[Smt-talk] aptitude testing

Horlacher, Gretchen G. ghorlach at indiana.edu
Tue Aug 7 11:44:49 PDT 2012

Dear All,

Prof. Brent Gault, from the Music Education Department at the Jacobs School, Indiana University, wrote to me about this topic:

<There are several aptitude tests that have been designed to measure musical potential. The most well known ones are probably the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents (which was originally developed in the early 20th century), and the tests designed by Edwin Gordon that include the Primary Measures of Music Audiation or PMMA (for children in grades k-3), the Intermediate Measures of Music Audiation (for grades 1-6), the Music Aptitude Profile (for adults) and the Advanced Measures of Music Audiation (for adults). All of these test attempt to measure music aptitude using a paired comparison task. Students hear 1 example and then another and are asking to determine if specific elements (melody, rhythm, etc) are the same or different. This measures, in Gordon's opinion, audiation (which he defines as the ability to hear and comprehend a piece of music when the sound is not physically present). Gordon believes that this skill is crucial to determining music aptitude.  The AMMA was designed to be administered in a shorter period of time, so the tonal and rhythmic elements are measured simultaneously with 20 items.

Generally, when I have used an aptitude test for adults, I tend to use the Tonal and Rhythmic subsections of the Music Aptitude Profile. It is an older test that has been administered more times. The total exam time for these two subsections is (I believe) about 20 minutes each, so it is a bit longer, but I also feel more comfortable about the reliability and validity of the exam.

If you are looking for more information about Gordon's ideas related to music aptitude, you can find this at the web site for the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (www.giml.org<http://www.giml.org>). His tests are published through GIA publications.>

All best,

Gretchen Horlacher
Associate Professor of Music
Jacobs School of Music
Indiana University-Bloomington
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