At St Michael’s Infants we believe that all our children have musical potential and the ability to become great musicians!
Using curiosity, creativity, challenge and independence, our Music Curriculum aims not only to ignite a life-long love of music in our children, but also to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need in order to progress and become confident performers, composers and listeners. At our school we also recognise the link between music and personal well-being and the power that sharing music can have on our mood and sense of belonging.
Throughout their time with us, the children will develop the musical skills of singing, playing tuned and untuned percussion instruments and improvising and composing music. In addition, they will be encouraged to listen and respond to music from all over the world and across generations and therefore to appreciate the music of all traditions and communities.
While engaging in musical activities, our children will acquire transferable skills which are vital, not only for their overall learning in school, but also in their general lives and even beyond school such as team-working, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and presentation and performance skills.
Our Music Curriculum not only enables our pupils to meet the end of Key Stage 1 targets in the National Curriculum, but also covers all aspects of the Model Music Curriculum (DFE, March 2021).
Each year group receives a 30 minute music lesson every week. In addition, we have a weekly singing assembly which provides the children with the opportunity to sing together joyfully in worship whilst simultaneously developing their ability to sing with increased accuracy , control, fluency and expression.
We recognise that the development of musical skills is not linear and therefore have adopted a spiral curriculum in which the same musical concepts are returned to regularly across the year groups at a gradually deeper level of understanding each time (See our Progression Of Skills Document). In this way, each time a skill or area of knowledge is revisited, the prior knowledge of the children is utilised and built upon. Children progress in terms of tackling more complex tasks , but also doing more simple tasks better.
The curriculum is divided into six teaching units for each year group, one for every term. There is a two- year rolling programme for our mixed-aged classes, to avoid repetition of content.
In each unit, the individual strands of performing, listening, composing and the inter-related dimensions of music (i.e pitch, duration, tempo, dynamics, timbre, texture and structure) are woven together to create engaging and enriching learning experiences.
In Reception, in line with the Early Learning Goals (Development Matters, 2021), the children are introduced to the main musical dimensions of pulse & rhythm, dynamics, tempo, pitch and timbre through a variety of rhymes, songs and singing games, musical games and dances. They are encouraged explore making different sounds with their voices and bodies and then on untuned percussion instruments. We introduced them to the names of these instruments and the children learn how to handle them correctly and play them with care.
Through carefully chosen repertoire, our Year R children are encouraged to find their singing voices and to sing as part of the class, a group or solo!
In addition they are encouraged to listen attentively to pieces of recorded music and
express their feelings towards it through movement or verbally.
In Years 1 and 2, each unit of work has a general theme, some of which have been chosen to link in with class topic work. Every unit also contains:
· Activities focussing on a key musical dimension such as dynamics or tempo ( although other dimensions will be covered in each unit too as they naturally overlap).
· Sung repertoire set around a particular tone-set in order to gradually develop the children’s sense of pitch and ability to sing in tune.
· Pulse and rhythm games and activities designed to progress the children’s skills across the year groups.
· Listening material linked to the key musical dimension or theme.
· A focus for composition, linked to the theme.
We believe very much in a ‘hands on’ approach to music with pupils actively participating in musical activities drawn from a variety of styles and traditions, developing their musical skills and understanding of how music works. Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from whole class activities to paired or group work to independent tasks and incorporate movement, musical games and dance elements as well as singing and playing untuned and tuned percussion instruments of which we have a good and varied selection.
All our children are given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience at our annual Nativity Play. In addition, our Year 2 children perform annually in front of their Grandparents at our special Harvest Tea and again in front of their parents at their Leavers Assembly at the end of the school year.
The children also get opportunities to go and watch live musical performances at St Michael’s Junior School and to sing and watch live musical performances at regular school services held at our local church.
The expected impact of our music curriculum is that our children will:
· Start to become confident performers, composers and listeners who are able to express themselves musically.
· Have an appreciation and respect for a wide range of musical styles from all over the world and from different periods in history.
· Understand simple ways in which music can be written down to support performing and composing activities.
· Demonstrate and articulate an enthusiasm for music and be able to express their own musical preferences.
· Meet the end of Key Stage 1 expectations outlined in the National Curriculum For Music.
Our children’s progress in music is continually assessed in lessons through observation of their performances, recording of their responses to music (‘pupil voice’) and evaluation of their technical, expressive and constructive knowledge. There are also opportunities for children to self-assess their own performances and those of others and to make suggestions for improvements.
Evidence is collected for each year group in the form of photographs, performance videos, pupil voice notes and lesson observation notes.