Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high quality music education should 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. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.
National Curriculum in England, DfE 2013
Music Curriculum Intent
At Thomlinson Junior School we aim to make music an enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children.
We explore music through the inter-related dimensions of music: performing, listening, composing and the history of music. Teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to sing in tune and with other people, maintaining a melody and rhythm. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We teach them to listen and to appreciate different forms of music. We expect them to maintain their concentration for longer and to listen to more extended pieces of music. Children develop descriptive skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent feelings and emotions. We teach them the disciplined skills of recognising pulse and pitch. We often teach these together. We also teach children how to work with others to make music and how individuals combine together to make sounds.
Pupils are taught musical notation and how to compose music. Within each music session there will be the following elements:
- A recap or introduction starter which addresses prior learning and a physical warm-up using the voice and body. It could also include attention grabbing starters that introduce the children to the theme of the music unit.
- The children then are exposed to new learning or learning in their sequence and how it fits within our theme of work.
- The children are then prompted with various assessment questions and questions to get them thinking a little deeper about the skills they have learnt.
Over the course of a unit, the lessons taught will include performance, composition, specific listening tasks, and giving and listening to appraisal and constructive criticism. At least part of each music session involves whole class activities with the opportunity for group work.
We recognise that there are children of widely different musical abilities in all classes, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways by:
- Setting open-ended tasks which could have a variety of responses;
- Setting tasks of increasing difficulty (not all children complete all tasks); Grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group;
- Providing resources depending on the ability of the child;
- Using classroom assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children.
Key skills are taught through bi-weekly sessions and through the exploration of new music from all around the world.
Music Curriculum Implementation
Each music lesson with each year group will explore and discuss the fundamental elements of music - melody, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, time signature, pitch, notation, using the correct terminology. This may be through song which allows individual interaction and exploration, or listening to music of various genres, including music the children already know and are familiar with.
Recalling the elements within each lesson gradually extends and embeds knowledge, allowing for more depth of understanding as each child progresses through each year, providing greater opportunity to apply their knowledge practically during composition lessons and with the ability to discuss, analyse and write about music.
Every music lesson begins with a physical vocal warm up. This not only wakes up the brain and the body using music, song and movement, but releases endorphins enabling a more positive learning environment and willingness to learn. Within the vocal warm up, various techniques are used, for example:
- Tongue twisters for language and speech development
- Rhythmic sequence building through body percussion is explored to develop recall, tempo and dynamics
- Singing in rounds to develop pitch control, ability to work as a team and individually
- Songs with simple choreography to strengthen coordination with the addition of switching tempo or dynamics to assist and complement learning an instrument
- Songs in various languages, such as African, Korean, Tahitian, Italian and from various genres such as Jazz, Classical, Spiritual, Pop, Musical.
- Following and the benefit of the conductor when learning a song, chant, rhythm etc and ‘performing’ as an ensemble and listening to each other
There is a different focus or topic each half term; this can change depending on the school's calendar of events, external performance opportunities etc. The aim with the content for each half term is to provide a varied programme of quality over quantity, with topics being revisited in subsequent years to allow for depth of knowledge, growth and progress through confidence within each child's musical ability.
In addition to planned curriculum time for music, children also have additional musical experiences, sometimes the whole school together, sometimes individually, which occur during the school year and contribute to the overall planning and time allocation for music.
We endeavour to ensure that children have the opportunity to learn instruments, such as the piano and guitar in peripatetic sessions throughout the academic year. During the course of the year, pupils have the opportunity to perform with our school choirs at local community, county and national events e.g. Young Voices at Manchester Arena and the Wigton Town Carol Service.
Opportunities are used for musical experiences through a range of activities in other subjects to enable children to apply and use Music in real life and academic contexts e.g. History, PE. Visitors are also used to enhance the music curriculum where appropriate e.g. African Drumming. Music is incorporated into a variety of activities and events within school, such as weekly assemblies, classroom routines and special celebrations.
Music Curriculum Map
Music Curriculum Impact
Feedback will be verbal and based on the ideas, techniques, exploration and skills developed during the music lessons. Pupils will also be taught how to self-evaluate and reflect their work and progress. Progress will be assessed against key skills.
Inclusion in Music
Inclusion is about every child having educational needs that are special and the school meeting these diverse needs in order to ensure the active participation and progress of all children in their learning. Successful inclusive provision at Thomlinson Junior School is seen as the responsibility of the whole school community, permeating all aspects of school life and applicable to all our pupils.
Each lesson is scaffolded to support all levels of learners to ensure everyone is able to access music. Inclusive practice in Music should enable all children to achieve their best possible standard; whatever their ability, and irrespective of gender, ethnic, social or cultural background, home language or any other aspect that could affect their participation in, or progress in their learning.
Policies and Procedures
Thomlinson Junior School has excellent music facilities. We have a specialist music teacher working in our school on a weekly basis, providing lessons to every year class once a fortnight, and supporting the school with special choirs formed for important events such as Christmas. We also have a number of peripatetic music teachers who provide musical instruction in a variety of instruments, such as violin or viola, guitar, brass instruments and piano, for those children who wish to participate.