“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
Subject Leader: Mrs Ailsa Da Costa
At Abbeyfields we believe that music will enrich the lives of our children and this will in turn help to develop their self-confidence and sense of achievement.
We aim to deliver a high quality music education, which engages pupils and inspires them to develop their love of music and talents as musicians, both through explicit music lessons and through the development of musical skills through performances.
Aims in teaching Music at Abbeyfields
We aim to:
- provide opportunities across the curriculum for children to develop their listening skills from an early age.
- teach about a variety of tuned instruments and percussion instruments including their voice.
- develop an awareness of how to use these instruments effectively by changing rhythm, pitch or dynamics.
- develop an awareness of the interrelated dimensions of music and how these are woven through different genres of music and through the music the children make.
- enable pupils to listen, appraise, respond to and evaluate live and recorded music, including their own and others’ compositions and performances;
- enable pupils to gain a greater depth of understanding in music through looking at different genres, techniques, musical styles, historical periods, key musicians and cultural music.
- provide an opportunity for all children at all levels to perform alone and with others, using a range of instruments and their voices, developing an awareness of audiences, venue and occasion.
How is the content of the Music curriculum chosen?
At Abbeyfields, we teach through a themed approach, to enable children to embed learning and make connections, which leads to a greater depth of understanding within the subject.
The content is therefore chosen to make effective links with key themes, reflect expectations in the National Curriculum programmes of study and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and engage the children. The content may also be adapted based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts, links to events which are taking place in the community or wider world, or to countries, places and people being studied.
How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?
At Abbeyfields we use the Charanga original scheme of work. This scheme is in line with the National Curriculum for Music and guidance from DfE, and moves away from the previous levels and learning objective/outcome concepts to an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning.
Instrumental work is differentiated allowing children to move through the relevant parts as they need to. The integrated approach to musical learning means that the whole musical experience is important, children are learning music through each activity. Planned lessons are sequenced and have appropriate and differentiated content for all year groups, as well as children being able to build on their knowledge and skills.
How do we teach Music at Abbeyfields?
Half term units of work enable children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning. Learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables a more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills. The interrelated dimensions of music weave through the units to encourage the development of musical skills as the learning progresses through listening and appraising, differing musical activities (including creating and exploring) and performing.
Within each discrete block of music teaching, class teachers use planning which has specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort or of individuals within it. The planning guides teachers through each strand of musical learning in order to further plan for their teaching and to see the opportunity to embed deeper learning, knowledge, understanding and skills. Musical teaching and learning is not neat or linear. The strands of musical learning, presented within the lesson plans and the resources, are part of a learning spiral. Over time, children can both develop new musical skills and concepts, and re-visit established musical skills and concepts.
Our teaching and learning opportunities ensure all children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning and demonstration is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts or skills are introduced.
Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills in order to all take part in performances and events which showcases what they have learnt.
When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘musicians.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within that subject.
In music these are to:
- listen to and appraise a range of musical pieces and form our own opinions
- talk about how music makes us feel.
- create, improvise, compose and perform.
- use tuned and percussion instruments.
Music is usually taught weekly to all of our children, however opportunities for listening to and evaluating music are ongoing through the year, as children are given regular opportunities to sample and discuss different styles and genres of music, which reflect the locality and the wider world. They are therefore continually using the language associated with music and have regular opportunities to learn about the work of famous and local musicians.
Music is one of our key subject drivers in developing the diversity side of our school curriculum. Through studying a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact on the world of music, as well as a range of countries and cultures, children learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement in music.
Teaching Music in Early Years
Planning and teaching in EYFS is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals, as we prepare them with the skills they need for Year 1.
As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in EYFS are given the opportunity to continually practise and embed their skills through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills are observed by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school. Assessment opportunities are provided at the beginning of a unit of work to ensure children have remembered and retained key knowledge from previous year groups before learning new knowledge and skills. This may be in the form of quizzes and musical challenges.
Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?
Music allows our children to be creative, independent, learn new vocabulary, have access to a wide variety of musical genres and texts, as well as demonstrate a sense of pride in their work and performance.
Positive relationships in school ensure that children get the opportunity to work collaboratively together on projects, as well as recognise how to sensitively respond to others when offering evaluations of their work or performance. Children will have an understanding that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement. Through a varied music curriculum children will have the opportunity to perform to a wider audience and be able to celebrate and value diversity in music.
Participation in musical activities develops physical skills including fine motor control and hand-eye co-ordination. It also has a positive effect on children’s well-being.
Through music children are enabled to discover how it has shaped our history and contributed to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation and the wider world.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
- Specialist music teachers come into school to work with children in KS2 i.e. ukulele in Year 3
- Children are given the opportunity, through peripatetic teachers, to learn to play an play an instrument with a specialist teacher whilst at school which include keyboard, guitar and vocal sessions (parental request)
- Children are given the opportunity to participate in performances in front of an audience to showcase their skills through year group assemblies and Christmas nativity plays.
- Children often invite their parents and carers into school for a music assembly to share and celebrate their musical skills. This was held virtually during the pandemic.
- We often host musicians in school, to work with the children and broaden their experiences. We hold ‘music workshops’ for the children, supported by Northumberland Music Services.
- Children have the opportunity to take part in the school choir performing within school and to the wider community i.e. “The Big Gig”
Extra-curricular clubs throughout the year include choir, music assemblies, and ambitious musical productions in Year 3 and 4 such as Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Ali Baba, Alice in Wonderland and Rock Bottom.