Music at SS. Mary and John’s Catholic Primary Academy

Intent

The DfE Model Music Curriculum (March 2021) states that:

‘Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school.’

At SS Mary and Johns Primary Catholic Academy we provide opportunities for all children to listen to, create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop skills and appreciate a wide variety of musical forms. Along with the National Curriculum 2014, we believe that Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. 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. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.

The National Curriculum 2014 aims:

  • 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 inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Implementation

At SS Mary and John’s, we aim to make music enjoyable. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. Children are given the opportunity to discover, explore and develop technical skills through practical music lessons.

To aid the teaching and learning of music at SS Mary and John’s we teach using the Charanga Musical School Units of Work. In line with the curriculum for music, this moves away from the previous levels and learning objective/outcome concepts to an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning.

Throughout the school music is taught in 30 – 45 minute weekly sessions. From Reception to Year 6, the learning consists of six half-termly Units of Work. The final unit in each year – Reflect, Rewind and Replay – allows for revision and more extension activities. Each unit of work is based around a song. This style 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.

Each Unit of Work comprises the strands of musical learning which correspond with the national curriculum for music:

  • Listening and Appraising
  • Musical Activities
  • Warm-up Games
  • Optional Flexible Games
  • Singing
  • Playing instruments
  • Improvisation
  • Composition
  • Performing

Each lesson is structured to include opportunities to listen and appraise, musical activities including whole class, group and partner work and performance or sharing time.

We provide opportunities for children to play both tuned and un-tuned instruments and also encourage children to play their own instruments from outside the classroom, sharing their skills with others in the class. We also provide cross curricular opportunities to share, listen to and join in with different styles of music including singing and the use of ICT utilising the use of instrumental apps.

In Early years, we teach music as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. We relate the musical aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). Music contributes to a child’s personal and social development. Counting songs reinforce a child’s mathematical ability and songs from different cultures increase a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world.

Impact

The curriculum will enable teachers to consistently plan and deliver lessons of the highest standard and at the end of each year, children will achieve age related expectations in Music.

As children progress throughout the school, they develop a love of music and  a deep knowledge, understanding an appreciation of music and its place within the wider creative arts context. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of music, children gain an appreciation of life in different societies, helping to develop a sense of other cultures. The children will be able 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.