Our vision for music at Skyswood Primary and Nursery School;
To enjoy making music together and to understand that we are all musicians.
To enable all children to reach their musical potential, whatever their starting points of ability and experience.
For all children to gain a solid grounding of musical skills and knowledge to equip them to confidently continue their musical journey through secondary school and beyond. We want our children to have the potential to continue or return to the joy of music throughout their lives, in whatever directions their interest take them; performing, creating or listening.
All children at Skyswood have at least one music session each week, and from Year 1 these are taken by our specialist music teacher, Mrs Sarah Salway. The curriculum has been designed to fulfil the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study.
In Year 1, the emphasis is on developing general musicianship skills through singing, games and composition. In Year 2, untuned and then tuned percussion is introduced and the children explore how they can record their music, firstly through graphic scores and then through simple high and low notation.
In Year 3 all of the children learn the recorder. They have a 20 minute session per week in a small mixed-ability group and then the class consolidate their learning in a weekly music session. The aim is to both learn the recorder as an instrument in its own right and to learn transferable skills that children can apply to learning other instruments. Children learn about the importance of correct technique and continued practise. Our approach is holistic; including composing and improvising, playing by ear, ensemble skills and listening to a wide range of music. Stave notation is introduced, and children learn to read the notes that they can play.
In Year 4 the children’s skills are consolidated through topics such as ‘Motifs and Hooks’ (Baby Shark and Beethoven 5) and Pentatonic Scales (Old Macdonald and Born to be Wild). As they further progress through Key stage 2 the children are encouraged to bring their own instruments into lessons, or continue with the recorder. Stave notation is developed further to include reading any note in the treble clef and to understand how each note relates to the previous one (intervallic reading) in order to develop fluency.
Year 5 units include ‘Samba’ and ‘Ukelele and Chord sequences’, and Year 6 units enrich other curriculum areas, such as World War II and music linked to ‘spooky stories.’
Throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 children learn about the inter-related dimensions of music in their listening, performing, and creating. They begin by experiencing these elements, then by naming and discussing them, and then by exploring how these elements can change during a piece of music.
Lessons often begin by listening to a piece of relevant music relevant to a current class topic, with teachers encouraged to play the piece between music lessons. Children are also encouraged to perform solo within lessons; whether this is a piece they are learning outside of school, a song they have learnt in the playground, or a solo using the drum that they experienced in a previous lesson. In addition, older children are invited to play to younger classes and lessons might sometimes include demonstrations from parents or special visitors.
Children also explore music from a wide range of cultures and historical periods. Cross curricular links are made, such as Aboriginal music linking to the Year 1 art unit on Aboriginal art, or Samba music linking to the Year 5 geography unit on Brazil.
Singing is given a particularly high profile in the lead up to Christmas in order to support Nativity plays and carol concerts.
During their time at Skyswood, children learn how to sing and how to play percussion, the recorder and the ukelele. This gives them core skills of vocal, rhythmic, melodic and chordal playing, which will enable them to fully participate in class lessons and extra-curricular music at secondary school and beyond. Their general musicianship skills of pulse, rhythm and pitch, and their understanding of the inter-related dimensions of music are further enhanced through the units of study and opportunities for composition and performance.