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Alexandra Primary School

Music

Why is music important?

‘Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity’. (The National Curriculum, 2014)

‘Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever changing world.’ (Government Guidance for Teaching Music in Schools 2021)  

Music has the power to bring communities together through group performance, large group singing and collaborative composition. Music gives pupils the opportunity to explore different ideas, cultures and to express themselves.

At Alexandra, we recognise that music plays an important role in helping children to feel part of our school community as well as a wider musical community.  Participating in musical activities enables children to develop creatively, which in turn  has a positive impact on their curiosity, self-confidence and resilience.  

Rooted in knowledge 

Our music teaching follows the National curriculum and is informed by the Government Guidance for Teaching Music in Schools which was published in 2021. We provide teaching and learning that ensures the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge and skills. In music lessons, pupils learn to listen and analyse different styles of music and describe them using musical vocabulary. As pupils progress through the school, pupils are given the opportunity to learn a wide variety of instruments and musical disciplines including recorders, glockenspiels, Djembe drums, brass instruments, ukuleles, samba drumming, junk percussion and music technology.

How is learning sequenced?

Learning is sequenced using the skills progression document. There are four main skills that we focus on at Alexandra: 

  • listening and critical analysis
  • rhythm, pitch and melody
  • improvisation
  • composition

Listening and critical analysis

EYFS

  • Learning to tap the pulse in time with music

Year 1

  • Learning to find the pulse of the music that they are listening to.
  • Learning to identify some instruments including male and female vocals and drums.

Year 2

  • Learn to identify some musical instruments by sight and sound. (Guitar, Marching drum, Trumpet, Violin, Recorder)
  • Learning to describe sound using correct musical terminology including pitch, tempo, and dynamics.

Year 3

  • Learn to identify a wider range of western instruments and categorise them into instrumental family’s. (Brass, Woodwind, Percussion, Strings, Electronic)
  • Learning to use and understand key musical terminology including pitch, tempo, dynamics, texture and timbre.
  • Pupils will learn to identify some key styles of music including classical, Latin, Rock and funk

Year 4

  • Learn to identify instruments outside of western music, including the djembe drum and clave sticks.
  • Learn to identify more instruments within orchestral families, (year 4 focus on brass instruments)
  • Learning to describe music accurately using descriptive musical terminology including Forte, Piano, Lento, Andante and Allegro
  • Pupils will learn to identify some key styles of music including classical, Latin, Rock, funk West African music, Jazz

Year 5

  • Learn to recognise and identify more instruments outside of western classical music including the ukuleles, and samba percussion instruments.    Building on learning from previous years, learn to identify some styles of music based on the instrumentation. (i.e – Blues – electric guitar)
  • To learn to listen to different musical performances and describe the timbre, rhythm, tempo, dynamics and texture.
  • Pupils will learn to identify some key styles of music including classical, Latin, Rock  funk West African music, Jazz, Samba, Bangra, Blues, Pop, samba, bossa nova

Year 6

 

  • Learn to identify more obscure or homemade musical instruments, including bucket drums and drainpipe instruments
  • Building on knowledge from previous years, pupils will learn to identify and perform on different instruments from the percussion family
  • Building on learning from previous years, pupils learn to identify different jazz styles and the instrumentation used
  • Learn to listen to more complex musical performances, which use unconventional instruments and describe them with correct musical terminology. Learn to listen to ensemble performances and describe the different roles of some of the musicians
  • Pupils will learn to identify some key styles of music including classical, Latin, Rock, funk West African music, Jazz, Samba, Bangra, Blues, Pop, Junk percussion, Bossa Nova

 

Rhythm skills

EYFS

  • Learning to copy basic rhythms by ear

Year 1

  • Learning to find and tap the pulse
  • Learning to copy rhythms by ear
  • Learning to clap own name as a rhythm
  • Learn to clap basic rhythms for others to copy

Year 2

  • Learn to feel the pulse or steady beat
  • Learning to clap rhythms for others to copy
  • Learning to recognise and perform rhythms written on a rhythm grid

Year 3

  • Learn to feel or tap the steady beat and to move or play collectively on the steady beat (stick passing game)
  • Learning to clap a call and response in time with the steady beat
  • Learning to recognise and perform, crotchet, minim and semibreve rhythms
  • Learning to perform rhythms against a steady beat through rhythm grids
  • Learning to play long notes for the correct length
  • Learning to recognise these long note rhythms as notation

