Rationale for the teaching of Music
At St Anne’s Primary School we are singers and musicians! We want our children to love music and to embrace all aspects of music education, developing skills that they can use in the future. Children should be engaged and inspired by the music curriculum and be given an opportunity to develop the talents that they have. Harnessing their creativity, we encourage the children to develop a love of music, increasing their self-confidence as they listen, compose and perform. We believe music education should be all inclusive, celebrating diversity, and allowing all children to thrive. Our Music curriculum gives the children the opportunity to listen to and appraise all genres of music, expressing their opinions and understanding that music can engender feelings within us. Children have the opportunity to develop their music skills at every level and are encouraged to understand how music is created, deepening their understanding of terms such as pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and structure. They are taught how to develop musical notation or how to use appropriate technology to record their ideas.
Our Music curriculum extends beyond the classroom into every aspect of school life. Music is intrinsically embedded into the school day as part of brain breaks, inspiration within lessons, singing in our acts of worship and as part of our individual music lessons. All children are given opportunities to perform within class assemblies, Christmas and Summer productions, celebrations (e.g. Harvest, Easter etc) and assemblies. We want our performances to be high quality and to give the children the opportunity to engage with music in an enthusiastic way. Community is also an important aspect of our school and Music curriculum, involving many different groups in our performances and celebrations. Children are encouraged to listen to music, reflect and be mindful. We want our children to remember their Music lessons and experiences of Music within our school and embrace the musical opportunities with which they are presented!
How we teach and learn Music at St Anne’s
The Music curriculum promotes curiosity, reflection, discussion and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become confident performers, independent in their opinions and resilient. The music curriculum was reviewed and audited and as a result we made some important changes that ensured progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. At St Anne’s Primary School we use the Charanga Musical School scheme – which provides our teachers with week-by-week lessons for each year group, in the school from ages 4-11, this includes Early Years Foundation Stage. This scheme provides lesson plans, assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting whiteboard resources for every lesson. Additionally, EYFS pupils may be found following their musical interests during their child initiated learning. Our Music scheme is based on listening and appraising, creating and exploring and singing and performing. The weekly lesson within this scheme sets out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. Each lesson, children are given the opportunity to appraise music, practise skills, perform individually and collaboratively, and to compose. Musical notation is used to record the children’s compositions and recordings are taken of performances. Photographs also provide valuable evidence of the richness of the curriculum through performances both in school and in the local community.
Not only do we wish to equip our children with the minimum statutory requirements of the music National Curriculum, but we want to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Using lifelong learning skills, children develop the skills of being Creative Unicorns as they compose and make choices about performance techniques. As Busy Bees, they work collaboratively in pairs, groups and as a whole class, learning the essential skills of listening to improve their performances. Linking their ideas like Web Weaving Spiders, the children listen to music from other cultures and musical genres, using this inspiration to inform and improve their own performances. Music is intrinsic in enhancing all aspects of our school life. We therefore, embrace all opportunities to invite and collaborate with the extended school community. Engaging with the elderly in our community we have visited the local old people’s homes to celebrate with them at Christmas. Singing in the area, we have performed at the local garden centres, shopping centres and restaurants. Marking significant events we have performed for the World War Anniversaries and music played an essential role in our service to celebrate our 175th Anniversary, to which staff past and present were invited, as well as parents, members of the local churches and the local education authority.
We want our children to use the vibrancy of the music experienced around us to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum as part of our Creative Curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the Music curriculum. For example, most recently we have been lucky enough to host a choir from Uganda, through our links with our local church, who performed to us. Staff and pupils alike were impressed with and delighted by their performance and loved the powerful, spirit filled and enthusiastic performance they gave. For the two years previous to this one, we had amazing performances from a choir from Madagascar, again through links to local churches. These experiences have both enriched our assemblies and times of worship and provided the children with a diversity of music. Children have also taken part in whole class projects such as Djembe drumming, ukulele and the singing project, giving performances to parents and the school community, further enhancing community and cultural links.
We enrich the children’s time in our school with memorable, experiences providing opportunities which pique their interests and passions. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children. The extra-curricular choir is available to all children from Year Two to Year Six and provides weekly rehearsals to practise skills. There are regular opportunities to perform, including Parents’ Evenings, fayres, services and concerts, allowing the children to showcase their talents and skills and developing their confidence. Children with specific aptitude or interest in a particular instrument learn musical instruments with Funky Punk or The Music Hub music associates, which allows them to learn musicianship and how to play an instrument as well as providing them with the chance to collaborate with others.
The teaching and learning of the Music is an important part of developing our pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. As an essential part of our acts of worship, the music that is chosen encourages the children to think more deeply and allows them time to reflect. This is the case in both our daily assemblies and in specific services to celebrate festivals e.g. Christmas, Easter etc. Songs are selected to reinforce the embedded spiritual and moral themes in our assemblies and also are used in some classes as part of class assemblies, routines and lunchtime prayers. In addition, as part of our R.E. teaching, the children learn how music forms an intrinsic role in acts of worship. Through the exploration of a variety of different genres of music, children develop their cultural awareness of different styles and how music is an important part of celebrations all over the world. Collaboration is an essential element of our music teaching, as children work in groups (both large and small) to perform, sing and explore different genres of music. This develops children’s social awareness and the importance of listening well to others including their responses to music. They also learn how music forms an important part of the social interaction between people in many contexts and cultures. Our Music teaching extends out into the wider community as we perform to our children’s families, friends and other groups within the community. This develops further their understanding of the social importance of music. These performances have been to past pupils, the preschool, local old people’s homes and other visitors to the school.
How we celebrate our Music learning
We use both formative and summative assessment information in our Music lessons. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning, adjusting opportunities accordingly. The assessment is embedded in our Charanga curriculum and allows teachers to highlight particular aptitude or identify those who need support. The Music teaching for each phase has been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in music are progressive and build year on year.
Currently our Music Assessment tasks are provided during specific weeks in order to assess what the children know in particular focus areas. This allows the Subject Leader to identify areas of strength and weakness and plan for future development of the subject. However, this is currently under review and we hope to use the assessment framework embedded in the Charanga Music Scheme to provide further detailed assessment. Monitoring in Music includes lesson observations, learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice, analysis of recorded information and collection of photographic evidence. All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.