows he doesn't have musical aptitude?

Or will he be admitted but denied tuition in music, or treated differently by the staff in some way?

Which would be ridiculous, because what leads to becoming good at something is not some hypothetical "aptitude" but really, really wanting to do it, then going about learning it the right way. (Or in one of the many right ways).
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#3 Hedgehog

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 16:35

I wonder whether this is like the test that my son took when he was in year 6 looking to go into year 7. It was a test which a group of comprehensive schools administered in order to be able to select some good musicians and it was a route we contemplated as we are out of catchment (and even out of county). It meant that a very small % of pupils were admitted with these music "scholarships", even though they might live a long way away, or not have siblings already at the school.

Anyway, the idea was that the basic standard was grade 2-ish. The applicants had to go into the school hall and had a written test. I'm sorry I don't have details, because my son is now 16 in 6th form. At the time, my son was about grade 4 on trumpet, and his theory lagged behind that a bit, probably about grade 2. He passed the written test because we were then called for an audition where he played a piece he chose himself on the trumpet.

That was all there was to it. He passed, but we didn't take up the place as it was our insurance "offer" as it were.

If this is an independent school though, the standard will be rather higher I should think, and in fact the school should be able to provide you or your pupil with details of what will be required. I believe there's also some sort of independent schools handbook for scholarships which gives details. I've never had to use the book but our head of music has a copy and we (as peris) sometimes get involved in giving mock tests.
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#4 music margaret

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 10:10

Thanks for input.

School is a former private school turned academy status (state) that selects 10% of students on musical ability - Musical Aptitude Test followed by auditions (have found this out on another site).

Student has passed grade 3 on two instruments in the past year, and grade 2 theory. He has very good aural skills and also a very good singing voice, although is not coached in this at present.

Any further advice?
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#5 andante

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 11:54

If you phone the school they should be willing and able to give details of their admissions procedure. The school's website ought to give details too, but sometimes school websites can be rather out of date.
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#6 gem5ie

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 21:32


Music Margaret, that sounds *very* similar to where I am.

We have two state comprehensive schools which in all respects (not just music) are head-and-shoulders above anything else in the town. Each school selects 10% of its intake on the basis of a musical aptitude test- one school has official specialist status for music and the other some kind of not-quite-specialist status that I don't understand but reflects the significant role of music in their community.

The schools concerned are very secretive about what these tests entail, and it's very difficult to prepare children for them- the argument being that they should not discriminate against children who have not had the opportunity to learn an instrument at primary school. As far as I can discern it's drawn from what children should have covered in KS2 classroom music- instruments and genres from across the world, for example, and more general responses to music- "how does it make you feel and why?", "where might you hear this music played?".

The children I have known who sat these tests had the opportunity to tell the assessor of their musical activities, however I know some very able children (one, notably, who passed Grade 7 violin with distinction at Christmas of Year 7) who were not offered a place on musical aptitude. It seems like a lottery, to the extent that it's almost not worth worrying about.

The music specialist school does not run auditions, the other one does and obviously when I've had candidates sit that test I've prepared their repertoire in the usual way, perhaps with an added element of making sure they can talk intelligently about the pieces they are playing.


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