How do we teach Music?
At Longton Primary School, we aim to engage, motivate 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.
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. 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. (The National Curriculum)
Music teaching at Longton Primary School is undertaken by a music specialist and aims to follow the requirements of the National Curriculum for Music; providing a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum; ensuring the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge and skills. Music is a unique way of communicating, it is a vehicle for personal expression, and it can play an important part in personal and cognitive development. Music at Longton aims to reflect the culture and society that we live in, and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world they live in. At Longton we recognise that music can be a highly academic and demanding subject, but we also aim to make it a creative and enjoyable activity. Furthermore, music also plays an important part in helping children to feel part of a community and so we provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music both in class and to an audience through assemblies, concerts and key stage performances. Lessons enable children to develop their skills, appreciate a wide variety of musical forms, and begin to make judgements about the quality of music.
The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which Longton School develops exciting and stimulating themes and lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school Curriculum.
Our Music curriculum is based on our aims – Care, Grow and Shine.
The aims of our Music curriculum are to develop pupils who:
- Can sing and use their voices.
- Create and compose music on their own and with others.
- Use technology appropriately.
- Progress to the next level of musical excellence.
- Have opportunities to learn a musical instrument.
- Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated.
- Understand the work of great composers and musicians.
- Enjoy and have an appreciation for music.
- Use musical language.
- Make judgements about the quality of music.
- Have opportunities to play a wide variety of instruments.
- Take part in performances.
- Perform and share a range of musical styles.
- Listen, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions.
- Have opportunities to study a range of musical styles and genres, e.g. Jazz, Hip Hop, Pop, Rock etc.
Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers
All children will have Quality First Teaching. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. As well as this, our school offers a demanding and varied curriculum, providing children with a range of opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential and consistently achieve highly from their starting points.
At Longton Primary School we recognise that musical teaching and learning is not neat or linear and that children do not learn in straight lines. Repeating a musical skill doesn’t mean their progress is slowing down or their development is moving backwards, it enables pupils to reinforce musical understanding in order to improve the quality of their musicianship.
Our Music curriculum allows children to develop new music skills and concepts whilst also revisiting and embedding established musical skills and concepts. At Longton we recognise that achieving mastery in Music means gaining both a deeper understanding of musical skills and concepts whilst also learning something new. The progression document ensures the curriculum is covered and the skills, knowledge and vocabulary taught are progressive from year group to year group.
Music is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum and the Music curriculum at Longton is in line with the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England requirements for KS1, KS2 and the Foundation stage curriculum. Music teaching at Longton will deliver the requirements of the National Curriculum through half termly topics and our very experienced specialist teacher plans lessons based on our knowledge and skills document and the Kapow scheme of work, ensuring consistency and progression throughout the school.
We recognise that music is a specialist subject and not all teachers are musical specialists. Music at Longton is mainly taught by our specialist teacher who has a strong musical background whilst teaching staff have their PPA time. The Kapow Package enables clear coverage of the music curriculum whilst also providing support and CPD for less confident teachers to deliver lessons. Our Year 4 and Year 5 children also experience the opportunity to learning to play a musical instrument throughout the year, via weekly lessons, as a taster in the hope they will take up regular music tuition.
At Longton the specialist teacher uses the Kapow scheme of work as a supplement to their music lessons rather than following it as a prescribed model. The units are tailored and use the ‘freestyle’ element of the package to provide thematic, cross curricular lessons that also follow children’s interests. Music lessons are broken down into half-termly units and flexibility is provided to enable teachers to link with other subjects and follow pupil’s current interests. An emphasis is placed on musical vocabulary, allowing children to talk about pieces of music using the correct terminology.
Each unit of work has an on-going musical learning focus and a unit specific focus to enable previous musical skills to be embedded. Music lessons usually follow a specific learning sequence:
- Listen and Appraise
- Musical Activities (including pulse and rhythm)
- Singing and Voice
- Playing instruments
- Perform and Share
Our progression model also follows the same learning sequence to ensure all interrelated elements of music are covered and implemented.
