Monday, August 30, 2010

Placement Exams Finished!

I mentioned before that I would be taking placement exams during my first few days of graduate school orientation. Well, yesterday afternoon I was tested in ear training and four sections of music history to determine whether I'd need to take review courses in those subjects.

The ear training test involved identifying intervals, chord progressions and inversions, and rhythmic meters, and writing out a two-part musical example after hearing it three times as well as transcribing some rhythms. I felt like most of it was easy enough, except that I was probably terrible at the chord identification because I wasn't well prepared for that from my undergraduate studies in ear training.

The music history exam consisted of four sections (Medieval/Renaissance, 17th and 18th centuries, Beethoven to Debussy, and 20th Century) with thirty questions each, plus fifteen listening examples for which we were to identify the piece, the composer, and the era. The only part of this exam I had studied for at all, even a tiny bit, was the Medieval/Renaissance section, because I had heard rumors that you could retake the other sections later if you fail the first time. I figured I would fail some of the sections simply because I haven't studied those subjects in 6+ years - they are freshman/sophomore courses, and I've been out of school for four years now.

Well, here's the news that has had me ecstatic all evening: this afternoon I found out that I passed ear training and every section of music history! This is really good; it means I won't have to take any review courses and can jump right into the graduate level courses.

Considering my total lack of study time and preparation, I can only figure I must be a really good guesser.


  1. You're just naturally good at that stuff, Sarah. Remember how we used to be driving somewhere, and you'd identify what piece was playing on the radio? And not only what piece, but who was playing and who was conducting it?

    Congratulations on your success!

  2. Congratulations! That's wonderful. I would so love to be even 1% proficient in recognizing music pieces and composers. I'm slowly, slowly, slowly working on it... but it sure is an uphill battle for me!