CSET Music Test

The CSET Music test is broken down into three subtests. The first subtest has 30 multiple-choice questions and 1 short-answer question dealing with artistic perception; 15 multiple-choice questions and 1 short-answer question dealing with historical and cultural foundations; and 1 short-answer question dealing with aesthetic valuing. The second subtest has 30 multiple-choice questions and 2 short-answer (video performance) questions dealing with creative expression; and 10 multiple-choice questions on connections, relationships, and applications. The third subtest has 40 multiple-choice questions and 2 short-answer questions on music methodology and repertoire.

The first CSET Music exam subtest is broken down into three sections. The first section on artistic perception covers aural musicianship and written theory and analysis of Western music. The aural musicianship subsection tests a candidate’s ability to recognize errors in solo and group musical pieces, and analyze the musical elements of any given work. The second section of the first subtest covers music history and cultural context and requires the candidate to be able to identify when and where a musical piece originates. The final section is on aesthetic valuing and the ability to apply models to critique a performance.


The second CSET Music exam subtest is also broken into sections. The first section, creative expression, has subsections including instrumental and vocal proficiency, functional keyboard skills, conducting, composing and arranging, and improvising. Each of these subsections on the CSET Music test requires the candidate to apply the appropriate techniques and demonstrate competence in all categories. The second section covers connections, relationships, and applications. This section has subsections requiring an ability to integrate various disciplines, and explain how they interact with culture and disciplines outside of art. The second subsection deals with music-related careers and music in the classroom.

The third CSET Music subtest examines the candidate’s knowledge of music methodology both in instrumental technique, and in vocal technique. The candidate must have basic knowledge of music teaching methods, rehearsal technique, and musical evaluation. This section also requires an understanding of music of other cultures, styles and historical periods.

CSET Music Test Practice Questions

1. Which of the following are three of the six stages of audiation?
A) Listening to music, writing music, singing music
B) Temporarily remembering music, remembering patterns, predicting patterns
C) Hearing, listening, repeating
D) Sounding out, reading, playing

2. A chromatic scale is made up of:
A) whole steps.
B) whole and half steps.
C) half steps.
D) all whole steps except for one half step.

3. How many notes are in a pentatonic scale?
A) 5
B) 6
C) 7
D) 8

4. Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart were composers during the musical era known as the:
A) Renaissance
B) Baroque
C) Classical
D) Romantic

5. Which professional title describes a person who writes the words to songs?
A) Copyist
B) Lyricist
C) Arranger
D) Publisher

CSET Music Test Answers

1. Answer: B
The six stages of audiation, which may occur in any order, are as follows:

Stage 1 – temporarily remembering
Stage 2 – commencing and audiating tonal and rhythmic patterns; knowing and distinguishing the tonal center and macro beats
Stage 3 – ascertaining objective or subjective tonality and meter
Stage 4 – remembering tonal and rhythmic patterns
Stage 5 – remembering patterns from other music
Stage 6 – forecasting patterns

2. Answer: C
A chromatic scale is made of only half steps. Sharps are played when ascending, and flats are played when descending.

3. Answer: A
There are five notes in a pentatonic scale. An example is to first play two black keys and then play three black keys. Answer choice D, 8, is the number of notes in a major scale.

4. Answer: C
These composers lived and worked during the Classical era which lasted from around the late 1700s to the 1820s. Answer choice A, Renaissance, lasted from about 1300 to 1600. Answer choice B, Baroque, occurred from approximately 1600 to 1700. Answer choice D, Romantic, occurred from about 1827 to 1900.

5. Answer: B
A lyricist writes the words to songs. Generally this person will work together with a composer to put the words to music. Answer choice A, copyist, is a person who transcribes music to a score. Answer choice C, arranger, is one who arranges music for different instruments or skill levels. Arrangers are often composers as well. Answer choice D, publisher, prints and distributes the music.