Knowledge-Rich, Diversity-Led Curriculum
‘Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.’ - Miles Davis (jazz trumpeter and composer)
Music is highly valued at Stoneydown. We aim to give children opportunities to experience music as a fundamental part of the curriculum, developing skills that will enable them to be active and creative musicians. Our music curriculum is designed to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
Music is interwoven through class projects and assemblies with very tangible results. Children are introduced to a range of music from different times and cultures. Parents and visitors are welcome to attend our weekly singing assemblies, led by our specialist music teacher, as well as other special assemblies and concerts to witness for themselves the spirit, creativity and skill of our pupils. The categories of musical learning we use to address what is required in the National Curriculum are as follows:
Coordination: always bringing at least two practices or concepts together at once. For example, listening (to the ensemble) and playing; playing a tune and counting the beat; reading notation and playing an instrument. This is the core of what is interrelated in music, and developing musicianship through coordinated action is a deep level skill at the heart of all music making.
Ensemble: Everything played or sung is related to both the musician and what is happening in the group. In other words, your sound becomes our sound. Developing practices of good ensemble engages skills of coordination, listening, understanding and practical instrumental skills.
Notation: This skill takes decoding of what is required to play during the ‘now’ and also sets up what is to be played in the future. Notation ranges from a process of decoding to an understanding of the form of which that notation describes. The challenges of coordination include decoding at the same time as playing in ensemble, and memorisation of what is to be played while playing current material.
Improvisation/composition: Improvisation is a deep-level coordination between an understanding of what is happening at the moment ‘now’ in the ensemble, and projecting into the future how that will develop, given what has already happened. Composition establishes an a priori plan for what will happen, thereby putting form at stake. Both cases explore the flow of sound in time although they ask different questions of how to structure it.
Listening: The traditions of music covered demonstrate differing approaches to the organisation of sound into time (form). These have been explored in both improvisation and composition in the students’ own work. Their listening journey will be a way of understanding how others have addressed similar and different issues in traditions of music making.
Children enjoy listening to and making music at Stoneydown. Whilst in school, they have access to a varied programme, which allows them to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a student may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music also serves to develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to students individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music, in as many ways as they choose- either as listener, creator or performer. They can dissect music and comprehend its parts. They can sing and feel a pulse. They have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives.
Our purpose-designed music room with professional acoustic treatment enables pupils to make quality recordings of their work which supports their evaluation and critiquing skills as well as their use of technology.
At Stoneydown children have the opportunity to play different musical instruments throughout the curriculum in a mixed ensemble setting. From reception onwards pupils learn together on chime bars, xylophones, African drums, drum kit, keyboards, guitars, and assorted small percussion instruments. One-to-one drums, keyboard and guitar lessons are also offered to children by our specialist music teacher.Our KS1 and KS2 choirs meet weekly to learn a range of songs. Throughout the year they have opportunities to perform to a variety of different audiences including the school community, parents at celebration assemblies and festivals and residents at care homes. Children are able to access private tuition within the school to learn the guitar, piano and violin.
Click here to see the National Curriculum Music Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2.