At our school, we understand the role that the music curriculum plays in enriching pupils’ learning experience. We also acknowledge the importance of the music curriculum in supporting pupils with understanding the origins of music and the development of an appreciation of different genres.
‘There’s music is every child.
The teacher’s job is to find it and nurture it.’
Embedded throughout the curriculum are opportunities to experience and learn about the influence of music upon the development of culture throughout human history. This is achieved through curriculum content that is broad and taken from a variety of different time periods, cultures and genres, providing a significant opportunity to address cultural capital.
The music curriculum has been designed specifically to ensure that all pupils meet the intended learning outcomes outlined in the National Curriculum. The curriculum has clear progression routes that outline the expected learning at each year group across the school and these are used to drive the curriculum content. The curriculum is also designed to support pupils to develop a love of, and confidence in, music, enabling them to engage with it through different aspects of their lives. We view learning in music as an essential vehicle for supporting the holistic development of personal attributes to include self-expression, imagination, resilience, communication skills and the capacity to collaborate with others meaningfully.
The music curriculum has been developed around seven key principles, which allow pupils to meet the intended aims and objectives from the National Curriculum.
- Inclusion: the music curriculum is inclusive for all pupils and there is a shared understanding that all pupils can be musicians.
- Progression: pupils develop carefully sequenced knowledge and skills that are specific to music to enable them to be successful.
- Experiential Learning: pupils engage directly with listening, singing, composing and performing music, learning to think and behave like musicians.
- Appreciation: an appreciation of music is developed through a broad and balanced exposure to music from different genres, cultures and historical periods.
- Creativity: the music curriculum promotes opportunities for creative thinking and the expression of individuals’ ideas and thoughts.
- Technology-driven: where appropriate, technology is used to enhance the teaching and accessibility of music.
- Opportunity: the curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to begin learning to play musical instruments and supports the identification of pupils who may benefit from further study of a particular instrument through the school’s wider music offer.
The curriculum has been designed to deliver learning through four key aspects, these include:
The foundation for critical engagement of music, where pupils identify musical instruments, themes, have exposure to live and recorded music and appraise what they have heard.
Listening is also identified as the backbone to progression in the other three aspects and is always to central to the teaching sequence.
Once pupils have acquired the knowledge developed through listening, they begin to apply this into their singing. The singing strand incorporates any use of the human voice to convey meaning vocally, including, but not confined to rap, poetry, chanting, beatbox and humming. There are opportunities within the curriculum to explore singing in other languages.
Approaches to singing within the curriculum include solos and ensembles, the latter incorporating duets and choirs. Pupils will experience singing in a variety of ways, such as singing in rounds and developing harmony parts.
The composing strand incorporates opportunities for pupils to improvise and compose music in a given style. Pupils explore musical patterns and how to organise sounds and ideas to create a piece of music. Pupils learn to compose and create musical pieces of varying lengths, considering the interrelated dimensions of music ie. pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate music notations.
Pupils are taught to evaluate and make choices about the selection of musical elements. Pupils progress from representing sounds using their own symbols ie. graphic notation to staff notation in upper Key Stage 2.
Pupils are taught to play and perform using their voice or musical instruments (both tuned and untuned) with increasing accuracy and expression. Pupils throughout school are introduced to increasingly more complex instruments and themes. By upper Key Stage 2, pupils perform pieces using staff notation.
The stimuli for musical performances are drawn from a range of cultures, historical time periods, styles and traditions.
Music provides a vast number of opportunities to reinforce and build upon learning from other subject disciplines, such as mathematics (bars and fractions), history (social change) and social emotional development (resilience and confidence). These opportunities are carefully mapped out so that teaching staff can draw on this knowledge and strengthen the retention of learning.
We recognise that learning within music can also be revisited in other curriculum areas, such as in geography when exploring contrasting localities. Curriculum design carefully considers how substantive concepts can be introduced and revisited in a variety of different contexts. Pupils develop progressive skills and knowledge in each unit studied and clear curriculum mapping enables teachers to support pupils to draw upon prior learning as they begin each new unit.
In a world that is becoming ever more digital, we recognise the importance of using computing technology to support the delivery and development of the music curriculum. This includes using applications and software to compose and perform pieces of music.