Music Curriculum Intent
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Albert Einstein
At All Saints School, our Music education engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians. Students build their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. Our children explore music and sound in all its forms; they are inspired by great musicians and composers and hone their critical listening skills, learning about what they like and dislike, through discussion and self-reflection. Through this, pupils acquire knowledge and skills which allow them to compose, perform and enjoy music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions. Students at All Saints School are encouraged to be creative, and take risks in using music as a form of self- expression and communication. Music is taught across the curriculum and as a ‘subject driver’ in some of our curriculum projects where skills, knowledge and musical vocabulary is built upon. Children enjoy and are encouraged to explore using their voices to express themselves. Singing and music forms a key part of both our strong Christian ethos and our daily lives.
Units of work usually start with teachers introducing children to a significant composer, style or piece of music whilst drawing on prior knowledge, skills and understanding. This is intended to ensure learning is more meaningful, and pupils’ ability to make links and draw comparisons with previous learning is strengthened. Children listen with attention, focus and a critical ear, discuss how the music makes them feel and consider how the composer or performer may have achieved this. They will learn specific vocabulary to help them to articulate these ideas. Children are given opportunities to explore their voices and other instruments to try out some of these skills for themselves. In certain year groups specific musical instrument skills are taught by specialist teachers.
At All Saints School the Music curriculum is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including pupils with SEN and/or disabilities, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We use strategies from the NASEN guidance to support our scaffolding within Music teaching. This includes, but is not limited to the following list;
- Pre-expose learners to the content of the lesson, e.g., show them particular instruments and how they are played, share snippets of music and pre-teach musical elements and terminology.
- Give learners a particular role in the lesson to keep them engaged and promote active participation.
- Ear defenders can enable learners to partake in lessons with more confidence.
- Create opportunities for physical contact with instruments and/or sound sources if learners cannot hear sounds clearly. Percussion, stringed, wind and brass instruments all lend themselves well to this.
- Provide visual aids to enable learners to identify instruments and musical dimensions, such as pitch and tempo.
- Use strategies such as modelling, demonstrating and imitating to help learners understand musical concepts.
- Create a graphic score or pictorial representations of a composition to provide a form of non-verbal communication.
- Begin each lesson with a recap of key vocabulary learned to date.
- Provide visual word banks that are accessible throughout, as necessary. For support in identifying different instruments photographs of those learners playing the instruments, can help with retention. For support with the meanings of musical dimensions, pictorial word banks can be effective.
- Break down content into small steps and allow time for guided practice of each step to build up conceptual understanding.
- Maximise opportunities to model, demonstrate and imitate in to encourage active participation through a scaffolded experience.
Our music curriculum is carefully designed to ensure that children’s prior knowledge is revisited and built upon. For example, in Year 2 children learn about instruments, how sounds are created and design and create their own percussion instruments to play as part of a marching band. They also learn about rhythm and pulse and practice keeping a steady beat in time with different pieces of music. In Year 4, children build upon this prior knowledge as they explore how instruments make sound linking to vibrations and use pitch. They then apply this knowledge when they make their own instruments to use as part of a band performance including ostinato as a repeated rhythm. In Year 5, children compose and perform a short piece of music in their project ‘Alchemy Island’ using a range of musical techniques, including an ostinato. This is further developed in Year 6’s ‘Hola Mexico!’ When pupils learn about rhythm and pulse in terms of basic musical notation. Students enjoy playing and creating their own pieces of music with this clear understanding of pulse and rhythm.
How can I support my child with Music ?
1. Listen and enjoy together.
What should we listen to? Anything and everything! Listen to the radio in the car on the way to school- how does that band or musician achieve that sound? Listen carefully to movie soundtracks - Can you hear the different instruments used? Ask family members to share their favourite songs or styles of music- YouTube, tv or even old fashioned records can be a great way to listen. Listen to the world around us- what can you hear? Go to a local park, the shops or even in your own garden- take a minute and pause - What can you hear? This can also be great for supporting concentration and providing you and your child with a moment of calm in our busy lives.
2. Play, sing, perform
Encourage your child to experiment with using their voice in different ways- from their ‘voice choice’ when reading out loud to singing along with songs and making different sounds with their voices. For example, you could play a game where you have to make an animal sound and guess what animal you are trying to be!
Make your own instruments. Throughout their time at school children will have the chance to design and make their own instruments- you could try this at home too! You could even create an outdoor ‘noise making’ space for experimenting with and creating sound.
3. Listen and be part of live music
If you can get to a live show, concert or performance locally or further afield then please do! There is nothing like listening to live music, if you are lucky enough to go to a place of worship with a choir or musicians this could be a great opportunity to access live music on a regular basis.
Each child at All Saints will have the opportunity to learn at least one instrument in their time here. If your child is showing an interest in learning you could find a local teacher to continue this. You also may wish to find local music groups for them to join- Oxfordshire Music Service is a good place to begin your search. https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/music-service/music-groups