At Monksmead School, we value Music as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. Exposure to music can also help towards reducing children’s feelings of anxiety and stress, improve their concentration and enhance the way children can process language and speech. We aim to 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. As pupils progress, we want them to develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.
In EYFS, within Expressive Arts and Design - Exploring and Using Media and Materials, children will have the opportunity to sing familiar songs, imitate movement in response to music, tap out simple repeated rhythms, explore and learn how sounds can be change. With progression, they will begin to build a repertoire of songs and dances and explore different sounds of instruments. Within Expressive Arts and Design – Being Imaginative, the aim is for the children to develop a preference for forms of expression, to notice what adults do, imitating what is observed and then doing it spontaneously, to sing to self and make up simple songs and rhythms, and to capture experiences and responses with a range of media. By the end of EYFS, children will be encouraged to use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.
In KS1 and KS2, our main priority is to teach and perfect the skills implemented by the National Curriculum for Music. It is intended to provide clarity and flexibility, allowing for the development and progression in learning. Our chosen music scheme of work is Charanga Musical School scheme, as it complements the curriculum and scaffolds the learning opportunities throughout the Key Stages.
Charanga offers a topic-based approach to support children’s learning in music. A steady progression plan has been built into Charanga, both within each year and from one year to the next, ensuring consistent musical development. By using Charanga as the basis of a scheme of work, we can ensure that the children are fulfilling the following aims for musical learning stated in the National Curriculum:
- To 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
- To 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
- To understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
Within the Charanga Musical School scheme, each unit of work comprises of three main strands of musical learning. Interrelated dimensions of music weave through the units to encourage the development of musical skills as the learning progresses through these strands:
- Listening and Appraising
- Musical Activities (warm-up games, optional flexible games, singing, playing instruments, improvisation, composition)
This year, all pupils in KS1 and KS2 will receive a term’s worth of recorder lessons which are provided by Hertfordshire Music Service’s First Access. During these sessions, pupils learn music through singing, musical games and learning to play an instrument taught by a specialist instrumental teacher working alongside school staff. Every child gets the chance to have first-hand experience of live music, group singing, ensemble playing, composing or improvising and performance. Children gain a real insight into the world of music, working with a professional musician, and for some this may be the start of a life-long hobby. They learn that it can be fun, that it requires time and effort, discipline and team-work, and that, as well as being rewarding in itself, it can give pleasure to others.
Within assemblies and music lessons, we teach our pupils to listen and to appreciate different forms of music. In discrete lessons, skills such as recognising the pulse, rhythm and pitch within pieces of music are developed, and the children are able to use tuned and untuned musical instruments in order to develop these skills further as they explore, compose and perform for an audience. Pupils have plenty of opportunity to develop their singing ability, as singing takes place within discrete music lessons, singing assemblies, school performances (such as the EYFS nativity, the KS1 carol concert, the LKS2 singing concert and the UKS2 end of year production), local community performances and in other subjects across the curriculum in order to enhance their learning. Through singing songs, children will learn to recognise the structure and organisation of music as well as being encouraged to sing in tune, in time and with each other.
At the beginning and end of assembles, children are encouraged to bring in instruments that they may be learning at home and perform to the whole school. Free extra-curricular clubs also provide children the opportunity to further their learning and enjoyment of music, whether it be through singing in the choir, learning to play the violin or playing the recorder. Our choir often has the opportunity to perform twice a year, alongside musical groups from other local primary schools, at All Saints Church and Allum Hall. We also have a peripatetic teacher who comes in to teach individual children to play guitar through paid lessons.
The intended impact of the teaching and learning of Music at Monksmead School follows our school drivers:
- Self-Awareness – The teaching of Music will 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.
- Embrace differences – Children will be inspired by and encouraged to hear about key composers and musicians from a wide range of ethnicities, languages, cultures, disabilities and other forms of diversity. In turn, this will help the children to embrace their own and each other’s differences.
- Ambitious to take the next step – Children will be confident in their own ability to apply skills that they have learnt in Music. They will be excited to improvise, compose and perform their own pieces of music, demonstrating a can-do attitude and a willingness to take risks.
- Worldy-Wise – Children will have a greater understanding of how music reflects and shapes our history, and how it contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. They will recognise it as a universal language that can be enjoyed by all.