A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
September 2014 saw the implementation within maintained schools of the new National Curriculum in England. Music as a compulsory subject is expected to be taught to and experienced by all children in Key Stages 1 and Key Stage 2.
The programmes of study set out the minimum requirements for music as a starting point for schools developing innovative provision to meet the needs of their pupils.
If taught well, music has the potential to make a significant contribution to children’s development: increasing confidence and self-esteem, developing leadership, team working, concentration and problem-solving skills, and developing identity and improving social cohesion within the school and wider community.
The intention of the music scheme at Greenfield St Mary’s is first and foremost to help children to feel that they are musical, and to develop a life-long love of music. We focus on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in order to become confident performers, composers and listeners. Our curriculum introduces children to music from all around the world and across generations, teaching children to respect and appreciate the music of all traditions and communities.
Children will develop the musical skills of singing, playing tuned and untuned instruments, improvising and composing music, and listening and responding to music. They will develop an understanding of the history and cultural context of the music that they listen to and learn how music can be written down. Through music, our curriculum helps children develop transferable skills such as team-working, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and presentation and performance skills. These skills are vital to children’s development as learners and have a wider application in their general lives outside and beyond school.
Greenfield St Mary’s scheme of work enables pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets outlined in the national curriculum and the aims of the scheme align with those in the national curriculum.
The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
- perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.
- learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.
- understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the interrelated dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
We have a creative approach throughout school with regards to the delivery of the music curriculum. Charanga Musical School enables children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning. Learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables a more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills. An integrated approach to musical learning means that the whole experience is important and children are learning music through a range of activities, including:
- Listening and appraising
- Musical activities
- Performing and sharing
We meet National Curriculum expectations for music through our use of Charanga Music Scheme.
At Foundation Stage children will sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs, begin to move to music and explore sounds through listening and simple music making.
- use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
- play tuned and untuned instruments musically
- listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
- experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.
- play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
- improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
- listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
- use and understand staff and other musical notations
- appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians
- develop an understanding of the history of music
Musical learning is built around the ‘Interrelated Dimensions of Music’: pulse, rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics, timbre, texture, structure and notation. These dimensions are at the centre of all the learning. Over time, children can both develop new musical skills and concepts, and re-visit established ones. Every child is given the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument.
We provide the children with the opportunity to perform and share their music skills in class assemblies. Performances seen in celebrational events and concerts held at Harvest, Christmas, Easter and the Year 6 end of year production, show that music is an important part of school life. It is used effectively during collective worship through a range of songs to promote positive behaviours and an understanding of the world around us. Not only does this develop their singing skills but also an understanding of how ensembles work.
Children’s talents and interests in music are fostered and developed by providing further opportunities for personal progression via small group instrumental tuition and taking part in enrichment activities such as the school choir. Through concert performances and appearances, the choir forge important links between home, school and community, inviting others to join with us and appreciate our music making.
The musical journey of children in our school and the experiences we offer, will engage and inspire pupils to have a love and appreciation of music. The impact of teaching music will be seen across the school with an increase in the profile of music. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps pupils understand themselves and relate to others, forging important links between the home, school and the wider world.
By encouraging the enjoyment and engagement in music, children will develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that will allow them to fulfil their potential. We endeavour to provide guidance and further opportunities to support them in their next steps.
The emphasis is on practical experiences through listening, singing, playing, composing and performing. Pupils lean about the elements and language of music so that they can understand and discuss how it is made and played. They also learn how to compose, focussing on the different dimensions of music. This is embedded in classroom activities, as well as fortnightly Sing Up Assemblies, class performances, the learning of instruments and performances in school ensembles, choir, band and other school performances.
Our younger children follow the EYFS curriculum which aims for pupils in the Foundation Stage to develop an understanding and have experience of Expressive Art and Design and the progression and continuity of learning is implemented through the use of the Charanga scheme. Teachers plan subjects with clear progression of skills and knowledge, that we have devised as part of our curriculum offer, to ensure that all children access it at an age-appropriate level.
Wherever possible, as well as the use of the Charanga scheme, there is a cross-curricular approach to learning that ensures that children are learning key skills within the music. Children will experience some form of music teaching and learning within the topics they are learning about. This is particularly implemented through the use of song.
Children in Year 4 are provided with a brass instrument during their Wider Opps session. There are a range of resources available within school to implement the music curriculum and external groups provide the appropriate resources for children to use or hire.
Our Instagram account allows for the sharing of musical events that the children take part in.
Our pupils have shared with us that they know why they are doing things, not just how. They understand and appreciate the value of music in the context of their personal wellbeing. By engaging pupils in musical experiences, we can offer them opportunities to develop skills, attitudes and attributes that can support learning in other areas, as well as developing life skills such as listening skills, the ability to concentrate, creativity, self-confidence and a sensitivity towards others.
Pupils become more reflective and learn how to express their own views and feelings. Music also promotes an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to pupils individually as well as ethnicities from across the world, thus enabling children to better understand the world we live in.
Year 4 Whole Class Instrumental Tuition programme
Pupils from Year 4 take part in the Whole Class Instrumental Tuition programme which is delivered once a week during term time. The WCIT programme has two integrated threads, foundation activities in which general musicianship skills are explored, practised and developed, and specialist instrumental tuition in which the children are taught how to play the flute or clarinet leading to experiences of ensemble playing, improvisation and performance. These two strands complement each other so that the instrumental learning takes place in the context of other musical activities. This ensures a richer, holistic approach that leads to the acquisition of broader skills and understanding whilst offering children a taste of what is involved in learning to play an instrument. Through taking part in the WCIT Programme the children gain a nationally recognised award which is the Arts Award – Discover. To achieve Discover, the children discover the arts around them, find out about artists and their work and share their experiences with others, gaining a certificate at the end. Most lessons begin with warm-ups designed to prepare pupils for holding and playing the instruments and to link with other work, both to consolidate understanding and introduce new ideas.
During the first term pupils are expected to;
• understand slower, faster, louder, quieter, higher, lower, start, stop
• play singing games with actions to develop their sense of rhythm and pulse
• play rhythm games including imitating and improvising
• discuss expressive qualities and how music affects how they feel
• have experience of physical responses – tapping, clapping, moving to music
Naturally, all children develop at different rates and these areas should continue to be reinforced throughout the WCIT year.
During the WCIT programme the children should learn:
• to value the experience of playing an instrument in an ensemble and to develop independent learning skills and develop their social skills
• to develop aural discrimination and aural memory skills
• to develop an inner musical "thinking" voice
• to develop technical control of the voice and instrument
• to explore and play rhythmic and melodic patterns
• to create and develop musical ideas
• to play simple pieces, developing individual and ensemble skills and linking sound to visual signals/ written symbols
• to reflect on and evaluate their own performances and those of others
• how music reflects the time and place in which it is created and in particular the musical context of the instrument they are learning
• to develop an awareness of performance and non-performance situations, to rehearse and to perform
Sing Up Gold Award
We are extremely proud to have been awarded the Gold Sing Up Award, following the award of the Silver Sing Up accreditation two years ago. In order to achieve this, we have had to prove that singing is an integral part of our daily routine and our school curriculum, and that staff and children sing regularly. Staff have ensured that children sing within their daily lessons to enhance their learning, and within weekly collective worship sessions, as well as within their year teams. There are also extra curricular activities involving the Choir, to further enhance our singing and to provide extra opportunities for singing.
Research and experience have proved that singing can energise and motivate children, as well as improve self-confidence and self-esteem. Sing Up praised St Mary's for providing a wide and varied range of singing opportunities across the school. They commented "Singing is clearly at the heart of your school" and they have encouraged us to keep up the great work!