The Auditory Aptitude Isn’t Just for Musicians!

The auditory aptitude, or the ability to distinguish pitch, is among the first to develop in humans. In fact, babies in the womb are known to be able to hear and recognize pitch such as music and voices. If you are a parent, maybe you had an experience where your newborn seemed to recognize your voice. But beyond recognizing voices or songs, which most people are able to do, a high score in the auditory aptitudes can equip you for many different kinds of careers, not just as a musician.


Perhaps the first measure of auditory aptitudes was developed by Carl E. Seashore – it is called the Seashore Measures of Musical Talent. Seashore was concerned with these five areas of musicality: pitch, loudness, tempo, timbre, and rhythm. A person’s ability to distinguish between varying levels of these areas determines their musical talent, or auditory aptitude.

Different aptitude test or career test publishers may test for only a few of these areas. For example, both Johnson O’Connor and The Highlands Ability Battery test for three: distinguishing pitch, rhythm memory, and tonal memory. To be able to understand or work in music, one must be able to remember it; thus, rhythm and tonal memory are just as important as pitch discrimination.

The Highlands Ability Battery

Here’s what The Highlands Ability Battery has to say about each area it measures and their applications:

  • Tonal Memory – ability to remember tunes and tonal sequences, oral communication, i.e. auditory learning, ability to reproduce accent of foreign language; high need for and enjoyment of singing
  • Rhythm Memory – ability to remember rhythm patterns; related to need for physical activity, i.e. kinesthetic learning, large muscle memory, one of the abilities to learn a sport, play drums, or dance

    auditory aptitude careers

    Dancers often score high in the rhythm memory aptitude

  • Pitch Discrimination – ability to distinguish fine differences in pitch; general sensory discrimination; hypersensitivity of one or more of the 5 senses – touch, sight, taste, smell, sound

These descriptions allude to the fact that auditory aptitudes do not always lead to what we generally think of as musical. For example, rhythm memory is often found in great athletes who are skilled at moving their bodies. Tonal memory is also an important aptitude for linguists and polyglots to have.

Careers for Auditory Aptitudes

As we know, it is never a good idea to pursue a career based on only one aptitude. It’s important to know all your aptitudes, interests, and personality in order to find a career that will really fit you. That being said, if you score high in the auditory aptitudes, you may be interested to research the careers that intersect with your other aptitudes.

A person high in structural visualization and music aptitudes might consider sound recording, acoustical engineering, electronics, or similar fields that involve the technical aspects of sound.

Doctor careers

Some doctors use their auditory aptitudes when listening for abnormal sounds

Rhythm memory is an aptitude that is often found in certain doctors, especially those that need to listen to different parts of the body like the heart, lungs, or intestines. It is also helpful when collecting diagnostic information from sounds produced by the body. This kind of medicinal work depends on listening carefully and paying attention to any abnormal sounds or rhythms.

The objective, high-ideaphoria individual might find an outlet for auditory aptitudes in the fields of communications or music publishing. If you are objective and high in music aptitudes, you might consider management in the music industry.

These are a few creative ways of understanding and using your auditory aptitudes. Do you know if you have the aptitude for music? Take The Highlands Ability Battery today to find out!


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