At Heather Garth, 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. Music is a unique way of communicating, it is a vehicle for personal expression, and it can play an important part in personal and cognitive development.
Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to understand rhythm and follow a beat as there is strong evidence for the positive impact of this on mathematical ability. Children also develop descriptive language skills in music lessons, when learning about how music can represent different feelings, emotions and narratives. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We teach them to listen and to appreciate different forms of music. We also teach technical vocabulary such as volume, pitch, beat and rhythm and encourage children to discuss music using these terms.
Our objective at Heather Garth is to develop 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 wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We aim to engage, motivate and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians.
Our music curriculum ensures pupils sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as the weekly singing assemblies, various seasonal concerts and performances and after school clubs. The elements of music are taught in classroom lessons so that children are able to use the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. At Heather Garth we recognise that achieving mastery in Music means gaining both a deeper understanding of musical skills and concepts whilst also learning something new. The progression document ensures the curriculum is covered and the skills, knowledge and vocabulary taught are progressive from year group to year group.
In the classroom pupils learn from a young age about pulse and rhythm through games, movement and other activities, as well as singing a variety of songs. They learn how to play musical instruments correctly and with control, from percussion in KS1, to tuned instruments such as recorders in KS2. In doing so, they build on their understanding of rhythm and how to read basic music notation as well as the principle of creating notes. Children are encouraged to experiment with their own music making through graphic scores and simple picture notations or rhythm patterns. They also learn how to compose focusing on different dimensions of music, which in turn feeds their understanding when listening, playing, or analysing music. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.
To support teachers in the delivery of music the Charanga scheme of work is used from Year 1 - 6 to ensure a wide exposure to different genres of music, with lots of practical opportunities to explore and develop as musicians and singers. Teachers tailor the units and use the ‘freestyle’ element of the package to provide thematic, cross curricular lessons that also follow children’s interests. Music lessons are broken down into half-termly units and flexibility is provided to enable teachers to link with other subjects and follow pupil’s current interests. An emphasis is placed on musical vocabulary, allowing children to talk about pieces of music using the correct terminology.
We are also developing good links with Barnsley Music Service and enjoy welcoming musicians and singers into school to deliver workshops. This also encourages children to take part in out-of-school musical activities in our local community such as Barnsley Youth Choir.
Music is monitored by the music subject lead regularly to ensure intended outcomes are successfully achieved. Children are encouraged to showcase their abilities regularly in assemblies to their peers, at parent events or at seasonal performances. Whilst in school, children have access to a varied programme, which allows students to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a student may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music will also develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to students individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music, in as many ways as they choose- either as listener, creator or performer. They can dissect music and comprehend its parts. They can sing and feel a pulse. They have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives. There is also evidence to suggest the positive impact of music on mathematical ability:
“Maths and music are intimately related. Not necessarily on a conscious level, but sure” (Stephen Sondheim)