For many of our children, music isn’t a huge influence on their life outside of school. Not many learn an instrument, listen to music at home, join choirs or go to events where music is performed. At St John’s, we believe it is our role to expose children to the rich and diverse range of music which can open up the world to them. We want our children to develop a love of listening to music and have a rich knowledge of music from a range of historical periods, genres, styles and understand how relevant this music can be in their own life. We want children to understand that music can ‘speak’ to people from any culture or background; it is a universal language which inspires others and allows people to express themselves in a creative way. We want children to have opportunities to perform music in meaningful ways in order to increase their self-confidence, creativity and talent as musicians. In performance, we want them to experience a real sense of achievement. Throughout their time at school, we want them to develop their understanding of how music is created, produced and communicated so that they can critically engage with music and be able to create their own compositions.
The teaching of music across St John’s follows the National Curriculum through:
comprehensive and thorough planners of topics. We follow units from the scheme ‘Music Express’ which are planned carefully to link with the topics and values underpinning the curriculum. Units are also supplemented by opportunities to critically listen to high quality music which is relevant to the topic and designed specifically for our school community.
a breadth of learning from EYFS to KS2, where knowledge and skills are developed progressively and concepts and ideas are built upon e.g. in Year 1 pitch looks at if the note is higher or lower, by Year 6 children are able to notate this change in pitch and work out how notes can be put together to harmonise.
cross curricular links where children are encouraged to apply other learning e.g Yr 5 ‘fight for your right’ covers a range of protest songs which requires the historical context knowledge to understand the music in depth. Our topics are cross curricular to ensure excellent links for children.
delivery that allows children to listen, analyse, perform, compose, question, experiment and explore music.
collaborative learning, where children work together towards goals, exploring different roles within a team.
explicit teaching of vocabulary for each topic which is built upon and revisited each year (see progression of vocab).
using a whole school ‘musical appreciation focus’ which is taught by a music specialist. This music is then listened to in CW and in class throughout the week. The music aims to link with the current value or a relevant school, local or worldwide event e.g. at harvest, music linked to making a difference to others and in the world which linked to Service and Friendship. It also links to the vocabulary and concepts taught in class music lessons to ensure learning has depth.
We can break the study of music down into 3 important strands (National Curriculum Guidance):
Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
Create and compose music on their own and with others (vocally or with instruments)
Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated
These are reflected in our planning Know Do Understand Grids.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice) and asking key assessment questions to a range of children.
monitoring teacher planning and visiting lessons
celebrating images and videos of the children’s practical learning
sharing performances with the rest of the school, parents and friends.