At St Stephen's, we aim to expose and immerse our children into the universal language that is music. We aim to capture and build upon their artisitc creativity - as well as beginning that journey in those not-yet experienced to it before they attend our school. We aim to engage and inspire our pupils to develop a love of music, as well as their desire to become young and talented musicians. We want to see excellent progression in their musical skills and knowledge as they progress through our school, allowing them to listen and then compose music of a high standard.
Through this curriculum, we intend to inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians. In addition, we see music as a vehicle for increasing their self-confidence, creativity, memory and sense of achievement. Music is linked to other subjects through cross-curricular topics. As pupils progress, they will develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose and to listen with discrimination. Pupils will perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions - including the works of the great composers and musicians. They will learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. They will understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
At St Stephen's, our music curriculum is taught on a two-year cycle, and through this, we offer a wealth of stimulating and challenging experiences for all children of all abilities. A broad range of music from a diverse group of musicians, time periods and cultures allow our children to expand their musical experiences beyond what they have previously encountered and allow them to discover new and exciting worlds they have yet to fully discover.
To ensure that all our children have this musical journey, as a school we:
- Listen to and evaluate music across a range of periods and genres from great composers.
- Sing alongside a broad range of musical genres.
- Learn key vocabulary related to music, including, but not limited to: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure.
- Learn to write appropriate musical notations.
- Compose music - initially with structured support – until eventually branching out to compose music on their own.
- Learn a musical instrument from a profession music teacher.
At the beginning of our children’s school experience, our children are introduced to music through the singing of a range of diverse songs, chants and rhymes. They are able to do this through listening to a broad range of high-quality live and recorded music. As a result of this, the children then build up a large vocabulary bank of technical musical terms that allow them to describe the music they are listening to. Such vocabulary include, but are not limited to: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure. This exposure to a rich tapestry of music – combined with a growing musical vocabulary – leads the children being to play tuned and untuned instruments.
As the children progress through the school, their growing music playing skills allow children to perform their instruments in solo or group settings. This is particularly true when they learn to play brass instruments in upper key stage two. There they are taught how to play a range of complex music via a professional music teacher. Gaining this valuable experience and skills allows the children to compose and improvise music of their own – even being able to write the music they have composed on a stave.
In EYFS (Nursery and Reception), children start their musical journey, listening to a broad range of songs, chants and rhymes – with the main focus being on repeating patterns – and getting children to develop the physical ability to be able to replicate simple beats and rhythms they hear and practice. They are also encouraged to explore the sounds of lots of different instruments – which builds
In Key Stage One (Years 1 and 2), children learn to sing a range of songs, chants and rhymes whilst building on simpler music terms they have learned in EYFS to start to be able to describe music they hear in more detail. They will also be introduced to tuned instruments for the first time and be introduced to the idea of different notes making different sounds.
In Key Stage Two (Years 3-6), children build on their knowledge of notes and begin to play tuned instruments – performing both on their own and in group contexts. They will then begin to improvise music of their own. At the end of key stage two, they will finally develop the ability to write their own music down on a stave, read it back and be able to perform it to an audience. All this will be set over an ever-growing understanding and bank of exposure to different music from a broad range of composers from different cultures and nationalities.
By the time our children move on and transition to high school, we expect our children to be able to:
- Recall a large bank of music from a broad range of periods and genres from great composers.
- To sing with confidence, intonation and volume.
- To understand key musical terms and vocabulary including, but not limited to: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
- To compose music on their own using a range of tuned and untuned instruments.
- To read music on a stave.
- To compose music of their own and then be able to play it on a tuned musical instrument.
Equality and Diversity
St Stephen's is committed to support the Equality Act of 2010 and, as such, believes that all pupils should be exposed to curriculum content and resources which reflect modern Britain. Pupils are enabled to see themselves and others within the resources used and acquire knowledge and skills, understanding that curriculum content is relevant and has purpose for them. We continue to purchase resources so that all pupils, equally, are encouraged to make best progress possible. We also aim to show our children how people of different: gender, religion, nationality, mobility and ethnicity have shaped the musical landscape around them - including the very music they listen to today.
Access for All
Every child has access to the music curriculum in our school. Special Education Needs and EAL co-ordinators assist staff to ensure that children have the necessary resources to learn their next steps in learning. Any child who is not able to physically access musical instruments will have electronic or adapted versions supplied. Anyone who needs assistance with reading/seeing sheet music will have the necessary overlays or electronic devices required to allow them to access the music curriculum. We endeavour to ensure that all children make the necessary progress to succeed in their acquisition of music knowledge and skills.
Teachers use a variety of resources including audio visual, texts, visits and visitors to enable pupils to understand the world they live in and to reflect on their own identity as well as that of others. A sense of awe and wonder is developed through study of the subject and a celebration for that which enriches the world for all. We encourage our pupils to believe that they can change the world for the better after continuing to acquire knowledge from this curriculum subject. We aim for children to feel passion in the music they hear and play - and link that to the wider world - it's creation - and the thankfulness we have as a people for having the opportunity to feel these emotions in our lives.
Assessment for learning is continuous throughout the planning, teaching and learning cycle. Assessment is supported by use of the following strategies:
● Observing children at work, individually, in pairs, in a group and in class during whole class teaching.
● Using differentiated, open-ended questions that require children to explain and unpick their understanding within a lesson.
● Book moderation and monitoring of outcomes of work, to evaluate the range and balance of work and to ensure that tasks meet the needs of different learners (with the acquisition of the preidentified key knowledge of each topic and skills being evidenced through the outcomes).
● Child and teacher reviews of both the agreed success criteria at the end each unit, to inform focused consolidation where this is necessary.
The subject leader also speaks to groups of children across all age ranges at different times of the year to see how their musical knowledge has transfered into their long-term memory and moved them forward as young, budding musicians.