Music is a constant accompaniment to our lives with access to digital music at the touch of our fingertips. Music can motivate and comfort us, inspire us in our thinking and reflect images and moods. It is our aim at St John’s to explore the journey of musical communication; from a fleeting idea in the mind of a composer, through the precise and accurate organisation of sounds and instruments, to a performance moment and appreciation by an audience. In doing this, children should develop a sense of place in musical history, know that music contributes to important occasions in their own lives and in other cultures around the world and have opportunities to develop their own composition, performance, listening and appraisal skills. Music at St John’s is a joyful experience and it is our intention that children’s learning of music remains a skill for life.
Music lessons at St John’s engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. The curriculum is bespoke and draws on a wide range of resources. The vast majority of lessons are practical learning activities.
In Key stage 1, the children are taught to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. They play tuned and untuned instruments musically, following a conductor’s instructions. They explore the inter-related dimensions of music and listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music. Composition tasks give them the opportunity to experiment with creating, selecting and combining sounds to imitate and communicate a particular creative idea.
Key stage 2 Pupils are taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence, accuracy, fluency and expression. Class instrumental performance pieces are learned on the recorder and ukulele, using both staff notation and tablature. In Year 4 all children are given a years tuition on a string, brass or woodwind instrument and are encouraged to continue learning and support the school orchestra in the following years. For musical improvisation and composition tasks, children also have access to a wide variety of tuned and untuned percussion and are encouraged to use their own instruments. The learning of musical history is introduced through the use of Classic FM’s “100 Pieces” collection for listening and the BBC Ten Pieces initiative which weave together critical listening, cultural awareness and practical performance and compositions tasks, through which the children organise and manipulate ideas within musical structures and reproduce sounds from a developing aural memory.
Music is also present across the curriculum supporting learning in areas such as maths, languages and dance. Songs are used to reinforce new learning of vocabulary in a range of subjects and are also an important part of our collective acts of worship. As a Catholic Academy, we use music for listening and singing in our masses and assemblies, spreading the gospel message.
Music is important in the wider life of the school increasing children’s confidence in whole class and Key Stage performances such as the Christmas Nativities and the Summer Singing Concert. Extra-curricular musical activities provide even wider performance experiences across the collegiate and in the community including choir, orchestra, peripatetic lessons and other musical clubs such as recorders, ukuleles and music technology.
Music has a high profile in our school community. Our school is full of singing and there is a high level of instrumental learning beyond the curriculum provision. Our performances foster parental engagement and support. All teachers are happy to lead and support musical activities. Participation in music develops wellbeing, promotes listening and develops concentration. We want to ensure that music is loved by adults and children across the school community, encouraging them to want to continue building on this wealth of musical ability, now and in the future.
We know our children have progressed in music when:
- They can make connections between the music they have heard and their own life experiences and learning in other subjects
- They are confidently performing in front of their peers
- They are able to teach themselves or friends a new piece of music independently.
- They can organise sounds for a purpose, in a structure, communicating ideas effectively.