Why we teach Music
Music is all around us in our everyday lives and is a fundamental part of the human experience. Through making and listening to music, we can connect to others; we can be transported to different worlds or retreat into our own worlds, finding deep enjoyment, contentment or solace. Music is integral to the expression and understanding of human emotions and is worthy of its place in our curriculum for its own sake, but it also provides additional benefits to the learner.
Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Children who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. Learning an instrument helps with co-ordination and auditory skills, and provides a sense of accomplishment. Singing with others is a therapeutic, bonding experience, good for physical and mental health. When children create music together, they learn to co-operate and work as a team, while learning about music from different cultures and time periods develops understanding and empathy. But most importantly, music is fun!
How we teach Music
Our Curriculum Drivers in Music
Music can be uplifting or sad, calming or energising and as such helps children to relate to their own emotions and to relate to those of others. Through exploring music from different time periods and cultures, pupils learn more about the lives of others and develop knowledge of a range of genres and styles beyond their everyday experience. In learning to take care of their own wellbeing, pupils learn that Music can be a valuable resource.
Artistic and creative expression in Music is a key part of Being Human.
Music can be a powerful vehicle for learning about the world around us, through topic-related songs, listening and composition projects. Empathy for fragile ecosystems and the threats facing our planet can be explored sensitively through the medium of music.
Learning about musical styles and genres through time and across geographical regions helps children to understand how techniques, tastes and purposes of music have evolved over time. Significant people and events that have been drivers for change in the field of music are explored, as children learn why and how changes occur.
Guided listening to selected pieces of music offers an opportunity for pupils to analyse, offer interpretations and make connections. In composition tasks, pupils work individually or collaboratively to apply their skills and knowledge in creating new works in response to a given stimulus.
How Our Curriculum Is Structured
Our Music curriculum is based on the Kodaly and Dalcroze principles of music education, which are founded on a playful, experiential approach to teaching and learning music. Innate musicality is first awakened and developed through rhythmic movement, ear-training, and improvisation. This is then taken further through singing and performing and composing using a range of musical instruments. The curriculum is underpinned by a broad repertoire of listening, which introduces pupils to performers, composers and pieces from a wide range of genres from different time periods and cultures.
We structure our teaching using the Sing Up and Jolly Music programmes, which ensure that all relevant aspects of the EYFS Framework and the National Curriculum for Music are covered in depth, within a carefully sequenced curriculum.
Children in Year R learn to listen attentively, move to and talk about music, expressing their feelings and responses. They watch and talk about dance and performance art, expressing their feelings and responses. Pupils are given opportunities to sing in a group or on their own, increasingly matching the pitch and following the melody. They explore and engage in music making and dance, performing solo or in groups.
Key Stage 1
Singing is at the heart of Key Stage 1, with songs and chants underpinning all areas of study. Repetition of techniques is vital to consolidate and gain confidence.
Pupils internalise key skills and techniques through a range of activities, including call-and-response songs and chants, improvisation, movement and active listening. They create music through improvisation and they also start to learn some simple compositional techniques and structures.
Pupils build musical confidence through active engagement with music as performers, music-creators and audience. The curriculum is equips pupils for progression beyond Key Stage 1 and enables pupils to develop a love of music, refining their individual taste, as well as a strong internalised sense of pulse, rhythm and pitch, through a rich range of musical interactions including singing, moving, performing, creating music and active listening. Pupils gain knowledge of key musicians in a range of genres and styles. They have frequent informal opportunities to perform and hear high-quality performances.
Key Stage 2
The key skills and techniques taught in Key Stage 2 build on those introduced at Key Stage 1 and prepare pupils for progression to Key Stage 3. Singing remains a key thread throughout Key Stage 2, and pupils are given the opportunity to access and make progress on a musical instrument.
Through a wide range of activities, pupils will further develop their love of music, refining their individual taste and gaining confidence to be creative musicians with strong aural skills. They will encounter music by living composers and see composition as a current art form. Repetition of techniques is vital to consolidate and gain confidence, and songs, chants and listening repertoire are suggested as a starting point.
Pupils continue to internalise key musical skills and techniques and create music through improvisation, exploring how to write music for a specific purpose, as they start to learn more sophisticated compositional techniques and structures.
Notation is introduced, initially using simple Kodaly-based symbols, but moving on to staff notation.
Pupils build musical confidence through active engagement with music as performers, music-creators and audience.
There are frequent informal opportunities to perform, and pupils have the opportunity to hear high-quality performances.
Pupils develop their shared knowledge of important moments in the evolution of music and of key musicians, including composers and performers, in a range of genres and styles. The history of music is explored in a variety of ways, placing music in artistic, historical, social and political contexts, and building meaningful and memorable connections.
Choir and Recorder Clubs are open to pupils in Key Stage 2 and pupils in Key Stage 1 can attend Drumming Club. There are regular opportunities to perform both in school and in the local community. Private instrumental lessons in guitar, drums, piano, flute and clarinet are available.