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Music

“Music is the universal language of mankind” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Subject Leader: Lucy Bond

Link Governor: Nick Hudson

At Christ Church, each child has the chance to experience a rich musical education. We believe that every child can be a musician and should have the opportunity to discover their musical potential. Our lessons aim to engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians. As the children progress, they compose, perform and listen with discrimination to a wide range of music across different styles and cultures.

Christ Church is proud to have been designated a Music Mark school.

‘Music Mark Schools have been nominated for their recognition of the value of music as part of the curriculum and are actively engaged in improving music education provision within their school community.’

At Christ Church, children receive a minimum of an hour a week of music. This takes place through a lesson with a music specialist for half of the year, and music lessons with their class teacher for the other half, as well as a weekly, half hour, singing assemblies separated into year groups - R,1,2 / 3,4 / 5,6. This covers aspects of the singing curriculum as well as being part of collective worship. In the summer term we offer an ocarina club to Year 2 children. This works well in preparation for them learning the recorder in Year 3.

Year 3 are also taking part in whole class instrumental lessons, learning the recorder for half of the year with a specialist teacher provided by Kingston Music Service.  We offer recorder lessons as an extracurricular activity following on from the year 3 lessons, and currently have three recorder groups in years 4-6. The most advanced children learn a range of recorders and also perform with the school orchestra.  

The school orchestra is open to all children who learn an instrument in KS2. Currently we have children playing violin, viola, keyboard, flute, saxophone and trombone and we are always open to extra instruments joining. Recently at a school concert, they were joined by instrumentalist ex-pupils and parents which brought a lovely quality and depth to the sound.  

The school also has a thriving junior choir with over 75 children taking part. It has recently performed in several local churches, Christmas Carols in John Lewis and the Rose Theatre.  We are looking forward to a packed summer term with performance opportunities at the summer fair, school concert and at the Kingston Music Festival.  We believe passionately that all children should be given the opportunity to sing and perform and therefore the choir is open to any child who wants to join.

What Children Learn

Nursery

In the Nursery, the children will learn many songs and rhymes and have an abundance of opportunities to sing them. The children will have access to instruments and begin to freely explore the ways they can be used and the differing sounds they can create.

Reception

In Reception, the children will learn the names of and how to play a range of instruments. They will continue to build a bank of well known rhymes as well as begin to create their own often by adapting the words to previously learned rhymes. Whilst singing the children will begin to match the pitch of someone singing and use words such as high and low to describe their own pitch. The children will begin to move their body in time to music by copying or creating their own actions. As the year progresses, the children will be taught to count in beats of 8 to stay in time to music. By the end of the Reception year, the children will confidently perform songs and dances to a group of their peers. 

Year 1

  • Autumn: The children begin the year by building up their repertoire of known songs. We introduce common classroom instruments, play loud and soft, fast and slow and follow signs and symbols.They move in time and respond to different musical elements particularly loud and soft, fast and slow.Then they focus on listening to music linked to their topic of toys, singing songs about toys and finish learning about the Nutcracker. 
  • Spring: Music links with the Antarctica Explorer topic. The children sing songs about penguins and Jack Frost.They read a book called Little Pip based on a penguin, turn the rhymes into songs and use it to create musical sound effects and sequences. The children continue to play from symbols and write their own.Then they learn songs from Africa and listen to music based on the African safari.
  • Summer: In the summer they learn about rhythm and pulse, creating rhythm patterns, using body rhythms and linking to simple notation. Children also learn about pitch - moving in steps and leaps and use tuned percussion. We aim to also make the most of the nice weather by learning playground songs and musical games.

Year 2

  • Autumn: Year 2 start the year with a topic about Space. They listen to some of ‘The Planets by Holst’ and sing songs about space. We then move on to marking beat and recognising tempo changes within music -using ‘The Hall of the Mountain King, by Grieg’ as an example. Towards Christmas the focus is on the music by the Russian composer Prokovief- ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Troika’. The children learn how instruments are used for effect, about the story and the history behind the music and create their own compositions based upon the animals in the story and Troika.
  • Spring: Year 2 begin the spring term by linking music with their topic about the Great Fire of London. They listen to music by composers such as Purcell and Pachabel that were composed at a similar time. They then move on to learning about the instruments of the orchestra in ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ by Saint-Saëns. The next unit is on pulse and rhythm, learning about simple rhythmic notation and ostinato patterns.The children improvise question and answer rhythmic phrases and then compose and perform rhythmic patterns using stick notation. We sing some songs from the USA to help us with our rhythms and listen to music by American composers such as Gershwin.
  • Summer: In the summer term year 2 take an ‘epic journey through classical music’ listening to music for film, theatre, dancing, concerts and weddings from a range of classical composers such as Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. They then learn more about pitch and notation, singing songs using solfa hand signs and singing and playing from dot notation on tuned percussion.

Year 3

Year 3 take part in whole class recorder lessons with a tutor from Kingston Music Service for half the year.

