‘Where words fail, music speaks’
Hans Christian Anderson
What we teach
At Mersey Park Primary School, we believe that music should be an enjoyable learning experience for all children and one which encourages children to participate in a variety of musical opportunities. We believe that music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a tool for personal expression and it can play an important part in personal development. We ensure our music curriculum is enriched with as many different learning opportunities as possible, so our children can have musical experiences that they would not otherwise have access to. We aim to provide our children with a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions and musical genres.
Our music curriculum ensures students sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate, following National Curriculum aims and objectives and the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as weekly singing assemblies, and concerts and performances throughout the school year. We encourage an inclusive environment with all of our curriculum and ensure all pupils, including those most vulnerable and those who are disadvantaged, have the opportunity to access the full and broad curriculum through carefully planned support and scaffolding as required.
How we teach it
From an early age, we make sure that children are introduced to a range of composers and musicians so they can experience styles and genres that might be new to them. The Kapow scheme of work is used from Foundation Stage to Year 6 to ensure a wide exposure to different genres of music, with lots of practical opportunities to explore and develop as musicians and singers. Curriculum progression is clearly set out in our Progression of Skills planning document, which has been carefully structured to allow lots of opportunities for children to practice and embed key skills and concepts.
Each music lesson starts with a mini-quiz, which revises prior knowledge and embeds important facts into children’s long-term memory. These quizzes are informal and allow teachers an opportunity to address misunderstandings and highlight key areas, which need more revision. Teachers regularly assess pupils’ abilities to appraise, compose and perform a wide variety of music. Music is monitored throughout all year groups using a variety of strategies such as folder/work scrutinies, lesson observations and pupil interviews.
We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to understand rhythm and follow a beat. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We teach them to listen and to appreciate different forms of music. Children develop descriptive language skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent different feelings, emotions and narratives. We also teach technical vocabulary such as volume, pitch, beat and rhythm and encourage children to discuss music using these terms. This vocabulary is revisited and revised through the use of quizzes, knowledge organisers which highlight musical vocabulary, key knowledge, and significant musicians and composers.
In recent years, we have worked with visiting artists and performers, for example Key Strings and Merseyside Police brass band, to provide our children with authentic and real life opportunities to get involved with workshops and performances. Additional opportunities are offered in music, such as the Key Stage 2 choir which performs regularly in school and at events in the local community.
Teachers are provided with regular opportunities to develop their own subject knowledge through sharing good practice, peer observation and visiting experts.
An end of term assessments are undertaken by the children which informs future teaching and improvements to planning as required. Final end of year assessments are made using assessment criteria grid that has been developed in line with the National Curriculum and Kapow, which identifies the level at which the child is working. Class teachers record these assessment outcomes using our tracking grid and the subject leader analyses gaps in knowledge and skills. Actions are identified and followed up. Children in Foundation Stage are assessed within Expressive Arts and Design and their progress is tracked regularly using Target Tracker. Age related expectation levels are reported to parents at the end of the year.
SMSC through Music
The spiritual aspect of music is encouraged through the experience and emotion of responding to performing, listening and composing music. We encourage our children to express their feelings to improve their levels of articulacy. We create a supportive environment where children can feel comfortable expressing their feelings. Children are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of others.
Children are encouraged to listen to songs with moral messages and discuss their meaning.
They collaborate in group tasks where they take responsibility for their own learning outcomes and progress. In group tasks we build a sense of unity and collaboration.
The resources and music examples used across school encourage a respect and appreciation for cultures around the world that have contributed to the development of our current popular music. We encourage children to make their own music and to incorporate different musical influences in their own composition.
Music reflects the culture and society we live in, and so the teaching and learning of music allows children to better understand the world they live in. It also plays an important part in enabling children to feel part of a community. They are given access to more unusual instruments to give them a wider learning experience of instruments that they might not come across in life, such as ukuleles and Samba drums.
By the end of Key Stage Two, we aim to develop musicians with a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may play in any person’s life. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
Whole School Music Overview
Aims and Objectives
Our objectives in the teaching of Music are:
- To meet the requirement of the National Curriculum as fully as possible and enable all children to reach the highest possible standards of achievement.
- To promote positive attitudes and enthusiasm for music.
- To provide all children with a broad range of quality musical experiences with purpose and enjoyment.
- To provide enabling environments, so that learners feel safe and confident in their use of music.
- To use music in a cross-curricular fashion to raise standards across the school.
- To create the atmosphere and levels of resource to encourage all members of the school community to learn and enjoy music.