Music teaching at Longton is practical and engaging. In each lesson, pupils will actively participate in musical activities drawn from a range of styles and traditions, developing their musical skills and their understanding of how music works. Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from independent tasks, paired and group work as well as improvisation and teacher-led performances. Lessons are “hands-on” and incorporate movement and dance elements, as well as making cross curricular links with other areas of learning.
Differentiated guidance is available for every lesson to ensure that lessons can be accessed by all pupils and opportunities to stretch pupils’ learning are available when required. Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts and vocabulary.
Our mastery curriculum provides further enrichment opportunities throughout the year (see below) for children who show extensive aptitude in music.
Performance is at the heart of musical teaching and learning at Longton and all pupils participate in a key stage performance. Pupils also take part in Harvest assemblies, Longton Lights, singing assemblies and pupils from reception to Year 6 perform at our annual Carol Concert at St Andrew’s Church. Pupils who are confident are also encouraged to perform in solo performances. Parents are invited and welcomed to watch all of these performances whether at school or outside of school. Furthermore, pupils from reception to Year 6 all attend our whole school pantomime at one of our local theatres. Visits from and to live musicians enable children to appreciate a range of high quality musicians, traditions and composers.
At Longton music teaching is not only focused on performance but also providing our pupils with an understanding and appreciation for music. Through our music lessons children study a wide range of musical styles and genres from a range of musical periods. Some of the musical styles and genres we study are as follows: Nursery rhymes, African call and response songs, Ballards, Rock and roll, Jazz, Samba, Blues, Musical theatre, Film music, Elton John, The Beetles and Elvis Prestley.
Each class also study a range composer throughout the year. An example of the composers studied throughout the year are as follows:
- Reception-Mozart, Shubert and Pharrell Williams
- Year 1-Vivaldi, Camille Saint-Seans and Benjamin Britten
- Year 2-Bach, Holst and Beethoven
- Year 3-Joplin, Mozart and Ella Fitzgerald
- Year 4- Beethoven, John Barry and May Kay Yau
- Year 5-Mendelssoln, Grieg and Walter Murphy
- Year 6-Elgar, Benjamin Britten and John Barry
Alongside our curriculum provision for music, pupils also have the opportunity to participate in additional 1:1 music teaching. Pupils are offered the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with peripatetic teachers. Our peripatetic music teaching is organised by the Local Education Authority’s Music for Life, where lessons are provided weekly for a small set fee paid by the child’s parent or carer. Instruments include but are not limited to: guitar, piano, keyboard and violin. Pupils that learn a musical instrument have the opportunity to sit examinations and perform at our carol concert and in out of school venues.
We provide opportunities for all Y4 pupils to learn a musical instrument should they wish to, regardless of their background. Pupils can also loan out the instruments to practise at home.
Pupils also have the opportunity to join the school choir. The school choir is open to all children in Year 4 and 5 on a weekly basis, with the average number of pupils being in the range of 40. Pupils in the school choir meet once a week and focus on teamwork, singing in unison, developing harmony, solo performances and having fun! The school choir also have the opportunity to perform in school performances, carol concerts and singing assemblies.
Our Music curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression and build on and embed current skills. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills in the different musical components and like in other subjects, discreet teaching of vocabulary also forms part of the units of work.
If children are achieving the knowledge and skills in lessons, then they are deemed to be making good or better progress.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Pupil discussions and interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Governor monitoring with our subject governor.
- Moderation staff meetings with opportunities for dialogue between teachers.
- Annual reporting and tracking of standards across the curriculum.
- Photo evidence and images of the pupils practical learning.
- Video analysis through recording of performance in lessons.
- A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes.
- Dedicated music leader time.
- School tracking system
The impact of our music curriculum is also measured in the uptake of our music after school clubs and uptake of additional music 1:1 teaching. In addition to this, we also measure the impact of the class composers and routinely ask children about their composer/style of music they are learning.