All that we do at St Joseph’s is shaped by our commitment to our Faith. Our Mission Statement is reflected in our music curriculum when children:
- learn about a variety of musical styles, develop an appreciation of diverse tastes and of cultures.
- develop an appreciation of ourselves and others through our performance skills.
- recognise people who have developed great musical skills, for example in our music recital.
- find ways to express ourselves, spiritually and emotionally, developing our confidence through listening, composition and performance.
- contribute to the spiritual and prayer life of the school, parish and wider community.
Our Vision for Music
We want our children to speak, think and behave like musicians and composers.
At St. Joseph’s, children develop a solid foundational knowledge of music, taught through a series of topic areas. We want them to develop quick and accurate recall of their knowledge and skills and apply these in their performance. We want them to develop their love for music and to have a broad range of music styles they enjoy.
They will acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
In Reception, we build the foundation blocks for future learning. Children learn to tap rhythms to match words; they choose instruments to match an intended emotion, feeling or movement. They learn to keep a steady beat and recognise music has patterns and changes. By the rime they reach year one they will be using pitched instruments to tell a story, through Prokofiev’s Peter and The Wolf. The children in year 2 will learn how to play instruments in time with a beat, and then maintain a part in a round. They learn to play a Glockenspiel to accompany singing and in a round.
Over KS1 and KS2, key concepts and skills are revisited across topics. Over time, children will hone their musical skills in:
- Composition, by learning about the elements that make up music e.g. timbre, dynamics.
- Music appreciation, through listening, analysing and responding to a wide range of musical styles including music from different cultures and music from the past.
- Performance skills, confidently using a variety of instruments, including the voice.
Learning is mostly taught through direct hands-on experience across both key stages using un-tuned and tuned percussion, including recorders and ukuleles in Key Stage 2.
Children develop reading skills using graphic notation in Key Stage 1 and stave notation in Key Stage 2.
The Framework for Learning in music:
How teachers embed knowledge and skills?
Teachers plan regular lessons, which focus on developing the children’s musical skills and knowledge. Often the lesson is new learning, but sometimes it is retrieval practice of previous learning.
We have a designated space for music lessons, the Studio, where the instruments are ready to be used. The band meet once a week in the Studio, as do our choirs. We also have a room specifically reserved for the peripatetic music lessons.
Children have ‘Power Pages’ for music which capture key knowledge into motivating learning challenges for the children. Children demonstrate a high level of engagement with using them.
There is a strong emphasis on participation and performance. We are a singing and performing school and have many events where we celebrate our skills in these areas. Each year group leads an event, such as the nativity, a carol concert, the harvest festival and year six school production.
Children are encouraged to join the school choirs and the band to develop their skills further. Our choirs, which number in excess of 120 children, perform in the community at local festivals and charity events. The band plays regularly for church events.
For some children, they benefit from additional peripatetic music lessons, and we have teachers for piano, violin, flute and guitar, among others.
Many of the staff are musical, with skilled musicians and trained vocalists leading the way with passion.
Achieving Mastery in Music
So, are our children thinking and working like musicians? We are pleased to say that they are.
The teachers know that children are making good progress in their learning, as over time they exhibit increasing competence in their skills and depth in their knowledge.
Listening to the choir in performance mode tells us that singing in the school is of a very high standard.
We open our doors to parents and the wider family whenever we can. An example of this would be the music viva, where any child who plays an instrument plays in front of the school. Another would be the regular guitar demonstration, where the peripatetic teacher leads our many guitarists in a presentation to the school and parents.
Our school performances demonstrate to the community that we are committed to music. They show that we value singing, the ability to play an instrument with competence and that we enjoy these aspects of the curriculum.
There is a strong focus on securing subject specific vocabulary, and children have word banks which they are challenged to read fluently and explain.
In summary, we lead children towards mastery in music.