  • Autumn: Year 3 begin with a topic on music and songs from Ghana. They sing Ghanian songs, learn about the meanings of the lyrics and add percussion accompaniment. They then move onto looking at rhythm grids and rhythmic notation and compose short rhythmic phrases and word chants. In the second half of term, they listen to music by Bach and Vivaldi ‘Autumn and Winter’, then they learn about traditional Christmas Carols and their meanings. 
  • Spring: The focus is on a topic from ‘Charanga’ based on ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley. The children learn about Reggae music, improvising, playing, copying back and composing music. They learn the song, discuss the lyrics and perform on tuned percussion. They then continue their journey on classical music through time, listening to and learning about orchestral music using the BBC Ten Pieces and composers such as Haydn, Brahms, Elgar and John Adams.
  • Summer: The children learn about pentatonic scales, singing and playing pentatonic songs by ear. They improvise short pentatonic phrases and compose song accompaniments and ‘sea music’ - creating a graphic score. During the second half of term, they link to their topic on rivers, learning songs about rivers and listening to music by composers such as Strauss and Delius. They especially focus on Vltava by Smetana - finding out how the music links to the story of the river, and then move on to learning some traditional folk songs from Europe and Russia. 

Year 4

  • Autumn: Music links with the Geography. Year 4 listen to examples of music around the world from Charanga, learn the features of different styles of music and play listening games. They learn songs from different countries and understand the meanings of the lyrics. In the second half of the term, they focus on a topic ‘Dragon Scales’ from Music Express.They listen to the Skye Boat song, learn the history behind it, work out the melody on tuned percussion and listen to Benjamin Britten's 'Storm Interlude’. They write their own lyrics and link to their English storm poetry.The children learn ‘do-re- mi’ and work out arrangements using voices, tuned and untuned percussion.
  • Spring: The children use a Charanga unit called ‘Developing pulse and groove through improvisation’.  The songs they learn are called ‘Bringing us together’, ‘Old Joe Clarke’ and ‘Dance with me’ - they study the lyrics and discuss how music improves our world. The children sing, improvise with a range of instruments, and compose using rhythmic and melodic notation digitally.  In the second half of the term, they learn about Indonesian Gamelan music, play static and moving parts and read from staff notation.
  • Summer: Continuing with work earlier on in the school, the children look in much more depth at different orchestral instruments. We invite in parents and musicians from the local community to give live demonstrations / performances on their musical instruments and explain how they work. We then listen to performances online by famous musicians -both classical and jazz and compare. The children research and put together a project on the orchestra. We then listen to some of the BBC's Ten Pieces, Dvorjak New World Symphony and Copland Rodeo. They compose music to create a specific mood and capture and record ideas using graphic scores and technology. The children learn to dance a Hoe Down and play and perform melodies using staff notation.

Year 5

  • Autumn: The children learn about Tudor Music, linking to their history topic. They study the lyrics of the song ‘Pastimes with good company’ and learn about Tudor instruments. They learn the song ‘Greensleeves’ and other Tudor songs, discuss features of Tudor music and why songs can have a purpose. The children focus on the structure of songs identifying how different musical elements are used for effect. After half term the children study music from Japan - Taiko drumming and Sakura. They learn the features of Taiko, study the drumming strokes and compose their own. Then look at the contrasts in Sakura, focus on a different pentatonic scale, compose ostinati patterns and read Sakura from notation using tuned percussion, their own instruments and keyboards.
  • Spring: Year 5 learn about contemporary music such as ‘Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians’ from the BBC Ten pieces. They then focus on a topic called ‘How Does Music Bring Us Together?’ from Charagna which involves listening and responding to different types of music, looking at the beats used, pulse and tonality of the music. The children will compose and improvise digitally and learn more advanced notation. After half term, they focus on songwriting and think about ‘How music can improve our world’ by looking at protest songs - learning about the purpose, context and structure, and composing their own lyrics. 
  • Summer: The children link with their history topic and learn songs that tell them about life in Ancient Egypt. They play the melodies on tuned percussion and compare the major and minor scales - composing music with an Egyptian feel using the minor scale. They then put together group performances of the song.  In the second half of the term, the children sing rounds in 2, 3 or 4 parts, learning ostinato, bass notes and chord accompaniments.

Year 6

  • Autumn: The children explore rounds and accompaniments- singing in 4 parts, playing and adding ostinati and chords. They explore digital music - electric keyboards and chrome music lab to compose rhythmic patterns and perform different parts. They then study songs from WW2, analysing lyrics and structure and composing their own lyrics.
  • Spring: The children compose, improvise and perform using the pentatonic scale. They learn about tonality - major and minor scales and compose digitally to ‘Digital Fever’ from Charanga. They listen to, and sing music from a variety of cultures such as Rock, Folk and Pop music.They read from more complex rhythmic and melodic notation (within an octave), and compose digitally using formal notation to record (on Charanga), playing back each other's melodies. 
  • Summer: The children prepare for their summer performance. They sing a broad range of songs, including those that involve syncopated rhythms and harmonies, as part of a year 6 choir, with a sense of ensemble and performance. The children will consider the best ways to perform the songs - choosing possible accompaniments, singing in parts, solos and unison.They also explore electronic sound sources and compose using Bandlab.