St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Music

Intent

“Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (American poet)

At St Joseph’s, we provide a high quality curriculum across the whole school 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. At St Joseph's, every child (and adult) is a musician.

Implementation

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 tuned instrumental work.

The Music curriculum is not a rigid document, it hangs on the progression of skills and retains key features such as the Kodaly method, whole class recorder in Year 3, ukuleles in Year 5 and samba in Year 6 whilst allowing room for response to opportunities that arise, class's interests etc. 

The progression of skill document remains concrete and has been devised based on a number of documents: the EYFS documents Development Matters, Musical Development Matters In The Early Years, Early Learning Goals, Kodaly statements (Jolly Music), and the National Curriculum for Music. This skills document was reviewed in response to the Model Music Curriculum to ensure at least an equal level of challenge was required. 

All children from EYFS to Year 6 perform at the annual Summer Concert, all EYFS and Key Stage 1 children perform in our annual nativities, and almost all Key Stage 2 children will take part in additional 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 performing to the rest of the school to taking part in a large scale performance for members of the public at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, St John Smith Square and Westminster Cathedral.

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. We work closely with the Tri-Borough Music Hub and make extensive use of their opportunities for our children including annual performances such as the Christmas Festival, Infant Voices, and instrumental playing days as well as one off opportunities such as being the launch school for the relaunch of the ABRSM's Classical 100 resource. We are looking forward to performing at the Royal Albert Hall with the Tri-Borough Music Hub in 2023 in a large scale performing entitled Music Makes Me. We are also looking forward to visiting the Royal College of Music (Years 3&4 - Black History week: Cuban Connections) and English National Opera (Years 5&6 - opera experience: It's A Wonderful Life) as audience members in the Autumn term. 

We feel very strongly that all children should have the opportunity to progress their interests and potential and the Music Specialist is able to signpost those children for whom music is a particular potential career interest. Past students have performed in the touring version of School of Rock and we are extremely proud to have been chosen to provide the children's chorus for English National Opera's production of Bizet's Carmen in 2023 at the London Coliseum which will feature 20 of our Year 5 and 6 children whilst providing all of the children in the two classes with workshops. This will also provide children with an eye in to the professional music world and the roles behind the scenes at an Opera company.

These opportunities outside of the classroom feed back in to the classroom and influence curriculum activities and expectations.

A new venture for 2022-23 is the creation of a student Arts forum consisting of children in Key Stage 2 to represent their peer's views and to promote the Arts.

In response to the National Plan for Music Education, our annual Music action plan is being enlargened in to a Music Development Plan which will be in place by 2023/24 as per the National Plan's timeline. There are already firm links in place with other schools in our new Multi-Academy Trust, and joint performances have taken place at Westminster Cathedral and our local church, St Mary's.

Impact

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 their next step.

Where appropriate, children may be shown a video or audio recording 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 aptitude 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. We have a Year 3&4 choir and a Year 5&6 choir which both rehearse during the school day and almost all children in these classes attend. Our orchestra includes children who have instrumental lessons outside of school as well as inside school. This year a new recorder consort has been formed to provide further learning for all children in Key Stage 2 following on from their curriculum recorder lessons in Year 3.

There are over 70 children engaged in extra-curricular instrumental lessons (piano, violin, guitar, drum kit, flute, clarinet, mini bassoon and saxophone) and they are encouraged to use their instruments in curriculum Music lessons as appropriate. 

We signpost families to external opportunities eg with the Tri-Borough Music Hub, and as a result have several children receiving long term free cello and violin lessons at the Royal College of Music.

Music Knowledge and Skills Progression

Music Curriculum Overview