- To encourage and inspire children to be part of and perform as part of an ensemble.
Music at Mersey Park
In Foundation 1 the children begin to learn traditional nursery rhymes, remembering the words and actions which accompany them. They also begin to improvise some of the nursery rhymes when they know them well. Children enjoy learning new songs and try hard to move their voices up and down. They begin to explore musical instruments, experimenting with different ways of playing them.
In Foundation 2 the children listen to different kinds of music from around the world, for example when they find about Diwali celebrations. The children are introduced to more new songs, learning to sing in a group matching the pitch and following the melody. Children make their own music using a variety of instruments and enjoy performing for each other on their stage. They also perform more formally in a Nativity play which develops their confidence and performing skills further.
In Year 1 the children find the beat to a familiar song such as ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. They use the instruments to copy the beat and practise their new skill.
In Year 2 the children warm up their vocal cords by practising singing. They continue to use the instruments to find a steady beat and move their bodies to the rhythm of each song.
In Year 3 the children learn about their imagination and look at significant people such as Albert Einstein who used to use his imagination to create wonderful inventions. The children use a range of instruments to compose a version of the song ‘My Imagination’ making sure they follow the beat.
The children explore the genre of Hoedown music. They listen to the song ‘Go Tell it on the Mountains’ and then perform it by singing and adding instruments. The children are also introduced to learning the language of music through playing the glockenspiel. They enjoy exploring and developing their playing skills and learn notations too.
In Year 5 the children study the influential musician Philip Glass. They listen to his compositions, appraise his work and look at his impact on the music industry. They also look at different genres of music with a focus on emotions and different musical elements. Towards the end of the term they look at the glockenspiel and how to play a simple melody using it. They create their own composition of “Sparkle in my Life” using E. F and G.
In Year 6 the children recap the skills they have learned from previous years. They use a variety of percussion instrument and combine different notes to create their own composition.
In Foundation 1 the children begin to explore the sounds that different instruments make through shaking, banging and rattling them. The instruments they explore come from different cultures and traditions.
In Foundation 2 the children use the instruments in the outdoor area to sing songs they have practised.
In Year 2 the children use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs, speaking chants and rhymes. They build up their knowledge of artists through the significant people studied and use each style of music to inform their compositions. They continue to develop their ability to play tuned and untuned instruments musically.
In Year 3 the children use band/orchestral instruments with classroom instruments to create an ensemble that engages all children. The children are able to listen to, move to and appraise a wider range of musical styles.
In Year 4 the children experience an integrated approach to music where games, the dimensions of music (pulse, rhythm, pitch etc), singing and playing instruments are all linked using the song ‘Mamma Mia’. They also use the music genre of Rap to compose music and create lyrics together.
In Year 5 the children study the genres of Rock and Motown. They continue to develop their ability to listen to music, compose their own musical pieces and perform to others.
In Year 6 the children build on previous skills learnt to widen their use of musical notes and notation. During this work they compose and perform their own tracks in a style of their choice.
In Foundation 1 the children continue to enjoy singing songs, learning actions to go with them and even invent some of their own.
In Foundation 2 the children enjoy making their own music with a range of percussion instruments. They sing songs and perform confidently and their friends enjoy watching and listening.
In Year 1 the children explore journeys through music this term. This links to their seaside topic, the children learn and appraise a variety of sea themed songs including beyond the sea, row row row your boat and ship on the ocean. The children then investigate the best instruments to make a water sound and play these alongside the music.
In Year 2 the children keep a pulse, use instruments to keep to the beat and express opinions on different genres of music.
In Year 3 the children use the shakers and wooden rhythm sticks to create different tempos and keep a beat in a song.
In Year 4 they learn the song ‘Let Your Spirit Fly’ and play along on the glockenspiels keeping to the rhythm.
In Year 5 the children have continued to develop their skills on the recorder and reading music.
In Year 6 the children research music throughout the last century and create a musical timeline. They use their musical vocabulary to discuss the differences and similarities of pitch, rhythm and tempo throughout the different genres. They explore the concept of ‘identity’- the various elements that shape us. Following four British female artists, they discover that music can offer a way to explore and express identity. Then they create their own rap.
Eurovision hosted by Liverpool
Whole School Activities
In Autumn ‘Ready Steady Rock’ visit school to perform. They teach the children about different rock instruments and how they can create different compositions.
Extra Curricular Clubs
In Autumn term the children in Year 3 have the opportunity to attend a recorder club. They learn a number of pieces of music, practice using a beat, learn about different notation and then have a go at composing their own music.
MUSIC REPORT TO GOVERNORS