At St. Mary’s School, we make music an inclusive, enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences helping to build confidence and self-esteem.
‘Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together.’
As we learn about music from different cultures, music through time and how to play different instruments we live our Christian values in other ways, showing kindness and perseverance as we work and perform together and help each other to progress. Performances within the wider community give us further opportunity to live out and share our values.
At St Mary’s Primary School, we aim to stimulate pupils’ curiosity, interest, and enjoyment of music. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. We want music lessons to be fun and inspiring and for pupils to be reflective and expressive, developing their own appreciation of different musical genres.
Through a range of whole class, group and individual activities, pupils have opportunities to explore sounds, listen actively, compose and perform. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to develop their musical potential and we aim to nurture and encourage musical development across the school.
Core Skills Across the Music Curriculum:
Class music lessons are taught throughout the school using Charanga, a scheme of work that provides a range of materials from across the ages and around the world. Children have the opportunity to 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. In lessons, they 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. Through our music lessons, pupils develop their singing voices, they use body percussion and whole-body actions, they learn to handle and play classroom instruments effectively to create and express their own and others’ music.
As children progress through St. Mary’s they revisit key skills and knowledge in a variety of contexts, with increasing degrees of complexity.
Music lessons are interactive and practical, and pupils often work as a class, small group and individually within one lesson. Pupils use a variety of ‘real’ instruments as they progress through the school and listen to a breadth of professionally recorded music from history and around the world. Pupil work is sometimes recorded through videos and sound recordings, ensuring the focus remains on the key objectives (rather than attempting notation which could be much too tricky, for example), although pupils do develop skills in creating graphic and score notation as they progress through the school, enabling them to work on single pieces for a number of weeks. Prior learning is constantly revisited and built upon, forming solid foundations of musical understanding.
Each unit of work has clear objectives and anticipated outcomes. They are also carefully structured to enable pupils to build skills through each lesson, culminating in the completion of a performance or composition.
The curriculum has been carefully planned to enable children to develop their understanding and skills as they progress through the school.
Each unit of work has clear objectives and set outcomes for pupils in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills acquisition. Lessons are adapted to ensure that all children are challenged. We ensure that when assessing pupils, evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources to inform the process, including interaction with pupils during lessons, observing and interacting with pupils while they are practising and refining skills, and listening to final performances or compositions. The outcomes of each lesson and unit of work serve to inform the teacher’s developing picture of the knowledge and understanding of each pupil and to plan future learning accordingly. Outcomes are used to build an emerging picture of what the pupil knows, understands and can do.
At the mid point of each year, we make a summative judgement about the achievement of each pupil which we share in an annual report with parents and carers. At this point teachers decide upon a ‘best fit’ judgement as to whether the pupil has achieved and embedded the expected age related expectations, exceeded expectations or is still working towards them. These decisions are based on the professional knowledge and judgement that teachers possess about the progress of each pupil which allows an informed and holistic judgement of attainment.
Singing is very much at the heart of music at St. Mary’s and the whole school enjoy weekly singing practice, learning songs from different genres and cultures as well as enjoying singing songs in 2 and 3 parts. Every year, Year 2 have the opportunity to take part in the Barnet Schools’ Infant Music Festival, where they enjoy singing a range of themed songs alongside a number of other schools, as well as performing their own solo item.
Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music, as well as the importance of working together and the joy of performance. At St. Mary’s, we teach them to listen to and appreciate different forms of music. Children develop descriptive skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent feelings and emotions. We teach children to make music together, to understand musical notation, and to begin to compose their own pieces.
Children are offered the opportunity to study a musical instrument with peripatetic teachers. Peripatetic music teaching is provided by BEAT (Barnet Education Arts Trust) and the fees for these lessons are paid on a termly basis. These lessons are normally taught one to one for 15 minutes on a weekly basis but can increase to 30 minutes as the children progress. We currently offer lessons for guitar, drums, woodwind, piano and violin. This is in addition to the normal class music teaching of the school, but usually takes place during curriculum time. As well as individual instrumental lessons, every child during their time at St. Mary’s, will have the opportunity to play a musical instrument for at least one term, through BEAT’s whole class instrumental tuition scheme.