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Musical Aptitude Tests for secondary school entry

(34 Posts)
dukat Thu 15-Sep-11 15:24:02

Can anyone help with information on musical aptitude test for secondary school entry? Thanks.

onceagain Thu 15-Sep-11 15:35:45

If its a state school then have a look at the group section on MAT on this link

Each school is different and some produce their own recordings for the test but the format is often the same ie written test in 3 or more sections around pitch, rythmn etc.

If its a private school it may be more like doing an aural test as part of the grade exams ie includes singing, clapping etc.

What school are you applying for? Has your dc ever taken grade exams?

dukat Thu 15-Sep-11 16:30:37

Hi, many thanks for your help and the link. I looked at it and believe that it will be quite helpful.

The school we are applying for is the Fortismere in Muswell Hill. My dc has taken a piano exam few months ago and passed it.

We will practice with the tests provided by your link at home tonight!

Thank you again.

LorraineSE22 Thu 15-Sep-11 19:46:18

Ooh that's my blog!

Here's another recent article all about what to expect at the audition if you pass the MAT including a list of popular questions that students are asked:

I'm currently preparing quite a few students for state and private scholarships so feel free to ask for advice.

Good luck!

onceagain Thu 15-Sep-11 21:37:29

wow Lorraine, what's the chances of that? I had no idea it was written by a mumsnetter but had seen it before and its a very good blog!

dukat - I know someone whose dc got into fortismere on a music place. The second test is more of an aural singing and clapping exam, they're not allowed to audition.
Are you trying for other schools that offer music places in north london? I'm thinking Camden school for girls etc

soonbesailing Thu 15-Sep-11 22:08:31

dukat if you go on the Fortismere website in the top right hand corner there is a site map, if you go into the admissions section there is an additional information document called admissions 2012, when you open the document it tells you what the music aptitude test involves.
Hope this helps you deciding if it is something you want to do. I do know that the applicants do not play any instruments at the test.
One other thing you may want to consider is that Fortismere are currently deciding if they may in the future, change the admission criteria so that siblings of children who enter via the music criteria, will not automatically get a place at the school. Obviously not an issue if you only have one child or live close enough to get in on distance, but could be a problem if you are hoping to get other DCs in in the future based on being a sibling.
I think they will be deciding this soon as it was talked about last term.

dukat Fri 16-Sep-11 15:08:07

Hi Onceagain and soonbesailing and LorraineSE22, Thank you so much for all your comments and help. I only have one child, so the entry for a sibbling will not be an issue.

I am so pleased that you know of someone who took the test at Fortismere. I looked at their website but it does not give very detailed information about the test. I wanted to know whether it was very difficult and specifically whether there were many applicants under this criteria. They are offering 24 places only. The test is on Saturday next week, 24.09

I engagned the piano tutor to come over once a week for the last 4 weeks to preapare my one. I know that heused some excercises on the net.

I simply have no idea what to expect from this test i.e. how intense is it, etc. Any input would be most appreciated as I would like to be able to prepare my one and put him at ease a bit.


soonbesailing Sat 17-Sep-11 15:44:37

Hi Dukat, I can't tell you that much I'm afraid, I think the test is in two parts so some don't make it to the second round.
I don't think its that stressful. I would imagine quite a few take the test, as the music centre in Haringey is very popular and lots of Haringey primary children have had whole class music tuition, so that has increased the interest in music at primary level.
Has your piano teacher had any experience of anyone taking the test ?
I know in the first year they didn't end up with 24, as some children were offered scholarships at private schools, so gave up their Fortismere places.
Not sure about this years intake, I know one parent whos son got in on music but I haven't asked her how difficult it was.
Once they are in school they all do the same lessons, so you wouldn't know who got in on music and the school do not say how many take up the places. There may be something on the Haringey website or in the secondary school transition booklet which tells you the numbers that get in under each admission criteria.
The music department at Fortismere is excellent and a musical child would have a great time, so If I were you I would take the test.
Can you get in if you don't get a music place?
Good luck for next week.

onceagain Sat 17-Sep-11 18:23:50

hi dukat
apparently the first test is not very difficult but lots of children apply because its quite inclusive i.e. there's no need to audition with an instrument for the second test. Expect over 200 children taking the test, some of whom have never played an instrument and never taken a grade exam.
As long as your ds is not too nervous he should be ok, but with that many children applying it can be a bit hit or miss as to whether the best musicians get through or not. I know a grade 5 violinist who didn't make the second test last year.
Good luck to your ds.

dukat Sat 17-Sep-11 20:37:38

Hi soonbesailing and onceagain, I really appreciate your comments, help. Thank you for your good luck wishes, we do need it!

We do not qualify under the catchment area to get in, eventhough we do not live very far. The Fortismere's catchment area is very narrow!! The piano teacher who is tutoring my son, teaches piano in different schools and also provides private lessons, however, he did not have to prepare anyone else for an entry test as this. My son is the first one!

I think that I am more nervous than my son. I will be over the moon if he makes it. He is quite musical so there is a chance.

If you think of any additional tips you can provide in the meantime, please let me know.

Thank you again. Until the next time, Cheers

LorraineSE22 Tue 20-Sep-11 14:04:22

Students that do quite well on Ear Tests/Aural tend to be able to get through the MAT test without too much difficulty.