Year 4

  • Learn to feel the steady beat alongside crotchet and quaver rhythms
  • Learning to use body percussion to play more complex call and response in time with the steady beat
  • Continuing to learn to perform long notes for the correct length
  • Learning to perform more complex rhythms which include quavers and semiquavers
  • Learning to perform more complex rhythms against a steady beat through rhythm grids
  • Learning to recognise these rhythms written as notation

Year 5

  • Learning to step in time with the steady beat
  • Learning to step in time with the steady beat and clap syncopated rhythms
  • Learning to perform different rhythms in time with the steady beat
  • Learning to keep the steady beat for an ensemble using surdo drums
  • Continuing to Learn to perform rhythms against a steady beat through rhythm grids
  • Continuing to learn to recognise and perform these rhythms when written out as notation

Year 6

  • Continuing to learn to step in time with the steady beat and learn to clap complex rhythms against a pulse
  • Learning to perform multiple complex rhythms in time with a steady beat
  • Learning to perform multiple rhythmic parts together, featuring both longer notes and shorter notes
  • Continue to learn to read and perform rhythmic notation both on a stave and on rhythm grids

 

Pitch, melodic and singing skills

EYFS

  • Learning to sing nursery rhythms

Year 1

  • Learn to sing and rap in time with accurate rhythm

Year 2

  • Learn to identify high pitch and low pitch

Year 3

  • Learn to identify steps up and steps down in pitch
  • Learn to recognize and perform some key intervals including the perfect fifth, major 3rd, minor 3rd and major 2nd
  • Learn to recognise a treble clef, the stave and notes C-G written on the stave
  • Learning to sing short tunes or pitches before performing them on recorder

Year 4

  • Continued learning to recognise movement up or down in pitch. Pupils will start to learn to recognise small steps and big jumps by ear
  • Learn to recognize and perform some key intervals including the perfect fifth, major 3rd, minor 3rd and major 2nd and perfect forth
  • Pupils will continue to learn to read and recognise pitched notes on the treble stave, from C to A
  • Pupils will continue to learn to sing tunes and then pitch them on a brass instrument

Year 5

  • Pupils start to learn to perform chords and develop understanding of harmony
  • Pupils learn the significance of the root, third and fifth when learning about chords
  • Pupils will learn to recognise the difference between major and minor chords
  • Pupils learn the roles of a melody and an accompaniment
  • Pupils start to learn to work out some melodies by ear
  • Pupils continue to learn to recognise pitched notes written on the stave
  • Pupils will learn to perform a melody and accompanying part

Year 6

  • Pupils will expand understanding of chords and harmony to include dominant 7th chords
  • Pupils will learn how to form chords using notes of the major scale
  • Pupils will continue to learn to hear the difference between different chords and include the 7th chord
  • Pupils will continue to learn to work out melodies by ear
  • Pupil will learn to form melody and accompanying parts that include 7th chords

 

Composition and improvisation skills

EYFS

  • Learning to improvise, leading to using instruments

Year 1

  • Learning to improvise rhythms using clapping and other body percussion
  • Learning to compose simple phrases using two notes

Year 2

  • Pupils will learn to compose a simple melody that can used in performance. Most pupils will use F, G and A as their composition notes

Year 3

  • Pupils will learn what the words composition and improvisation mean
  • Pupils will learn to compose short melodic phrases using charanga and a limited range of notes
  • Pupils will learn to improvise rhythms using body percussion
  • Pupils will learn to improvise short melodic phrases using 2 notes on glockenspiels and recorders

Year 4

  • Pupils will learn to improvise their own rhythms on hand percussion instruments
  • Pupils will learn to improvise with two notes in a blues style on both trumpet and glockenspiel
  • Pupils will learn to compose short melodies that can be performed on charanga
  • Pupils will learn to compose rhythm phrases that fit into bars of 4/4
  • Pupils will continue to learn about the pentatonic scale and begin learning to improvise using the blues scale

Year 5

  • Pupils will learn to improvise more complex rhythms using Latin American instruments
  • Pupils will learn to draw on stylistic knowledge to improvise rhythms including the samba, clave and swing rhythms
  • Pupils will learn to improvise in time with a pulse
  • Pupils will learn to improvise melodies on a tuned instrument using a major scale
  • Pupils will learn to compose longer melodic phrases on tuned instruments
  • Pupils will learn to compose a bass part to their melodies

