"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
At St Mary's CE Primary School, our music curriculum intends to inspire creativity, self-expression and encourages our children on their musical journeys as well as giving them opportunities to connect with others. We hope to foster a life long love of music by exposing them to diverse musical experiences and igniting a passion for music. By listening and responding to different musical styles, finding their voices as singers and performers and as composers, we aim to enable them to become confident, reflective musicians.
‘Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity’ (The National Curriculum)
We use the Music Express programme as a basis for music teaching at St Mary’s. Music Express provides a completely new set of teaching activities to support the revised English National Curriculum from September 2014.
Devised especially for classroom teachers, whether generalist or specialist, Music Express is:
The essence of Music Express is to create a topic-based, cross-curricular approach to support children's learning in music and across other subjects through music. A steady progression plan has been built into Music Express, both within each year and from one year to the next, ensuring consistent musical development.
By using Music Express as the basis of a scheme of work, schools can ensure that they are fulfilling the aims for musical learning stated in the English National Curriculum:
The English National Curriculum states 'That all pupils: 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.'
Music Express includes many examples of music styles and genres from different times and places, including the classical Western canon. These are explored through the language of music via active listening, performing and composing activities, which enable understanding of the context and genre. Examples include vocal melodies from Medieval times, Tudor court music, Romantic ballet music, Twentieth century pop, as well as traditional and classical forms from across the globe.
The English National Curriculum states 'That all pupils: learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.' Music Express provides a classroom-based, participatory and inclusive approach to music learning. Throughout the scheme, children are actively involved in using and developing their singing voices, using body percussion and whole body actions, and learning to handle and play classroom instruments effectively to create and express their own and others' music. Through a range of whole class, group and individual activities, children have opportunities to explore sounds, listen actively, compose and perform. In some age 7–11 units the class ensemble can be extended using additional scores which are available for those children learning to play non-classroom instruments.
The English National Curriculum states 'That all pupils: 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.'
Music Express builds experience and develops understanding of the dimensions (elements) of music throughout the scheme. Each unit has as its focus one process such as performance or composition, or one dimension, such as pitch, but the learning progresses within the context of all the inter-related processes and dimensions of music. A wide variety of notations, including picture, graphic, rhythm and staff notation are integrated, wherever appropriate, with practical music-making activities throughout the scheme. Notations are used progressively to promote understanding and use of the representation of sound in symbols by all children.
We enrich our core curriculum thorugh regularly taking part in music projects to develop our pupils' composition, collaboration, rehearsal and performance skills. For example, our Year 3 children teamed up with the SAST schools in a songwriting project on Folk music which culminated in a concert for a wide audience. Year 5 and 6 participated in a series of workshops on West End musicals and gave a concert at the Gateway in Yeovil, alongside the other small schools in the Sherborne cluster.
Recorder tuition is offered to Year 3 pupils and singing tuition offered to Key Stage 2 pupils through clubs during the school day.
In Year 4, all children are given the opportunity to have free instrumental tuition. Individual tuition is also available at an extra charge provided by Dorset Music Service or other peripatetic teachers.
We encourage all of our instrumentalists to play during assemblies and for a wider audience as this develops their confidence in performing.
Whilst in school, children have opportunities to forge their own musical journey, which allows them to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a child may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music will also develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to students individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music, in as many ways as they choose - either as listener, creator or performer. They can discuss music and comprehend its parts. They can sing, feel a pulse, add rhythms and create melodies in a group and they can further develop these skills in the future and continue to enjoy and embrace music in their lives.