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Musical Aptitude Test?

(23 Posts)
grassroots Thu 10-Jul-14 14:40:10

Can anyone tell me what is involved if DC is doing a Musical Aptitude Test at the RCM? I'm not very musical myself, so any help appreciated! Thank you.

Theas18 Thu 10-Jul-14 17:01:38

You've got to ask them or look on the website I fear. i don't think, whilst MN are a brilliant knowledgeable bunch we are that specialised ( or that you should 100% trust us if we claim we are!)

grassroots Fri 11-Jul-14 18:14:29

Thanks Theas18. Unfortunately the website just seems to say that it is 'straightforward'….which I am sure it probably is if you have a musical background, but I don't have a clue! On the other hand, I am sure that someone on Mumsnet must have an idea??? I have faith in Mumsnetters!

KristinaM Fri 11-Jul-14 18:18:03

They would guess they will check pitch, rhythm and general listening ability /attention

KristinaM Fri 11-Jul-14 18:18:40

What age is your child? Do they play an instrument already ?

grassroots Fri 11-Jul-14 20:07:04

Hi Kristina. DC does play an instrument, but he is still only little - would possibly be going up for Musical aptitude Test next Spring (maybe!). Do you know how would they go about checking pitch and rhythm? What would DC need to do? Thanks!

KristinaM Fri 11-Jul-14 20:26:39

I don't know about the assessment procedure at RCM, but I've experience of the ones at other similar organisations.

He will probably be in a small group of children and they will play games with singing and clapping . They might use simple percussion instruments. Your child won't realise he is being assessed, it's just like a fun music workshop. He won't have to perform in any way, it's not like an audition, he doesn't need to prepare .

Please try not to worry. It doesn't matter that you have no musical background yourself, my nephew is a professional musician and his parents knew nothing about music when he started.

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 11-Jul-14 20:40:54

Mine have done MATs, but not at the RCM.

There were four sections:
Pitch: is the second tone higher or lower than the first.
Melody: five note melody played twice, which note changed.
Rhythm: similar to melody except a rhythm.
Texture: how many notes in the chord: two, three or four.

The questions are played on an audio track. They were given a printed sheet and for each question they had to circle the answer.

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 11-Jul-14 20:42:40

The test I've described above is for ten year olds. With younger children they may do something different, or less formal.

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 11-Jul-14 20:47:48

Many independent junior schools use MATs for entry into Y3 (so designed for 6-7 year olds). You can get specimen tests online, like this one

grassroots Sat 19-Jul-14 21:33:35

Thank you kindly for all all the good advice - I think I understand the different elements you have described, but will have a look for more specimen tests. The Texture bit…is that something that can be/should be practiced or should it be obvious to anyone musical? I confess that it seems beyond me!

TheFirstOfHerName Sat 19-Jul-14 21:42:04

Two of my children play woodwind instruments and they found the texture section trickier because they only ever play one note at a time, so don't have experience with chords. If you have access to a piano, or know someone who does, you could practise by playing 2, 3 and 4 note chords to your child.

Clobbered Sat 19-Jul-14 21:47:09

Remember they are testing aptitude, not knowledge - they are looking for innate ability. Coaching your child to pass the test isn't going to help them at all in the long run, so I'd relax about it. Just let your kid enjoy as much music as possible and let the professionals at RCM sort the rest out!

SnakesRule Tue 26-Aug-14 15:57:28

Are you thinking about mini-bass course?

My son is at RCM JD on a full study program and one of his friends is doing mini-bass.
It's a great course - the fees are much less and the program is pretty much the same as on the full course. I believe they like taking them from 0 on a bass but will test for musical ability.
Orchestra and chamber music are really great so thumbs up if that's what you have in mind.

Going back to the question - completely agree with Clobbered - it is not something you need to prepare for.

RCM JD stuff are high level professionals and they are looking for natural ability for this course rather then knowledge. If your child gets selected it 99% means this is worth the effort and commitment on your and his part

JackMSVaughan Wed 01-Nov-17 10:52:02

Hi everyone, hope it's all right to post on here even though I'm not a parent. One of my student's mums told me to share this on mumsnet.

I'm a private music teacher in Bristol UK and loads of my students have been going through MAT tests recently as we have Bristol Cathedral School here – they do around thousand admissions a year using the musical aptitude test.

Over the last year I've put together some free tests and courses for students, parents and teachers to assist the preparation for this exam. There's loads of information and tips on how to practice, even if you've never studied music before.

I've put these free courses up on my website for everyone. Hope it helps

jo164 Wed 01-Nov-17 18:33:26

Wow wish I'd had your link a month ago... My daughter, who has perfect pitch sat the BCCS test and missed it by 1 Mark... It tested her ability to understand the questions very rapidly with only 1 play through, rather than her musical aptitude in some cases! Very frustrating. If only they would send them 1 examplar question from each section the night before so they could at least all then be tested on their musical aptitude and not their ability to understand the instructions!

JackMSVaughan Thu 02-Nov-17 05:50:31

Hey Jo,

I must say I find that really frustrating to hear too. Even though it's a significant part of my work, I think it's a flawed test. And your example shows it. What a shame.

Fantastic that she's got PP though, that's brilliant. I'm sure that will serve her really well with what she does in music.

Good luck with stuff, let me know if I can help in any way in future.

Mistigri Thu 02-Nov-17 06:14:31

We are abroad and the publicly funded music schools here use a version of MAT to recruit at age 6/7.

Our local school dropped it completely this year as they reckon that it doesn't work.

They do audition kids who already play an instrument, which is very effective.

jo164 Thu 02-Nov-17 19:33:10

Thank you Jack for your reply. Would you expect a child who had perfect pitch to be classed as having a high level of musical aptitud? Her main instrument is her voice (West end show finalist a couple of times so far!) but she does play the bass guitar to a pretty decent standard as well. Do you think it could be appealed or do you think it would basically mean we were saying your test doesn't test what it aims to which would be difficult to prove?

LilyBolero Thu 02-Nov-17 21:33:16

Perfect Pitch isn't a sign of musical aptitude unfortunately (although many musicians do have perfect pitch) - some people who are not musical also have it. However it does sound like your dd is doing very well with her music.

It's not worth appealing the musical aptitude place - the test is the test, and it's the way it is because they are not allowed to allocate places based on musical ability (i.e. musicianship that can be taught) to avoid benefiting more affluent children. If she doesn't get a place at BCCS, then you could do a general appeal, based on evidence that she is G&T at music, but it is a very over-subscribed school. Good luck though!!!

LilyBolero Thu 02-Nov-17 21:34:07

I should add that no test is perfect - and any test will primarily find children who are doing that sort of test - the basic flaw with the 11+ too!

LilyBolero Thu 02-Nov-17 21:34:38

sorry, that should read 'will find children who are GOOD AT doing that sort of test'

jo164 Thu 02-Nov-17 23:11:15

Thank you. It's frustrating when no other school caters for your child's talent in the same way, but you most probably still can't access it. I have heard that somer children who have got in on the aptitude test actually have very little interest or subsequent ability in music. I'm sure there are others in the same position though. We'll have to wait for the lottery - without much hope!

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