Music teaching at Gilded Hollins aims to follow the specifications of the National Curriculum; providing a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum and ensuring the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge and skills. At Gilded Hollins we believe that music plays an integral role in helping children to feel part of a community, therefore we provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music both in class and to an audience. Through assemblies and performances, children showcase their talent and their understanding of performing with awareness of others. Lessons enable children to develop their skills, appreciate a wide variety of music and begin to appraise a range of musical genres.
The aims of our Music curriculum are to develop pupils who:
· Enjoy and have an appreciation for music.
· Listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, cultures, styles and traditions.
· Can sing and use their voices to create different effects.
· Create and compose music, both on their own and with others.
· Use a range of musical language.
· Make judgements and express personal preferences about the quality and style of music.
· Take part in performances with an awareness of audience.
In class sessions, taught by the class teacher via Charanga, Wider Opportunities or by specialist teachers, the children appreciate, respect and discuss the dimensions of music through listening and appraising activities. Children develop their musical skills (finding the pulse, listening and playing back a rhythm, improvisation, internalising etc…) through games based around their topic’s genre/song. Children’s learning is developed further through composition and performing (through voice, body percussion, percussion instruments, tuned instruments or musical technology).
Music is taught primarily through the Charanga Musical School Scheme which provides clear progression, lesson by lesson, engaging and exciting whiteboard resources to support every lesson, although staff are encouraged to add their own influence where appropriate. The scheme provides an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning. This is achieved by structuring all music lessons into three parts: listening and appraising a variety of genres and composers over time, creating and exploring through musical activities, where children are encouraged to use their time wisely to rehearse and embrace new experiences, and performing and sharing. Musical activities are based around a focus song. This year, we have adapted our scheme to include body percussion and signing. Traditionally, objectives and skills of the National Curriculum are addressed through games, singing, playing instruments, reading musical symbols and notation, improvising and composing; thus children are learning music through a range of activities which accommodates all learning styles. Instrumental work is differentiated allowing children to succeed at their own pace and understanding. Weekly lessons are designed to last 45 minutes to one hour. From Year 1 to Year 6, there are six half-termly units of work with the final unit, Reflect, Rewind and Replay, which allows for revision and extensions of previous activities. Throughout the year, additional songs and composition activities are taught alongside our wider curriculum to strengthen the children’s musical abilities and passion for music. Similarly, EYFS use focus songs bespoke to their curriculum for listening and appraising and musical activities. Children are free to explore sounds and compose in a range of areas in their provision.
Music is further integrated into our school by children listening to a wide variety of music genres either in class or during daily assemblies. They learn a variety of songs for different celebrations throughout the year e.g. for the end of year production or the Christmas nativity. Furthermore, each week, a new composer is introduced to the children. The children learn which period of music the composer is from, technical musical vocabulary and an interesting fact about the composer and/or the piece of music. This is also supported in listening and appraising activities around the class’ focus song via the Charanga scheme. This is to help the children to develop their awareness of the ‘history of music’.
The needs of SEND children are met through various means including the use of differentiated work (visual notation/rhythm cards and un-tuned instruments), the support of teaching assistants or mixed ability pairings as appropriate.
Teachers monitor progress continually and adjust their teaching accordingly. Much of the learning covered in Music is kept hands-on and kinaesthetic, providing practical learning and experiences so that skills can become embedded and so ensure concrete understanding. Assessment through questioning and verbal discussion is an area that the school is working hard to promote and enhance. Children are also encouraged to assess their own learning through self-assessment, for example, each child in Year 4 has a self-assessment sheet (provided by WMS) with a list of ‘I can…’ statements. At the end of each term the children indicate which of the statements they can do.
Music has discrete skills outlined in the new curriculum and teachers report children’s attainments on Insight, the school assessment programme. Decisions are made as to whether children are working towards, expected or above in the objectives and skills taught for their year group. These are viewed by the headteacher and shared with the subject leader. In this way, I have a clear picture of children’s progress and achievement in Music right across the school. In the Foundation stage, learning is initiated from the child’s own knowledge and assessment of children’s knowledge is measured through the steps made in the EYFS profile and is evidenced in the children’s learning journals.
Work sampling and scrutiny is not appropriate for Music in Reception or KS1 at this point of learning as our emphasis is heavily on oral and practical work. Where possible, aspects of their learning will be captured on camera and stored on our online learning journal, Seesaw, or showcased on our school website. However, as children move though the year groups, and as they become more familiar with the musical notation, they are encouraged to compose larger pieces of music which may be kept as evidence by the class teacher.
Through talking to pupils this year, I have been able to find out their thoughts about music and what they have learnt.
Year 4 – ‘I have enjoyed learning to play the Baritone this year and I now play in Wigan Training Band.’
Year 1 – ‘I like singing the songs we have learnt, like ‘Your Imagination’.’
Year 5 – ‘We have learnt to play different notes, like C, G and E, on the Glockenspiel.’
Year 6 – ‘I liked composing our piece of music about The Great Fire of London. We played together in a group and each had a different instrument.’