Year 6

  • Pupils will learn to expand their improvisation skills both on tuned and tuned percussion instruments
  • Pupils will learn to improvise their own blues melodies on a ukulele
  • Pupils will learn to improvise in a jazz style with blues and bossa nova backing tracks
  • Pupils will learn to compose their own  pieces using graphic scores and rhythm grids

Music in the Early Years

During the EYFS the essential building blocks of music are established. There are regular opportunities for children to carry out musical activities including singing, listening and call and response. By the end of the EYFS children should be able to:

  • Listen and responding to different styles of music
  • Tap the pulse to music when listening
  • Sing or sing along with nursery rhymes and action songs
  • Improvise leading to playing classroom instruments
  • Share and perform the learning that has taken place

Reception is where we start our integrated approach to musical learning, laying down the foundations for KS1 and KS2 where we learn more about the interrelated dimensions of music (pulse, rhythm, pitch and tempo, dynamics, timbre, structure, texture), singing and playing instruments and that they are all linked.

Overview of learning in KS1 & KS2

Year Group/ Term

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Early Years

Me! (charanga)

Everyone! (charanga)

Big Bear Funk (charanga)

Listening

 

 

 

Year 1

Hey You (charanga)

In the Groove (charanga)

Your Imagination (charanga)

Listening

Rondo alla Turca (Mozart)

Mars from the Planets (Holst)

Samba Fanfarra (Cabuca-Le-Le) Sergio Mendes/Carlinhos Brown

Wild Man (Kate Bush)

Runaway Blues (Ma Rainey)

Year 2

Hands feet and Heart (charanga)

I wanna Play in a Band (charanga)

Reflect, Rewind, Replay (charanga)

Listening

O Euchari (Hildegard)

Bolero (Ravel)

 

Hound Dog (Elvis Preseley)

With a Little Help from My Friends (The Beatles)

Year 3

Recorders/notation reading

Recorders/Notation reading

Continued Recorders/Notation reading

Listening

Hallelujah From the Messiah (Handel)

In the Hall of the Mountain King (Greig)

 

Four Seasons (Vivaldi)

Night on a Bare Mountain (Mussorgsky)

Indian Classical Sahela Re (Kishori Amonkar)

Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire (A.R.Rahman)

I got You (James Brown)

Le Freak (Chic)

Year 4

African Drumming

Brass Instruments/notation reading

Tuned percussion/Notation reading

Listening

Symphony No1 Juba dance (Price)

Drumming Jin-Go-La-Ba (Drums of Passion) Babatunde Olatunji

Calypso Tropical Bird (Trinidad Steel Band)

Bhangra Bhabiye Akh Larr Gayee (Bhujhangy Group)

Take the A Train (Billy Strayhord/Duke Ellington orchestra)

Symphony No5 (Beethoven)

For the Beauty of the Earth (Rutter)

 

Night Ferry (Anna Clyne)

Wonderwall (Oasis)

Hungarian Dance No5 (Brahms)

Year 5

Ukuleles/chords

Samba drumming

Tuned percussion/basslines and harmony

Listening

Play Dead (Bjork)

Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat)

3 Little Birds (Bob Marley)

This Little Babe (Britten)

Mambo (Bernstein)

Symphonic Variations on an African Air (Coleridge-Taylor)

Rio Samba Bands

Gamelan Baris (Gong Kebyar of Peliatan)

English Folk Song Suite (Vaughan Williams)

Choral Inkanyezi Nezazi (Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

Year 6

Bucket Drumming/junk percussion

Tuned percussion/Carl Orff Gassenhaure

Ukuleles/Music tech and song writing

Listening

Connect It (Anna Meredith)

Warriors of Sound

Tango Libertango

1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky)

Music for 18 Musicians (Steve Reich)

Gassenhaure (Carl Orff)

Folk Mazurkas Op.24 (Chopin)

Say my Name (Destiny’s Child)

Let it Be (Beatles)

With a Little Help from my Friends (Beatles)

Folk Sea Shanties (various)

Assessment and Monitoring

In Music, teachers assess children’s progress by making observations during lessons and discussions and by listening to group and individual performances. 

Assessment is used to inform future lessons, ensuring children are supported and challenged appropriately.  Due to the practical nature of music, evidence of tasks undertaken by children can be in the form of recorded performances as well as written assessments on musical vocabulary and musical analysis..  At the end of a unit, children review their own performances, focusing on an evaluation of the final performance and identify areas of strength and next steps towards improvement.

Our school values of excellence, nurture, community and exploration are at the core of our teaching and learning.