“Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (American poet)
At St Joseph’s, we aim to provide a high quality curriculum to engage and inspire a life long love and appreciation of music as a musician. Every child has opportunities throughout their school life to participate in singing, playing, composing, listening to and appraising a wide range of styles of music, instruments, and composers from a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, in order to gain a varied and engaging experience and understanding of music, increase in confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
Music is delivered each week from Nursery to Year 6 by the Music Specialist teacher. Long term plans ensure progression of knowledge and skills across all strands of the Music curriculum both throughout the year and across the school.
Singing is central to our Music curriculum and is woven throughout all units of work. The EYFS and Key Stage 1 curriculum is heavily influenced by the Kodaly method of learning musicianship through singing which builds a very solid base in the key skills of pulse, rhythm, pitch and focused listening. In Key Stage 2 children also learn through whole class instrumental work.
All children perform at the annual Summer Concert and most children will take part in other performances either with extra-curricular ensembles or as part of class performances both in and outside of school. Performances as a result of curriculum Music lessons range from a class assembly to the rest of the school to a class taking part in a large scale performance for members of the public at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall or St John Smith Square.
The Music curriculum is enhanced as appropriate by visits from external organisations (recently including The Bach Choir, ABRSM Classical 100 team, Tri-Borough Music Hub) and trips out of school for concerts at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Royal College of Music and Cadogan Hall.
There are around 70 children engaged in extra-curricular instrumental lessons and they are encouraged to use their instruments in curriculum Music lessons as appropriate.
Children are informally assessed continually so that teaching can be adapted to meet children’s needs both for additional support and for additional challenge. In Key Stage 2 in particular, children are encouraged to monitor their progress against a set of skills throughout a project so they can identify what they need to next.
Where appropriate, children may be shown a video of a previous year group in order to motivate and inspire. Summative assessments are filmed or audio recorded and children engage in both peer and self assessment. These recordings demonstrate progression of skills over time across all areas of the Music curriculum.
The continuity of being taught by the Music Specialist from Nursery to Year 6 means that the children’s previous experiences, strengths, and weaknesses are well known and that planning takes in to account a child’s experiences across a number of years. For the appropriate children, this will also include supporting preparation for Music tests for secondary school applications and for instrumental exams.
The impact of the Music Specialist’s teaching can also be seen by the very high take-up of extra-curricular ensembles and instrumental lessons.