Music education can help spark a child’s imagination or ignite a lifetime of passion. When you provide a child with new worlds to explore and challenges to tackle, the possibilities are endless. Music education should not be a privilege for a lucky few, it should be a part of every child’s world of possibility. (Hillary Rodham Clinton)
We believe that the quote above underlines the importance of music both to unlock our children’s creative potential and to give them an appreciation of music which will stay with them for their whole lives. We want all children to experience a wide range of music and to have opportunities to work creatively to explore their own musical expression.
Our Music consultant is called Dr Liz Stafford who is working in partnership with us using her considerable wealth of experience across the music education sector. She is Director of the global music education consultancy company Music Education Solutions® and Editor of Primary Music Magazine. Please see this link for further information.
Our Music Curriculum
We want Music to:
- Encourage children to feel that they are musical
- Help them to develop their creativity and confidence
- Enable them to work independently and as part of a team
- Improve their mental wellbeing and help them express themselves
Through the study of Music, children combine the learning of practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, cultural and historical contexts. This allows them both to make music themselves and to experience music made by others. We also want pupils to learn about a wide range of different musical styles from all around the world, about key musical vocabulary, and (in KS2) how to read music.
What does teaching and learning look like?
In Foundation Stage, we establish fundamental musical skills such as moving to and counting the beat, and performing in time and in tune. This gives us a strong foundation to work on further up the school, but also allows us to spend time developing children’s confidence to perform and share ideas. The teaching approach taken at this stage embeds the idea that music is for everybody.
In our EYFS/Y1 provision, all children have access to a range of both percussion and tuned instruments throughout the day to explore and use in their own way. There are also dedicated weekly music sessions following plans that have been written with our children and context in mind. Children regularly sing throughout the week. EYFS/Y1 also join the rest of the school for weekly singing practices.
Having explored many different teaching schemes and resources we felt that we wanted to take a bespoke approach here at Fairburn, and since 2022 have been working with Dr Liz Stafford, our consultant, to devise a curriculum which reflects best practice in music education as well as our own school values and ethos.
The music curriculum at Fairburn takes an holistic, approach to the development of skill across the areas of performing, composing, and listening. It at least teaches all aspects of the National Curriculum but encompasses much more. Each half-termly music unit contains all three skill areas, which research tells us has a significant impact on progress when compared to teaching all three skills separately. At KS2, music notation and the history of music are also interwoven into each skill area, following the guidance within the National Curriculum for Music.
Our curriculum is a spiral curriculum which means that year on year, the same term-long topics return at greater levels of depth and complexity, to allow for the incremental development of musical skill and artistry. Our topics are:
- Musical Movement (Pitch, Rhythm and Tempo)
- Musical Expression (Dynamics, Timbre, Texture)
- Musical Organisation (Structure, Notation)
In order to ensure breadth of learning and increase our pupils’ cultural capital, a set of carefully chosen musical categories has been devised, covering different types of music from all over the world:
- Global folk and traditional music
- Western Classical music
- Global film music
- Global dance music
- Western popular music
Each half term unit focuses on an example drawn from one of these musical categories which links to that term’s topic. For example in Year 2⁄3 The Musical Movement (Pitch, Rhythm and Tempo) topic is delivered through half-termly units on the global dance music style of Samba, and the western popular music style of Rock and Roll, as these styles offer opportunities to demonstrate certain aspects of pitch, rhythm and tempo in context. There is flexibility within the curriculum to switch the individual styles of music studied to suit the children’s preferences, as long as the overall musical category remains the same.
See the documents available for download at the bottom of this page for further information.
It is incredible important that all pupils within our school have equal opportunities. Children who may need support in music will be given this through additional help from an adult or have the activity simplified so that they can access it at their own level. They will work towards the same or similar outcome as their peers where possible but have smaller steps in place.
What do children think about Music teaching and learning in our school?
“I like finding about new instruments and ones I’ve never heard of before”.
“I love it that we can showcase our learning in assemblies”.
“I like experimenting with tunes and sounds on the App and on instruments”.
Whilst the curriculum is at the heart of our musical offer here at Fairburn, we also provide many other musical opportunities for our children throughout the year.
Weekly Singing Assemblies
Our whole school, Christmas Play where as well as singing, children often play carols too.
Singing at our Christmas Light Switch on for the village
Singing carols to the Third Generation based in the village
Remembrance- singing for the village service
Whole school singing lessons led by an NYCC specialist for a term a year.
Weekly music lessons led by NYCC Peripatetic teachers- currently Guitar and Piano
Bringing musicians into school so children can hear live music
What do the children think of music in our school?
“Music is a very fun lesson. We usually get the instruments out and make our own tunes or we use the laptops. We study a musician or a composer. We are taught various different things such as the names of different parts of music (texture, dynamics or timbre). There are different types of music such as Polyphony (a type of music texture with more than one melody), Homophony (a religious piece of composed music). Those are just a few. We often work in groups or partners to compose our own pieces of music”.