Statement of Intent
At Wincle CE Primary School, we recognize the value of creative subjects and ensure that a structured, effective music curriculum is delivered to every Key Stage. Music is recognized as being beneficial to both well-being and cognition and our curriculum aims to enhance these benefits by attuning children’s natural, musical instincts and providing them with plentiful opportunities to explore, create and share music together. Most importantly, we recognize that the National Curriculum for Music lacks ambition and therefore teach under the belief that all children can achieve high levels of musical competence if given sufficient time and instruction.
Key features of our Music curriculum:
Instrumental tuition is provided as a standard, with pupils progressing through increasingly difficult instruments as they move through the school.
The Kodaly method is used to ensure enhanced development of fundamental musical skills, with all teaching based on the principle that music is a language that must be learned in a social, interactive context. In the same way that children learn their first language, pupils begin their music education by learning to ‘speak music’ through clapping, singing and playing instruments, providing them with the context to understand standard musical notation and its associated vocabulary. Using the Kodaly method ensures that all children can read and notate basic standard notation by the end of Key Stage One.
Music is an inclusive subject and, therefore, pupils are taught in mixed-age groups where children can learn from each other. Pupils with SEND are never excluded from music lessons, which are viewed as an opportunity to develop self-awareness and communication skills.
Music is recognized as a cultural phenomena and, as such, social constructivist methods are used in all lessons to support pupils to develop their cultural capital, understanding of others and management of self-identity. The analysis of music from different temporal, cultural and spiritual backgrounds is, therefore, a key component of every music lesson.
Music develops core skills required for all learning. As such, the EYFS and Key Stage One music curriculums are designed specifically to develop self-control, aural differentiation, coordination and cognitive visualization. These skills make significant contributions to pupils’ ability to learn phonics.
Musical aptitude is reliant on sound awareness of rhythm and pulse. Both terms are therefore introduced to reception and understanding of the two concepts is consistently reinforced throughout the pupils’ music education.
Our Music curriculum supports children to develop skills in the following key areas:
Children perform in a variety of contexts, and at a variety of levels, from reception to year six. In the early stages, children are trained to become familiar with the basic principles of playing an instrument, mastering basic melodies and rhythms. By the end of their time at Wincle, pupils are able to perform with passion and intent, applying expression to their performance, contributing to the planning of programmes and showing an increasing awareness of their audience. All pupils are encouraged to develop their control of pitch and harmony through regular singing, conducted in and out of music lessons.
All pupils are given half-termly opportunities to compose, using a variety of means. This includes digital composition, body percussion, instrumental composition (notated and using the aural tradition) and singing. Where pupils start school exploring the elements of music and arranging them in different ways, by the end of primary school, they are able to compose for effect, making informed decisions about how musical elements can be combined and altered to suit context and audience.
Controlled listening skills are recognized as making the most significant contribution to pupils’ musical aptitude and, as such, opportunities to listen to a range of music are featured in every music lesson throughout school. In the early years, children are given time to enjoy listening to a range of sounds. They are also trained to distinguish between different pitches, rhythms and tones, improving their aural awareness and making useful contributions to their understanding of phonology.
Later in their musical development, pupils learn to listen with purpose, recognizing the features of the music they hear and making insightful, informed comments about their effects.
Though not vital to musical competence, musical knowledge and understanding is a key part of Wincle’s music curriculum and lessons are taught under the belief that even the youngest children in our school can develop a sophisticated bank of vocabulary in relation to music. However, children are never taught music theory until their innate music skills are sufficient to provide context to the concepts introduced.
In Key Stage One, pupils are taught how to read rhythmic notation. They learn to identify the classification of different instruments based on understanding of how they work and use basic vocabulary in relation to pitch, tempo, dynamics and rhythm.
In Key Stage Two, pupils consolidate the understanding gained in their prior learning by gaining a wider vocabulary to use when evidencing their knowledge. Pupils begin to understand how harmony and tonality can be used to impact the overall effect of a piece of music and reflect this understanding in listening and composition activities.
It is important, at every stage in their music education, that children understand that music is a social construct that can be used to reflect a variety of contexts and meanings. A combination of selective instrumental teaching and extensive listening experiences lead to an enhanced ability to analyze music, making judgements about where it is from, why it was written and where it fits in the wider context of the history of music.
Click to download our curriculum map: