Music education at St James’s C.E. Primary School encompasses many different forms, each of which gives the children knowledge and understanding of the subject in order to become more competent, confident and motivated in musical exploration and performance. Music is so much a part of the children’s lives, that they often do not notice it. From ‘Music of the week’ in assembly where children learn to appreciate a variety of composers and performers to songs used to tidy up or change for P.E. lessons, music is everywhere at our school. Singing is a big part of assemblies and acts of daily worship and children learn a variety of both religious and secular songs to sing together. This bolsters confidence and allows children to attain a sense of achievement when working as a collective. Singing aids language development and self-confidence in a non-threatening, friendly environment. Children also have the opportunity to join our extra-curricular choir who participate in some very exciting events such as Young Voices, 3 Counties Show and many other fantastic opportunities. In addition, all children participate in class and whole key stage performances at class assemblies, Christmas events and other key times of the school year.
The curriculum is designed to not only build awareness but also to raise aspirations and open the children up to not only the potential of music in their lives as a way of enjoyment, and also as a valid career or hobby that they may wish to pursue in the future. ‘Charanga’ programmes of study support teachers’ subject knowledge and confidence with planning, delivery and assessment of teaching of music. Through a well sequenced curriculum, children learn to read musical notation and perform on both tuned and untuned instruments. All children are taught to play the recorder and xylophone in the hope that this will inspire some children to participate in peripatetic lessons and continue with music as either a purposeful and creative hobby or a potential career possibility. Children use their musical knowledge and skills to compose their own music, write musical notation and perform their compositions to an audience.
Our music curriculum is designed to be progressive and cumulative, allowing children to not only revisit previously skills as they progress through the school, but also to improve upon them and feel a sense of achievement as they do so. As the children move through the school, so their lessons change and adapt to reflect their growth. Skills based work extends into exploration of world music, which in turn develops their ear for melody and rhythm, thereby giving them confidence to begin analysing music they hear with the correct language and terms. This approach allows children to feel a sense of success are built into the lessons ensuring that all can take part.
Our music curriculum focuses on progression of knowledge and skills in different musical components and discrete teaching of vocabulary. Pupils evaluate their own progress and success as well as teachers making careful observations of pupils’ confidence in discussion and participation in music lessons, assessing against the National Curriculum expectations. The success of our music curriculum is also demonstrated through pupil voice and participation in extra-curricular opportunities and individual lessons to learn a musical instrument. Conversations about musicians and composers that children have been exposed to are part of everyday life at St James’s.