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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:29 pm 
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(Split from FORMAT OF SW HERTS VR PAPERS thread)

It does need a major reform. Especially the music test. My DS has peers who are grade 5 and 7 and didnt get through the first round. I have seen this in other years and this has been a huge knock to the confidence of these very young children. Music educators should see this as greatly undermining. Why encourage a musically interested child to achieve so much to then be told they have no aptitude for the subject by a test that is little more than a lottery and masked as a fair selective process. How does selection in this way benefit any school? :evil:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Ridiculous process : I agree.

My DC was very fortunate and passed, and to be honest, I didn't expect my DC would (being up against such great competition, with so many children being much more advanced in their musical grades).

I agree with your words totally.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:10 pm 
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Hi confused - what sort of grade is your dc and what instrument? To our surprise ds got through the first round of music at WGSB and now has to audition next week. He plays oboe but because of his swine flu simply doesn't have enough puff to do it so will have to fall back on piano which is VERY average. He is naturally very musical but bone idle and doesn't practise hence lack of grades. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:08 pm 
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My DS got through. Plays saxophone no grade yet (just squeezes All the Saints if pushed!) We put him in for the test as a practice for the VR/Maths to get him used to the exam conditions. He is frankly embarrassed (and so am I) he's never won a lottery before!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:30 pm 
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Oh thank goodness - that's two of us then! I feel better as I was thinking that we'd be embarasssed at his lack of skill. He will have to play his piece twice to make it stretch to a minute never mind 3 minutes :lol:

His piano teacher did say it is normally only those with high grades (at least 2+) who get through the auditions for secondary school.

Rosie


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:24 pm 
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Location: West Watford
I must confess I am frankly puzzled by the music aptitude test. I don't think it's a complete lottery because children I know from school who I would not describe as 'musical' don't tend to get through, while children who I would assess as 'above average' for music sometimes do - unless they are already reasonable skilled at an instrument.

In my experience, which also includes talking to different music teachers (who are also often at a loss to explain it when their 'better' pupils don't get auditioned and their beginners do), grade 3 and beyond rarely make it past the aural. I would have said 'never' except that I heard of one this evening!

I'd like it though if lots of people posted to prove me wrong on this as it seems so odd that a test could pick out musical possibility and miss musical ability (- even allowing for the percentage that will be proficient simply because they've been pushed into it and may not have natural ability!)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Hi CJ it's late and I am tired but are you saying that sometimes those with high grades at this stage have had more push than natural talent?

Ds is actually very musical naturally (well he can always pick out the bum notes in X-Factor!) but what lets him down is his bone idleness. He has no grades as he rarely practises what he is supposed to but enjoys tooting away on his recorder or oboe or making up tunes on the piano. He tends to play by ear more than by reading the actual notes.

So where am I going with this - I suppose it depends what they are looking for with this criterion - natural musical ability or someone who is already advanced in an instrument and is ready to join the school orchestra.

R


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:58 pm 
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Location: Watford, Herts
C. J. wrote:
I must confess I am frankly puzzled by the music aptitude test. I don't think it's a complete lottery because children I know from school who I would not describe as 'musical' don't tend to get through, while children who I would assess as 'above average' for music sometimes do - unless they are already reasonable skilled at an instrument.

The schools used to just require Grade 3 until 2003, when an adjudicator ruled that it was not a test of aptitude and the schools switched to the current test.


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 Post subject: Music Test Adjudication
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:08 am 
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Location: Herts
Do you know where we can read the text of this decision? Did any schools try and challenge it at all? One beneift to the schools has been to enable them to use the aural test as a first round thereby reducing the amount of children left for the auditions. But they are losing very telanted chidlren who do not get to show them the strength of their playing while others who don't play well but happen to have a good ear get through. Do we have any idea what percentage of applicants get through the aural?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:17 am 
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Location: West Watford
Hi Rosie,
What I meant was that I think it is possible that there are some children with highish music grades who have been 'pushed' into it (I really mean encouraged) by parents when they may not have a natural music 'aptitude. I don't actually think there is anything wrong with that either - so long as they child also enjoys the instrument and is not just slogging through grades without getting a chance to just play music.

However, I think it unlikely that most, or even the majority of children with those levels of musical experience fall into that category - yet they don't get through to the auditions ( in my experience) which is odd.

I think it is right that, as WP says, the schools can no longer set a minimum grade because that excluded many children who had not had access to instrumental teaching and also children who played instruments that are not grade tested types. Having said that though, a child in my class last year played a type of indian drum (to my shame I can't remember the name of it) to a very high level and was mortified when he wasn't auditioned.

I also think it is absolutely correct that the test picks up children like your son, who have a natural talent, and the schools should be encouraging those children to persue it, just as they would with maths or science.

But, a fair test of music aptitude should also not be excluding the children who have had a lot of experience of music - and that is what this one seems to do.


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