We recognise the importance of Music as a means of communication, expression, and personal enjoyment. The Music Curriculum encompasses the values, philosophy, and aims of the school to provide a broad, balanced and creative experience which enables each child to fulfill his or her musical potential.
- to foster and support a potentially lifelong enjoyment of music through singing, composing, performing, and listening
- to develop musical skills to the best of each child's ability in order to enable them to play a full part in the musical life of their school and community
The Music Curriculum
The children begin to learn to read and write musical notation from Reception upwards, following the internationally renowned principles of Kodaly and Dalcroze and the use of singing, games and movement to promote a secure grounding ready for a child to begin instrumental tuition. The National Curriculum strands of listening, appraising, performing and composing are linked to class topics when appropriate. We are aware of the benefits that arise when a child in thoroughly involved in music. There are clear links between playing an instrument and improved performance in Maths and Reading. Children gain a real sense of achievement and learn social and team skills as well as understanding the pleasure they bring to themselves and others.
Lessons are available in piano, keyboard, harp, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, French horn, trombone, flute, clarinet, saxophone, junior oboe, mini-bassoon, singing, drum kit, orchestral percussion and guitar. Instrumental tuition usually begins in Year 3, although bright and motivated children from Reception upwards may begin lessons on piano, cello and violin after consultation. Taster lessons are offered to children in Year 2. Approximately 75% of Key Stage 2 children have individual music tuition, either at home or at school. We encourage the regular use of our suite of practise rooms, as we all know that ‘Practice makes perfect!’
Every child from Year 2 until the end of Year 5 learns to play the recorder. The children are regularly assessed and are grouped by ability after the first term. In recorder lessons the musical concepts being studied during class lessons are reinforced. In the Recorder Orchestra children have the opportunity to learn treble, tenor and bass recorders, which they borrow from the school. This allows the children to experience playing in parts with a wider harmonic range.
Every child should have the opportunity to shine, and for many their area of expertise is Music. All children perform in the regular instrumental concerts for their year, and the more talented are given solo slots at the beginning of assemblies and in our termly early evening concerts. Older talented children are given the opportunity to play with Senior School ensembles. There are Monday morning instrumental concerts for each Key Stage 2 class annually, during which children perform to their parents. Children who do not have individual lessons will perform in a group on the recorder. A termly after-school concert enables all Music groups to have something to work towards. It also provides a platform for soloists. Choirs and orchestra perform at Orchard Court and Greathed Manor care homes, and at Lingfield Racecourse. The Festival Choir performs at local music festivals.
There is a weekly Music session for Nursery children. In Reception and Key Stage 1, the children have two Music sessions of 30 minutes. Year 2 start to learn the recorder in one of these sessions. In Key Stage 2 the children have a class lesson of 35 minutes, and they also have a recorder lesson for approximately 30 minutes. Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 also meet separately once a week for singing practise.
Computing is part of the musical experience of all children, composing in Key Stage 1 in the ICT Suite using Activ primary software. From Year 4 they use Sibelius software to notate songs and as they become familiar with the software they may use it to record their own compositions. Recording equipment allows children to listen to their work.
Regular Music Groups
These run all year and include the instrumental groups, and the year group choirs from Year 4 upwards. Players of orchestral instruments may join the relevant group for their instrument as soon as their teacher feels they are able. Children do not have to learn in school to play in these groups. The groups are free of charge and run by music and peripatetic staff. From the orchestral groups children are selected for the orchestra, at about Grade 2 - 3 standard of playing. Membership of the orchestra and Festival Choir is seen as an honour and these children represent the school at Festivals and other prestigious occasions. However, although high standards are strived for at all times, the main aim of these groups is that the children have fun in making music together.
These run in line with the school extra–curricular timetable and children sign up each term. There is a Recorder Group in which children can play the full range of recorders, a choir for the younger children in Year 2 and 3, a Glee Choir, Theory Club and Samba Band. There is also a paid for percussion ensemble for Key Stage 1. Aural training classes are run each term for those children entered into Grade Exams.