Advanced search

Music specialism schools -what standard of music ability & what sort of tests eg Prendergast, Kingsdale?

(21 Posts)
ThreeTomatoes Fri 14-Sep-12 18:04:43

Have started googling schools for dd who's in yr5 to get my head around the system, as I know in my area there are very little decent schools - and some of the closest as the crow flies are actually more awkward to get to than those further away! She plays piano and has done fairly well so far, passed Grade 1 in yr4 and will start on Grade 2 this year. No other music education other than usual curriculum though, just a little theory as part of her piano. So, having looked at Prendergast & Kingsdale, both of which would be easy to get to even though not our closest schools, I was wondering what sort of tests or auditions they require and to what standard?

DeWe Fri 14-Sep-12 20:47:39

I don't know those schools, but I do know in our area I looked at music scholarships for dd1, and realised she wasn't anywhere near the audition level. She was grade 3 piano (Merit) and singing (pass) in year 5, and needed to be a grade further on and preferably have another instrument (orchestral) to similar standard too.

YokoUhOh Fri 14-Sep-12 20:58:58

I got a music scholarship to my secondary school; I had Grade 8 recorder, Grade 5 violin and Grade 4 piano (was ridiculously prodigious and obsessive about music as a little one!). Perhaps try another instrument alongside piano (as suggested above, an orchestral one would be a good choice).

ThreeTomatoes Fri 14-Sep-12 21:39:23

Thanks. I thought that might be the case. There's no way she'd reach that standard by yr 6. They're state schools btw, not private, not full scholarships, they're just for free music tuition and/or a way in over & above the usual criteria.

YokoUhOh Fri 14-Sep-12 22:35:48

My brother did a similar thing for a music place at a state secondary and he was Grade 3ish piano plus double bass. I honestly think, as a head of music in a state secondary, that if your dc started learning another instrument now, she might be in with a shot.

ThreeTomatoes Fri 14-Sep-12 22:56:12

Thanks. Can't afford it tbh! sad Only just managing to stretch to piano lessons with the help of my mum!

BanoffeeSplitz Sat 15-Sep-12 02:34:35

State schools tend to be aptitude based rather needing to have reached grade 4 or whatever to apply for a scholarship. This may even be a requirement in order not to discriminate against potential scholars who won't have had the opportunity for music tuition at primary school age.

I certainly know of children with music scholarships at Kingsdale who were only formally around the Grade 1 or 2 level when they went to the tests (around October in Y6) and hadn't taken any actual exams at that point, though there are also music scholars who start at a considerably higher level as well.

TimeChild Sat 15-Sep-12 12:34:06

Yes, know for a fact that Kingsdale, Prendagast and Haberdashers all select on aptitude not attainment. Kingsdale has an audition where the child plays something on the chosen instrument or if no instrument, sings. They have to show they have pitch, rhythm etc. P and H share a written test and from there, the best gets chosen for an audition.

A word of warning. They are hugely competitive (there are queues going round the block prior to the test at Haberdashers). Also for Kingsdale they offer their so-called 'scholarships' to many more children than finally get a place. There follows a lottery from those who have attained scholarship level confused to get a final offer.

I think lots of children go through a lot of stress all for nought sad

Blu Sat 15-Sep-12 21:13:26

I don't think state schools are allowed to select on anything other than aptitude.

However, a high degree of familiarity and accomplishment can't hurt in the child being able to confidently demonstrate aptitude, can it?

ThreeTomatoes Sat 15-Sep-12 22:20:23

Thanks. I guess once I start visiting all these schools I'll have a better idea of what's best for dd.

ThreeTomatoes Sun 16-Sep-12 22:02:39

Have had a closer look at Prendergast, btw, they have a guidance sheet about the music tests , in case anyone else is interested, you're right they're based on aptitude, and then an audition to play a piece of your choice. I am seriously considering this for dd, as my local schools are not good and Hilly Fields is easy to get to on the train, half hour journey door to door. Given that she will have had two possibly three piano exams by then (and several experiences of playing publicly), sitting a test and playing a piece at an audition may be familiar enough for her to not stress her out any more than the piano exams do. With no pressure from me to actually get in, i'm not a pushy mum, que sera sera & all that... smile Just, if the opportunity's there, why not?

mushroom3 Mon 17-Sep-12 11:16:56

Prendergast and Haberdashers share the test, so if your daughter passes the music aptitude test, it's worth going for both.

LorraineSE22 Thu 20-Sep-12 09:54:39

There are video clips of the sample Music Aptitude Tests here:

These are similar to the types of tests that secondary schools use.

ThreeTomatoes Thu 20-Sep-12 18:49:12

Thats great, thanks! Only two of the tests there but I'll have a google! The chord one, saying how many notes in the chord, we both found quite difficult!

jasmiin Mon 01-Oct-12 14:31:09

DD sat for Prendergast / Haberdashers test last year. It was very simple and line with ABRSM aural tests. For audition they allow children to play / sing one or two pieces.

Daughter got into Haberdashers, which was her first choice.

ThreeTomatoes Mon 01-Oct-12 21:05:00

That's reassuring to know, thanks. I went to Prendergast's open evening last week and although didn't get to see much of the buildings themselves as i was late, I liked the Head's speech. it seems like an excellent school. And a whole music block of its own! smile

sallie2000 Sat 27-Jul-13 21:58:11


Can anyone tell me if they have any experience regarding the Coopers Coborn Music aptitude test. My son will be having one of these tests and I have looked at several music aptitude websites and have been left a little confused!!!

Many thanks

lasagnefortea Thu 19-Sep-13 19:23:26

We used the tests here for training for Coopers Coborn MAT. My eldest successfully got through the test last year.

Hope that helps. Good luck with the test!

ThreeTomatoes Fri 20-Sep-13 07:40:18

Came across this, was on the verge of asking for more advice about auditions and realised it's my own thread from last year grin

Update - we visited Prendergast again last night, looked around properly this time, and dd LOVED it (it's the 1st time i've seen her actually properly enthusiastic about a school) and so the pressure's on the music tests!!

Re the audition - I was wondering what was best for dd to play? She could play a bog standard Grade 2 piece, or I was thinking she could play 1 or 2 little compositions of her own (she's always making up tunes). Or, could she do both (the compositions are only little pieces and obv nothing technically advanced!). D'you think her own compositions would make her stand out a bit, OTOH I'd like them to know she has reached Grade 2 standard and plays those confidently. Kicking myself for not taking the opportunity to ask the music teacher yesterday about this.

Obviously, this is if she gets through to audition stage....

lasagnefortea Sat 28-Sep-13 18:56:01

I think you get to play two pieces at audition, so a Grade 2 piece and her own composition sounds like a really good combination. Good luck!

ThreeTomatoes Sun 29-Sep-13 18:02:10

Thank you lasagne.

Have submitted our application with Prendergast at the top. smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now