At Princess May, it is our intent that we make music an enjoyable learning experience. 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.
Music is an integral and well-resourced part of life at Princess May. We want the music lessons to be fun and inspiring, engaging the children with songs, lyrics, and movement. We want the children to feel able and reflective and expressive, developing their own appreciation of music with the opportunities we provide as a school. All children are actively encouraged and given the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument, from standard classroom instruments to individual instrumental lessons with the visiting peripatetic staff.
Music is planned in-line with the statements laid out in the National Curriculum. Music is planned with our own students in mind and is tailored to the specific needs of our children here. Through our music lessons, children are actively involved in a wide range of musical opportunities. Children develop their singing voices, using body percussion and whole-body actions, and learning to handle and play classroom instruments effectively to create and express their own and others’ music. Through a range of whole class, group and individual activities, children have opportunities to explore sounds, listen actively, compose, and perform.
We follow a scheme of work which offers a topic-based approach to support children’s learning in music. A steady progression plan has been built into the scheme, both within each year and from one year to the next, ensuring consistent musical development. By using this scheme of work, we can ensure that they are fulfilling the aims for musical learning stated in the National Curriculum.
Our scheme includes many examples of music styles and genres from different times and places. We are particularly careful to include a balanced variety of genres from around the world. Throughout Key Stage 2, for example, we study music from Ghana, Brazil, USA, Nigeria, Bali, UK, and Ireland. These are explored through the language of music via active listening, performing, and composing activities, which enable understanding of the context and genre. Our scheme provides a classroom-based and inclusive approach to music learning. Throughout the scheme, children are actively involved in using and developing their singing voices, using body percussion and whole-body actions, and learning to handle and play classroom instruments effectively to create and express their own and others’ music. Through a range of whole class, group and individual activities, children have opportunities to explore sounds, listen actively, compose, and perform.
Our Music Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We believe that when children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we regularly review children’s work, in accordance with our Music assessment policy to ensure that progression of skills is taking place through the following methods:
Listening to children sing and play instruments in groups and individually at set times over the year to ensure they are making progress and improving vocal skills.
Observing how they perform in lessons.
Talking to them about what they know.
Regular performance opportunities within and out of the classroom.
The Music Curriculum will contribute to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement, and self-reflection. This would be seen in them being able to talk confidently about their work and perform confidently in front of and with others. Progress will be shown through outcomes and through the important record of the process leading to them.
Each year a number of trips take place organised by the music department which will give students a valuable experience of life within Hackney, London, and the wider world. One example of this is in June, we take part in the Tower of London Music Festival in which children from around the country come to sing together. Children are taught about the importance of the Tower in History and are encouraged to make friends and links with children from other cities and cultures than their own. On a daily basis the music lessons at Princess May deliver a rich and varied curriculum aiming to give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life. We are careful to ensure that the topics give children an insight into music from around the world and through the ages. We benefit from a close link with the Hackney Music service who provide us with resources, performance opportunities and links with other schools and cultures. All children at Princess May have access to take part in extra-curricular music clubs and activities. If a child wants to learn an instrument, they can take part in the Instrumental Lesson Programme. If they wish to sing, they can take part in the choir and the djembe ensemble is open to all in KS2.