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Does anyone have any experience of a musical aptitude test? Would appreciate some advice.

(14 Posts)
itsmeolord Mon 28-Sep-09 15:17:46


dd is in yr 5, however, we are encouraged to visit schools this year rather than wait until next year because of oversubscription and lack of places.

The two schools we are in catchment for are a; too small for the nunmber of children in catchment (due to two large new housing estates being built) and
b; utterly crap. Results for both are less than 30% achieving 5 GCSE's at c or above.

Dd is academic, does well at school, in the top sets and is on the G and T list for Literacy.

There are three options really, first is independent, although I can afford this I don't want to unless absolutely necessary. I want her to get a more varied education than the local independents would offer.
Second is grammar and dd is going to do the 11 plus. However, in our area only 1 in 10 will get a place at the grammar so she has a slim chance there.
Third choice is to try for two schools out of catchment. Both admit a small number of children on the musical aptitude but I have no idea what this entails so don't know if it is viable.

Also, (inexperienced mum emoticon), would I put down my choices and then be asked to attend for the test or would I have to contact the two schools to arrange it myself?

many thanks.

seeker Mon 28-Sep-09 15:27:06

My dd got a place in an out of catchment school on musical aptitude.

The test consisted of her playing a piece she had prepared on her instrument. She then chatted to the Head of music at the school, and gave him letters from her music teacher at primary school and her clarinet teacher. Because the letter from school talked about singing, he asked her to sing. Then they talked about the sort of music she liked and he told her what would be expected of her as a "music scholar". All very relaxed and informal.

I know you will have thought this already, but remember that the high schools in grammar school areas have pretty bad on paper results because the top 23% are creamed off. 30% GCSE a-c might be pretty amazing for the school population they've got, and your dd will definitely be one of the 30%! There are some wonderful vibrant schools which don't look good on paper - you have to see for yourself.

itsmeolord Mon 28-Sep-09 15:33:47

Many thanks. smile

I've been to visit both the underperforming schools, both are pretty crappy tbh. One was very dirty, no decent facilities, filthy toilets etc. There were large groups of students hanging out on the school field and in the car park smoking which kind of made me think there is not much discipline there.
The other one had a distinct lack of decent facilities as well and the teachers seemed very lacklustre/disillusioned. When I asked about G and T provision for example, one teacher laughed and said they didn't really have much call for it with the usual pupils.

The grammar is about an hour away from us in a different town so I don't think it's a case of brighter pupils being creamed off the top in our town as very very few pupils even apply from our area let alone get a place.

Can I ask what standard your daughter was at clarinet? Ie, had she done any of her grades yet?
Dd is doing violin and is in her third year now but progressing quite slowly. For one of the schools last year 376 pupils applied under the musical aptitude and only 2 got a place. sad

bruffin Mon 28-Sep-09 16:29:04

If it's selection of 10% on aptitude, then I don't think they are allowed to test on ability at all.
DS's school takes 10% on aptitude for technology and a complaint was taken out against them a few years ago by the LEA because there was concern that the test was for ability as well as aptitude.

itsmeolord Mon 28-Sep-09 17:01:15

So if it's not ability, then how do they assess who goes through or not? Am very confused now.

hocuspontas Mon 28-Sep-09 17:22:13

dd1's school used to admit on musical ability. This was outlawed 5 years ago and now it is on 'musical aptitude'. hmm

Basically you don't have to play any instrument (or even pledge that you will) and it's based on hearing sounds and tones and repeating riffs and seeing patterns etc.

The orchestra now appears to be a shadow of it's former self sad

hocuspontas Mon 28-Sep-09 17:23:52


itsmeolord Mon 28-Sep-09 17:25:57

So in other words she would be asked to sing back phrases etc, perhaps a bit of sight reading? Much like part of the grade exams?

That is a bit poo really, sounds like it is more to do with who gets on best with the tutor doing the test on the day really.
Agree it wouldn't do much for the orchestra.

Blardy hell, am really panicking now about finding a place in a decent secondary now. I really really don't want to be forced down the independent route.

seeker Mon 28-Sep-09 21:51:49

Sorry, just noticed your question. Dd was about to take grade 4, but she didn't have to be able to play an instrument at all - although if she didn't, she would have been expected to learn one pretty quick sharp! The interview/test was to assess musical interest (hence all the chat) and aptitude (hence the singing any playing) She would have had to do ear tests and stuff like that if she hadn't had an instrument to show off on. She ended up not taking the place, but her friend, who did go to the school has gone from not playing an instrument at all to grade 4 in two years, and regularly plays in the school orchestra at various local gigs.

thedolly Mon 28-Sep-09 22:05:03

If you really really don't want to be forced down the independent route then send her to the best of the two catchment schools. They need pupils like your DD there by the sounds of it. Also, if it's good enough for the parents who send there children there then it just might be good enough for you. That is if you really really don't want to be forced down the independent route hmm.

itsmeolord Tue 29-Sep-09 08:05:10

Thanks but i'm not sending dd to a school that neither she nor i are happy with because they might need kids like her there.
And no, i'm not keen on independent route for a number of reasons. although the local independents are good schools with good results its a huge financial commitment for a long time. I would rather have the cash to save for uni/deposit when she is older.
Also, both schools have a less than varied demographic.finally, both independents are very sports orientated, dd enjoys and participates in a number of sports but she would not be happy with the amount she would be expected to do at either school.
Nothing hmm about it at all.
Whats wrong with wanting a good state education if that is an option?

titchy Tue 29-Sep-09 09:11:45

Our localish school I think expects at least Grade 2 for entrance under 'musical aptitude'. TBH if she's not at that level with three years of playing it's not likely that she's got the natural aptitude they're looking for.

I'd look at moving in your position. Sorry not very helpful but can't see what other options you have, particularly as I think credit crunch etc. is likelyt omean more demand for the grammar places. sad

creditcrunched Tue 29-Sep-09 12:02:11

You will need to check with the school ast there there are various ways in which state schools test pupils for "musical aptitude". Usually there are two levels of test: the first is the Musical Aptitude listening test which is a written test. The pupils have to listen to selections of notes and mark on a sheet if they are higher / lower etc. Also, listen to two rythmns (sorry can't spell!) and mark down if they are the same etc etc.

If they get a high enough score on this test then they pass to a second round. This is either an audition on their instrument, in which case think of it as doing a grade exam ie play a couple of pieces and answer some aural questions. OR, its another aptitude test which is aural questions e.g. sing back a melody, clap back a rythmn etc.

mavici Sat 09-Nov-13 08:51:29

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