Mrs Sarah Salway leads our music throughout the school. Alongside the delivery of class lessons, our children often perform in special assemblies and events within our community.  Mrs Salway supported the school through organising choirs, Year 3 recorder groups,  and helping us with our Christmas shows (on a voluntary basis), before taking up the post of music teacher for Key Stages 1 and 2 in September 2018.

The school have performed on a number of occasions at the Royal Albert Hall (The Hertfordshire Schools Music Gala).   Skyswood also take part in the wonderful Abbey Christmas concert at St Albans Cathedral, and the St Albans Schools Music Festival, held annually at the Alban Arena.

There is a wealth of peripatetic tuition available at Skyswood Primary School. Children may choose to take piano, guitar, flute, clarinet or violin lessons. We are fortunate to have such a talented and devoted group of peripatetic teachers. 

Our curriculum has been reviewed in the light of the revised national curriculum,  incorporating an even deeper understanding of the history of music and the teaching of musical notation to  KS2 children. The new national curriculum sets out the following statements:



Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity

and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.


The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

– perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.

– learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.

– understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.


By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.


Key Stage 1

Pupils should be taught to:

– use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes.

– play tuned and unturned instruments musically.

– listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high quality live and recorded music.

– experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory.

Pupils should be taught to:

– play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.

– improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music.

– listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.

– use and understand staff and other musical notations.

– appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.

– develop an understanding of the history of music


Music is linked to class topics..Activities include singing games, moving to music, action songs and rhymes, singing familiar songs and  exploring the instruments. 

We use Music Express as a basic scheme of work in KS1 and KS2.Skills introduced in year 1  are developed in year 2. Skills introduced in year 3, are developed in year 4. Units for upper KS2 are taught over the two years. A brief outline of each topic taught is listed below. In addition, where possible,  music is linked to class topics-e.g. rivers in year 3, Tudors in year 5, World War 2 in year 6.

Key Stage 1

Exploring Sounds

The children’s will make a variety of sounds with their voices, bodies and instruments and explore how these sounds can be changed and used expressively in response to a  stimulus. They use this knowledge to select sounds that reflect the mood of chants and songs. They will create  a class performance that uses sounds to heighten the effect of a chosen story. Eg-Teddy’s autumn sound walk, Michael the milkman.

Exploring Duration.

This unit develops the children’s ability to discriminate between longer and shorter sounds and to use them to create interesting sequences of sound. They work in pairs to compose and perform long/short sound sequences. They are introduced to notation and record their sequences using graphic symbols.

 Exploring Pulse and Rhythm

This unit develops the children’s ability to recognise the difference between pulse and rhythm and to perform with a sense of the pulse.

 Exploring Pitch

This unit develops the children’s ability to discriminate between higher and lower sounds and to create simple melodic patterns. They learn to control the pitch of their voices and learn about pitched instruments. They learn that pitch can move in steps and leaps. They use changes in pitch to accompany stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk.

 Exploring Instruments and Symbols

This unit develops the children’s ability to recognise different ways sounds are made and changed and to name and know how to play a variety of classroom instruments. The children are taught how to represent sound with symbols-the first stage of learning notation.

 Exploring Timbre, Tempo and Dynamics

This unit develops the children’s ability to recognise how sounds and instruments can be used expressively and combined to create music in response to a stimulus-eg machines, weather. They develop their understanding of graphic notation.

 Year 3 and 4

  Animal Magic 

This unit develops the children’s ability to create, perform and analyse short descriptive compositions that combine sounds, movements and words. The children learn that sounds can be used descriptively. They create an imaginary animal and compose music to describe it  using  the inter-related dimensions of music.

Exploring Rhythmic Patterns

This unit develops the children’s ability to create simple rhythm patterns and perform them rhythmically, using notation as a support. They are introduced to repeated patterns (ostinato). They are taught to recognise crotchets, minims and seminbreves.

The Class Orchestra

This unit develops the children’s ability to create, combine and perform rhythmic and melodic material as part of a class performance of a song. 

