Listening to recorded music is an important aspect of every music lesson. Pupils are introduced to a wide range of music, including Early and World Music. At times the music selected may take topics into account, but musical progress is paramount. For a part of Year 6, pupils use computers to improve their understanding of music theory and develop their listening skills. They have chances to compose using the same programme and various internet websites. Throughout Years 4, 5 and 6, children are taught about major composers and significant historical periods in music (eg: baroque). They also learn about music from other cultures.
The music curriculum offers opportunities for performance and pupils are encouraged to present their work with an audience in mind. Other children, who are the audience, are encouraged to listen attentively with consideration for performers. Compositions may be recorded and performed in class, in assembly or as part of other performances for children and parents. Sometimes the children compose music for dance work. Alternating between dancing and playing improves the quality of the music.
Children in all year groups sing weekly for half an hour in Big Sing. This is organised in two sessions, one for the Lower School and one for the Upper School. Songs are sung in unison and in parts and become more challenging in the Upper School. Songs are practised for assembly, concerts and just for fun. Some un-tuned percussion is often used. Children clap and sing back rhythms, and develop their ear for music through the Tonic Solfa Kodaly Hand Signs.
Our children are given as much practical experience of music as possible, backed up by factual, informative teaching. We provide all pupils, particularly the least able, with a supportive atmosphere in which to develop their music skills.
We offer learning opportunities that build on pupils’ previous experiences. Children can link their experiences of composition to those listening to recorded or live music and learn with confidence and curiosity about the music of various ages and origins.
Our pupils see themselves as ‘whole musicians’: composers, performers and informed listeners. Children who already receive more formal instrumental tuition, often from peripatetic staff at school, are happy to improvise and compose using their instrument, or any other instruments.