Auditory Aptitudes: Not Just For Musicians

If you scored high in one or more auditory aptitudes, your suggested career examples probably included music performance or positions in the music business. These are obvious ways to incorporate music into your working life. Yet many examinees who score high in the auditory aptitudes do not focus on music in their career planning. Music fields are often seen as unstable or financially unrewarding, and working late nights and weekends as a performer can be unappealing to some. For adults, especially, the prospect of mastering a musical instrument or breaking into the music industry may seem intimidating if not impossible.

Alternatives

Clients often ask whether they could simply pursue musical hobbies. This could be satisfying to some extent, especially if you devote time directly to using these aptitudes—take dance lessons, play a musical instrument, sing in a choir, compose or mix music on your home computer, or do amateur filmmaking and scoring. It can ultimately be frustrating, however, to limit expressions of natural talents only to avocations.

Another way to solve this dilemma is to look at non-musical careers for tasks that make use of sensitivity to sound.You could use tonal memory to memorize other types of sound patterns besides musical melodies, such as bird calls or phrases in a foreign language. You might find pitch discrimination helpful for discerning vocal nuances, useful in dialect or accent coaching or refining the quality of broadcast productions. You may use rhythm memory in public speaking, in which timing is crucial, or in mastering the cadence of a foreign language. This memory also seems helpful in physical activities such as sports and dance.

With this in mind, you might wish to explore areas not directly related to music that could provide opportunities for you to express your auditory aptitudes. For some of the careers below, additional aptitudes may be beneficial. You might explore these ideas:

Foreign languages

Consider a specialized area of study leading to teaching, translating or interpreting, or as a marketable skill to bring to international business, travel agency work, or diplomacy. Also, knowledge of a foreign language is certainly an asset for a foreign correspondent, travel writer, or tour guide.

Public speaking, performing arts

Both performing and teaching roles in these areas could draw on abilities to memorize lines and judge sound quality and timing. Auditory abilities, especially rhythm memory, may help you work in dance or choreography. Selecting the “right” music and/or sound effects for theater, film, or performing arts productions would also use auditory talents.

Speech pathology, audiology

In these areas, you could use sound aptitudes to diagnose and treat speech and hearing disorders. Rhythm memory might aid in working with fluency disorders, such as stuttering. You could use pitch discrimination as you help people modify accents or correct inappropriate voice pitch or harshness.

Natural sciences, outdoor work

Working as a park ranger, ornithologist, or outdoor guide could involve identifying sounds in nature and teaching others to recognize them. Additionally, you may challenge rhythm memory in a physical manner by leading hikes or nature walks.

Writing

Writers of plays, television scripts, and speeches benefit by being acutely aware of the timing of dialogue, humor, and closing statements. Rhythm memory in particular may aid you in creating dialogue that flows easily off the tongue or advertising slogans that catch the attention of readers or listeners.

Radio and television work

You could use an awareness of sound in announcing, producing, sound editing, and writing for broadcasting. A career creating advertising jingles or commercial scores could also be an outlet for these talents.

Sociological Studies

Music throughout the ages has influenced the arts, culture, and politics of various societies. If you are interested in music, you could tie this interest into a social science and focus on areas of sociology or anthropology related to music, dance, or language development.

Computer areas

You could challenge auditory traits by working on voice recognition, speech identification, or music and film production projects. You may also find an auditory outlet in developing multimedia presentations.

If you have a discerning ear as well as Structural Visualization, you want to find work that incorporates both. You might consider investigating:

Acoustical Engineering

Working with noise reduction technology, conducting sound vibration studies, designing sound equipment, broadcasting, and recording are all activities that are both spatial and sound-related. Other similar ideas include working with amplifiers, synthesizers, or even sonar technology.

Mechanics

Many of us have met “natural mechanics” who seem to be able to sense a problem by listening to a car or other machine. Repairing anything from airplanes to telephones to computers could call upon these auditory traits.

Medicine

Working in areas in which listening to the sounds of the body, such as those of the heart and lungs, can give a doctor who has auditory talents significant diagnostic clues. We conducted a validation study of physicians showing that they, as a group, have high rhythm memory scores.

A number of examinees with auditory traits have casually mentioned being good at emorizing information for sales presentations, remembering lectures, or sensing changes in people’s moods from their voices. You can apply these abilities in a number of work and school settings. It is our philosophy that people are happiest and most satisfied when their work provides outlets for each of their aptitudes. We suggest that people keep looking for ways to incorporate all of their aptitudes, such as auditory talents, into their work.

Read From Oboe To News Desk for an inspiring story of one woman’s career change from classical musician to journalist.