Gates - Music

What is Musical Giftedness?

"A musically gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in creating music, performing music, and/or responding to music."-- Adapted from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) definition of "gifted"

The identification of musically gifted and talented students requires the recognition and assessment of the following categories of criteria indicative of musical talent: Musical awareness and discrimination, Perceptual awareness of sound, Rhythmic sense, Sense of pitch, Creative Interpretation - includes performance elements as well as personal improvisation and composition, Musical Behavior and Performance - awareness of the interaction of listener and performer; the impact of the performance through the student's involvement, Intensity - the persistence, motivation, and commitment indicative of artistic focus.

Students are nominated for the gifted and talented program if they show evidence of the following characteristics:


Creative Interpretation



Keenly aware of sounds, listens with focused concentration.

Extends, manipulates, experiments with sound.

Performs with a natural sense of rhythm & keen awareness of tonal elements.

Shows focused concentration when engaged in musical tasks.

Senses small differences in melodies, rhythms, sounds.

Responds to aesthetic qualities of music spontaneously & creatively.

Uses focused attention, preparation, practice to improve performance.

Self-motivated; works independently on musical tasks.

Discriminates rhythmic differences; fluidly responds to rhythms.

Eager, imaginative in expressing, shaping, refining musical ideas.

Performs with advanced musical expression.

Critiques/refines performances or compositions; seeks feedback.

Discriminates differences in pitch; high level of tonal memory/audiation.

Revises musical ideas thoughtfully and perspectively.

Applies knowledge and skills to create musical compositions.

Shows persistence and perseverance in musical tasks.

What does our audition process look like: Students will be asked to prepare for an audition. The audition process assesses your child's awareness of sound, rhythmic sense & pitch accuracy, as well as the motivation to prepare for an audition. Your child will be eligible for the MSAD #6 Gifted & Talented Music Program if s/he receives a score within the identification range on the audition.

Your child's music teacher will help guide them in selecting appropriate material, but practice and preparation will be his/her responsibility. Accompaniments for required selections will be shared through their MSAD #6 Google account.

Audition Requirements: The GT Music Audition process has two parts: 1) prepared repertoire & scales and 2) musical aptitude assessment (MAT) which measures aural capacity and the ability to discern details in Pitch, Melody, Texture, and Rhythm. The MAT is not prepared for in advance but instead is done at the audition.

Vocalists: Grade 3: Sing a scale using Solfege syllables (Do, Re, Mi, ....), sing a prepared song (1 verse & chorus) a cappella or with accompaniment* from the list: This Land is Your Land, America (My Country Tis of Thee), Garden Song (Inch By Inch), It's a Small World, Jasmine Flower.

Grade 4-5: Sing a scale using Solfege syllables (Do, Re, Mi, ....), sing one prepared song from the list below, and sing one song of individual choice, a cappella or with accompaniment* (accompaniment tracks should be submitted to student's teacher in advance of audition) from the list: Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, Music Alone Shall Live, You're a Grand Old Flag, Unbroken Circle.

Grade 5: In addition to Grade 4-5 requirements, Gr. 5 vocal students will be asked to sight read a short melody (provided by audition team & done at the audition).

Instrumentalists: Perform a prepared piece in consultation with their school music teacher or private teacher. Any accompaniment parts should be submitted to the music teacher 2 weeks prior to the audition date. Perform instrument appropriate level 1 scales:

  • Band Instruments - Concert Bb Concert Scale
  • Recorder - Concert C, D or G
  • Violin - A, G or D
  • Piano - C

In addition, students will be asked to sight read a short melody (provided by audition team & done at the audition).* Accompaniments for the songs on the list will be shared to your child's school Drive. Self-selected accompaniments should be supplied to your child's music teacher no later than 2 weeks prior to audition date.

Rubric Criteria: What we will be looking for during the auditions

  • *Expressiveness: The degree of sensitive response displayed to the requirements of music.
  • *Engagement: The degree of involvement displayed by the student during the performance as indicated by energy, focus, and confidence.
  • *Technique: The degree of technical skill displayed considering the student's age and training.
  • *Overall Performance: The degree of effectiveness of a prepared piece when compared to children of the same age and training.
  • *Rhythm: The degree of ability displayed to maintain a steady beat and replicate complex rhythmic patterns.
  • *Melody: The degree of ability displayed to replicate new melodic phrases at graduated levels of assistance.
  • *Improvisation: The degree of effectiveness of a rhythmic and/or melodic improvisation when compared to children of similar age, training, and environment.
  • Trained individuals will be involved in evaluating your child's audition. These individuals may include visual & performing arts specialists, gifted & talented teachers, classroom teachers, and principals.

Nomination Form

Program Outline: Our gifted and talented music curriculum may change from year to year depending on the specific needs and talents of the students. Students in the gifted and talented music program will have the opportunity to participate in musical theatre, songwriting, musical collaboration, and composing. Optional Activities May Include:

  • Independent practice of musical work towards a refined performance
  • Student decision-making in musical skill-building activities (rehearsal, practice, guided composition)
  • Student-led rehearsals
  • Progressive student self-assessment of audio or videotaped performances
  • Peer critiquing and peer lessons
  • Student self-monitoring performance improvement through practice journals or online practice programs
  • Activities that encourage exploration of the instrument or musical sounds
  • Listening to and critique of comparative performances on records, CDs, tapes.
  • Garage Band
  • Piano Lab to engage students in advanced activities of reading, vocal performance, instrumental performance, improvisation, composition, and independence within an ensemble.

Students will be expected to demonstrate the following expectations if accepted into the program:

  • -I will display a high degree of concentration in my musicianship.
  • -I will be respectful during class.
  • -I will participate in all activities.
  • -I will perform to the best of my ability on a weekly basis.
  • -I will be open and responsive to constructive criticism.
  • -I will take responsibility for attending class regularly.
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