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.
At Beechwood School we understand the importance of music in enriching a pupils’ learning experience.
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, taken from a variety of different time periods, cultures and genres – this in turn is an 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 in a way to ensure that pupils develop a love and confidence of music that enables them to engage in music in different aspects of their lives. We view music as an essential vehicle for supporting pupils to develop self-expression and other holistic attributes, such as: resilience, communication, collaboration and imagination.
The music curriculum at Beechwood School, as part of the drb Ignite Trust, has been developed around seven key principles, which allow pupils to meet the intended aims and objectives from the National Curriculum. These principles are:
- Inclusive: That music is inclusive for all pupils and there is a shared understanding that all pupils can be musicians.
- Progressive: Knowledge and skills: Pupils learn both the knowledge and skills that are specific to music that enable them to be successful.
- Experiential: Music is experiential and pupils engage directly with listening, singing, composing and performing music.
- Appreciation: Develop an appreciation of music through a broad and balanced exposure to music from different genres, cultures and historical periods.
- Creativity: Provides opportunities to be creative and express their own ideas and thoughts through music.
- Technological: Where appropriate, technology is used to enhance the teaching and accessibility of music.
- Opportunity: Opportunities to engage with learning a musical instrument.
The curriculum has been designed to deliver learning through four key aspects, these include:
Listening: 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 following three aspects and is always focused upon first in the teaching sequence.
Singing: once pupils have acquired the skills and knowledge developed in 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, that incorporate duets and chores. Pupils will experience singing in a variety of ways, such as singing in rounds.
Composing: 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 inter related dimensions of music (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 (graphic notation) to staff notation in upper key stage 2.
Performing: 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 increasing more complex instruments and themes. By upper key stage 2, pupils will perform pieces using staff notation. Pupils will perform musical pieces which have stimuli from different cultures, historical time periods and 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 itself can also be revisited in other curriculum areas, such as Geography when exploring contrasting localities. Curriculum design has carefully considered how concepts can be introduced and revisited in a variety of different contexts. 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.