The important thing to note is that a lot of the MATs for state schools use a CD that contains electronically generated sounds, not always actual instruments, so it may be a bit confusing to some students that have a very traditional grounding in classical music and are expecting to hear a piano or similar instrument in the test. I think this is done to give a level playing field i.e. pianists have no specific advantage over students that only play wind/brass/string instruments.

Additionally, some state schools don't let you submit any graded exam results with the application, so it is purely based on the MAT whether you get through to the second round or not.

There are some good online Aural training web sites. I also use Auralia all the time - the free trial version that has absolutely loads of questions.

harpom48 Tue 20-Sep-11 21:36:46

Hi all. am not actually a mum. but a dad. our daughter is up for the MAt on saturday at Fortismere. it is quite hard to discern what will happen. i called the school to ask a few questions, but they were not very forthcoming.
i got through to the music department, but alas their voicemail was so packed and stacked, I could not leave a message. from what i can gather it is a multiple choice style paper. well in part one anyhows.

we have been tutoring our daughter, as she is quite musical. what we can gather is that the test if no reflection of how good a trained musician they already are, but more an indication of how naturally musical they be; how good their ear is.

It seems odd that for a school whose catchment is so tight, we have to go through with all this stress, when she lives within a 20 minute walk to the school. i half feel that, if there are 24 places available, they should go out to local kids from local primary schools. especially as there no other non-faith, co-educational schools in the area. and certainly no other provisions for girls, other than entrance exams.

babartheelephant Tue 20-Sep-11 23:58:59

Using my wife's login: furthermore, echoing what has been said above, only 14 places were taken up last year out of a possible 24, at Fortismere. The head said that this was 'because the others weren't adequate standard', but I don't believe that for this hugely popular school that can be the case. Rather I think the new head wants to take a new direction away from awarding selective places. Good luck for the tests everyone.

LorraineSE22 Wed 21-Sep-11 08:37:29

I just had a look at the Admissions information for Fortismere ( and the MAT consists of a multiple choice test lasting up to 40 minutes. There will be 60 questions in total in four sections: pitch, rhythm, texture and melody.

This sounds like the standard 60-question MAT that is used for State Secondary School Admission, so I have included the information here.

I spend a lot of time with my students in the run-up to the MAT priming them to answer these kinds of questions, so do get their teacher to spend some time giving them sample questions as below. I hope this is of help to you:

The Musical Aptitude Test, played on a CD, is a multiple choice paper consisting of 60 questions which will be divided into 4 sections covering the following areas:-

Pitch: For these questions candidates listen to 2 sounds and have to indicate whether the second sound is the same as the first, or whether it is higher or lower. There are 20 of these questions and some of the pitches are less than a semitone apart.

Melody: For these questions candidates listen to 2 tunes consisting of 5 notes. Candidates have to decide whether the second tune is the same as the first or if one of the notes has been altered. If there is a change, candidates will be expected to identify which note has been altered by giving the note number. There are 10 questions.

Texture: For these questions candidates listen to a number of notes played together at the same time. Candidates need to decide whether or not each chord has 2, 3 or 4 notes. There are 20 questions.

Rhythm: For these questions candidates listen to 2 patterns of notes and have to decide whether the second pattern is the same as or different to the first. Each rhythm will be 4 beats in length. There are 10 questions.

babartheelephant Wed 21-Sep-11 09:59:47

Thanks for this information - it will be useful in preparation. Perhaps naively I just thought it would be OK to go into the test on her own musical merit, but if everyone is prepping even for the music tests then I guess you have to do the same.

LorraineSE22 Wed 21-Sep-11 14:54:49

I think it's vital to prepare for the MAT as it's not that similar to the graded aural tests so there will be some unfamiliar subject matter for students that have only been preparing for ABRSM or Trinity graded exams.

dukat Thu 29-Sep-11 14:32:16

Hi, thank you to you all for the information provided. My son sat the exam last Saturday and we are due to find out the results by Monday! If he passed, I may need some helpulf information about the stage 2. Cheers.

verytellytubby Thu 29-Sep-11 17:52:37

I'm 0.7 of a mile from Fortismere and not in catchment. I'm going to try DD for the music place next year so this thread has been very useful.

LorraineSE22 Fri 30-Sep-11 22:46:12

Dukat - here's some info about Stage 2. Fingers crossed for Monday!

LorraineSE22 Tue 28-Aug-12 09:02:12

Applications are due soon for 2013 scholarships. Here's some ideas on how to prepare for the scholarships. Very best of luck to all applying!

lasagnefortea Mon 15-Apr-13 15:13:29

I'm glad I found the link with the sample music aptitude tests - the video with the sample questions is not what I was expecting at all, I was thinking it would be more like the exam aural tests. Just as well we can get some practice in before the test in Autumn!

nina1999 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:39:24

Is it just me or is this texture question really hard?

Munchman Tue 01-Oct-13 18:42:05

There are some new MAT online resources including pitch, melody texture and rhythm exercises here They have downloadable tests and CDs as well.

mavici Sat 09-Nov-13 08:50:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Jules2 Thu 09-Oct-14 11:49:22

Can anyone tell me anything useful about the music aptitude test for Ashmole Academy? Thanks.

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