Pentatonic Scales

This unit develops the children’s ability to recognise and use pentatonic scales and create short melodies and accompaniments. This is linked to Chinese New Year where possible.

Painting with Sound

The children learn how sounds can be used expressively and they explore how sounds can describe moods stimulated by pictures and words. They create compositions in own version of Pictures at an Exhibition (year 4), River compositions based on Vltava (fits in with year 3 topic of Rivers). The children apply their knowledge of the inter-related dimensions of music to their compositions and develop their performance skilss..

Exploring Singing Games

This unit develops children’s ability to recognise and explore some characteristics of playground games. It consolidates their sense of pulse, pitch and ability to perform with others.

The units will be introduced in year 3 and consolidated and developed in year 4, 

Year 5 and 6

Cyclic patterns

This unit develops children’s ability to perform rhythmic and melodic patterns confidently with a strong sense of pulse. Basic drumming techniques are taught, using the class set of Djembe drums. The children will learn how to invent and improvise simple rhythmic patterns. They will identify rhythmic patterns in a variety of world music-eg Gamelan, Maori music

 Exploring Rounds

This unit develops children’s ability to sing and play music in two or more parts. They will explore the effect of combining pitched notes (harmony) and discover that some notes are comfortable (concord) and some notes are uncomfortable (discords).They sing rounds in 2/3/4 parts and make simple melodic ostinato accompaniments. They learn about drones. They will compose simple rounds in groups.

 Exploring Sound Sources (space)

The children will explore a wide range of sound sources (voice, instruments, sound makers from home, and the computer) to capture, change and communicate sounds. They will use Sequel to compose a space soundscape.

 Exploring Lyrics and Melody-The Blues

This unit develops children’s ability to compose a song with an awareness of the relationship between lyrics and melody. They learn how the different functions of lyrics in conveying mood, attitude or telling a story. They learn about the cultural significance of lyrics.They learn about the history of the Blues, the 12 bar Blues chord sequence and compose their own simple Blues songs.

Performing Together

This unit develops and demonstrate children’s ability to take part in a class performance with confidence, expression and control. This unit is not taught

separately but is covered by the Christmas plays, the Music Association concerts (year 4 and 5)  and the concert at the Albert Hall.(Junior Choir)

 Exploring Musical Processes

This unit provides an opportunity for children to develop and demonstrate the musical knowledge, skills, and understanding achieved in years 5 and 6.They will learn about the processes used by composers, from a given starting point to end performance. They will compose their own music in groups using various starting points as a stimulus.

Music History-Years 3,4,5 and 6

The first lesson of each half term will be spent looking in depth at a particular piece of music and learning about the life of the composer. We will study music from the following periods and include world music.

Autumn 1 Early Music and Medieval -music (900-1450)

Autumn 2- Renaissance music (1450-1600)

Spring 1-Baroque-(1600-1750)

Spring 2-Classical-(1750-1825)

Summer 1-Romantic (1825-1900)

Summer 2 –Modern music c20 onwards 


Notation-years 3,4,5,6


In KS2 each year group will study a unit on musical notation. The work will build on the previous year’s skills so that by the end of year 6 the children will

*  know that music is writing on a musical ladder called a stave or staff.

* know that the stave has 5 lines and 4 spaces

* know the names of the 4 spaces  F A C E

* know that a crotchet is a one beat note

* recognise how the  line notes are written in the stave

*  be able to play these line notes on tuned instruments

*  know that a minim is a 2 beat note

*  know that a semibreve is a 4 beat note

*  know the names of middle C , Middle D and high G

*  know that a quaver is a half beat note

*  understand that beats can be grouped into 2s, 3s, and 4s

* indentify and understand bars and bar-lines

*  be able to play simple 1 /2 chord accompaniments from notation

*  recognise and play sharps and flats

*  be able to play 3 chord accompaniments

*  write simple tunes and notate them.

*  play/sing  simple tunes from notation