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Music - Subject Leader: Mr Mitch Warrender

Intent Why do we teach this? Why do we teach it in the way we do?

The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all children:

  • Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
  • Be taught to sing, create and compose music
  • Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated

At St Mark’s, we believe music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. As children progress, they should gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing through a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum, ensuring the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge and skills. Children will do this across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. We are committed to developing a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music. In the classroom students also learn how to play an instrument - the clarinet in Year 4. In doing so, children understand the different principles of each method of creating notes, as well as how to read basic music notation. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and can use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.

Our intentions in music are for children to:

  • Leave Cold ash St Mark’s School with a wide range of happy and rich memories in Music
  • Use music as an outlet for the expression of feelings and ideas
  • Develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement
  • Express judgements and personal preferences about the quality and style of music
  • Develop an awareness of their own abilities and strengths as a learner; thus ensuring that children see learning in music as an ongoing process, not a one-off event
  • Learn to play a musical instrument and have some ability to read music, increasing their understanding of rhythmic and melodic notation.
  • Experience learning beyond the classroom, enriching their knowledge such as attending performances by professional musicians and participating in school productions, performances and concerts.
  • Develop self-confidence and teamwork skills through performance
  • Sing and use their voices to create different effects
  • Create and compose music, both on their own and with others
  • Learn about the structure and organisation of music
  • Listen to, review and evaluate a range of music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including contemporary music and the works of the great composers and musicians
  • Use subject specific vocabulary relating to the musical elements learned; instrumentation, metre, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo, texture, structure and melody. 
  • Meet the National Curriculum expectations in music

Curriculum Overview

What do we teach? What does this look like?

Our music curriculum ensures children sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom through a structured music programme provided by Music Express, in addition to weekly singing assemblies, visits by musicians, concerts, productions, performances, musical clubs and teaching from specialist music teachers.

The order of the Music Express suggested Scheme of Work has been rearranged in each year group to maximise cross-curricular links.

The elements of music are taught in the classroom lessons so that children can use some of the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. In the classroom, children learn key aspects of music through cross-curricular links. They also learn how to compose, focusing on different dimensions of music, which in turn feeds their understanding when listening, playing, or analysing music. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.

Within the EYFS setting, music is an integral part of children’s learning journey. Rhyme and rhythm are utilised throughout the learning of phonics, handwriting and mathematics. Children learn a wide range of songs and rhymes and develop skills for performing together. Singing and music making opportunities are used frequently to embed learning, develop musical awareness and to demonstrate how music can be used to express feelings.


Progression of Skills

Our music Curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression whilst building on and embedding current skills. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills in the different musical components and teaching of vocabulary also forms part of the units of work.


The integral nature of music and the learner also creates an enormously rich palette from which a child will develop fundamental abilities, such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. If children are achieving the knowledge and skills in lessons, then they are deemed to be making good or better progress. Teachers assess skills, knowledge and progress after each unit of work and this is reported to subsequent teachers and to parents.

Performance and Participation in Music beyond the Classroom

During the year, in addition to classroom-based music, EYFS and KS1 children learn to sing songs for their Christmas Production and Years 4 – 6 learn to sing songs for their end of year summer production. As a school we also offer instrumental teaching to one year group each year (historically clarinets in year 4), put on a summer music concert, sing a range of songs and hymns in Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas, Easter and Leavers church services and provide opportunities to perform in the community i.e. annual carol singing at Holly Grange Care Home and at Community Lunch in the local village hall. Parents are invited and welcomed to watch many of these performances whether at school or outside of school.

At Cold Ash St Mark’s, we also recognise that staff have musical abilities that can be utilised to supplement our musical curriculum. Pupils can join the school choir and/or the school samba band. Both are run as extra-curricular clubs by school staff. The school choir is open to children in Year 2 – 6 and is held on a weekly basis over two terms. Pupils in the school choir meet over lunchtime and focus on singing in unison, developing harmony, solo performances and having fun! The school choir also have the opportunity to perform in school performances, carol concerts and the summer music concert. Pupils in Year 6 also have the opportunity to learn a wide range of songs, and to perform alongside other schools at the annual Junior Musical Festival at the Anvil (Basingstoke) in the Spring term.

Impact of our Music Curriculum

Through our Music curriculum, children develop an understanding of diversity, culture and history. They learn that they can 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 will have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives in the future.

In summary, by the time children leave St Marks they will:

  • Foster a love of learning for music and use music as an outlet for the creative expression of feelings and ideas
  • Be confident to express personal judgements and preferences about the quality and styles of music
  • Talk about music using subject specific vocabulary
  • Have a better understanding of the diversity, culture and history of music
  • Be aware of their own abilities as a learner and musician
  • Have the opportunity to learn an instrument
  • Experience learning beyond the classroom both as an observer and as a performer
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