Friday, March 14, 2014

Tests!! Thoughts on my first-ever music theory test!

This year I am taking the Music Teachers' Association of California Certificate of Merit test.

I have completed the written exam, which included ear-training elements, and will be participating in the performance element in a couple weeks. The performance part doesn't worry me. I am one of those rare individuals who does not get nervous. Lucky me!

I have nothing to which I can compare my experience taking this test. I certainly wasn't prepared to be in a room with students of other levels, and other instruments, and hearing a boom box play all the different ear-training tests the entire time! (Our classroom had 8 students: 2 flutes, 4 violinists, 2 cellos.) It was terribly distracting.

I found it almost impossible to concentrate on writing Dominant 7th chords (my nemesis!) while a voice was instructing the violinists to determine what era a musical example came from, and then playing the sample twice. (I wanted to stop and listen to the music!)

I also found myself distracted wondering why the violin ear-training offers music on a violin, but the flute has to identify intervals, etc played on a piano? (I have to admit, I am easily distracted.) It just seems odd to me to spend so much time learning the sound of intervals on a piano when I play a flute.

When I began to play the flute, I would have said that I had close relative pitch, from all the years I spent playing piano (never instructed, I just played for the joy of it). It was very surprising to me that my "relative" pitch disappeared when I listened to the flute! The notes sound so different to me! (Maybe this is just a "me" thing?) Anyway, this is why it seemed odd to me that my ear training was linked to a piano sound...especially when I discovered that the violinists were tested on a violin sound!

I also wasn't prepared to wait weeks until the scores would be made available. The written test and the performance portions are scheduled 4 weeks apart, so maybe we have to wait for the results after both portions are completed? I don't know.

Well, it's a journey, after all, and I must say that preparing for these tests has been a great tool to push me forward in my studies as a musician. It has been well worth it, (in spite of the craziness of how the test was administered). 

It won't stop me from pursuing it again next year, that's for sure!! Onward!