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"Where words fail, music speaks." Hans Christian Andersen
Our vision for music
At Rimrose Hope we agree that 'Music lessons should be musical' and we emphasise musicality over talking in our curriculum and our lessons. We see the exploration of music in primary school as a moral imperative and a force for good beyond the scope of the lesson itself. Music plays its part in delivering content and value to all subjects within the curriculum and it is an essential component of the school’s pedagogical approach. Our pedagogy ensures that children from all backgrounds and musical experience should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; to make music with others; to learn to sing; and to have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence if they wish to.
The skills of a great music student:
Listening - a key skill in music to allow pupils to respond to the music they hear and perform alongside fellow musicians.
Perseverance - learning an instrument can be frustrating. It takes real resilience to stick at the practice, even though you know it will be difficult
Problem solving - music doesn't always have one, clear-cut answer. There are plenty of opportunities to find creative and unique solutions.
Creativity - playing music is a wonderful way to express yourself. The way you approach and interpret your music is unique, only to you.
Thinking on the spot - Music requires you to repeatedly make split-second decisions. It forces you to think quickly on your toes.
Confidence - performing in front of others is an incredibly brave thing to do, whether it is an audience of one or a large group
Communication and collaboration - the ability to work as part of a team is vital, discussing ideas and supporting each other.
We aim for the music curriculum content to be remembered in the long term as our basic principles are that learning only takes place if there is a change in the long-term memory.
Our music curriculum takes a mastery approach. By which we mean children master key concepts before moving on to the next topic.
To ensure consistency and clear progression in knowledge, skills and the acquisition of vocabulary, we have developed a bespoke music curriculum in conjunction with a specialist music teacher. It outlines the key concepts for each topic and aims to promote the development of children's knowledge and understanding by building on previous learning. These concepts are integrated in a spiral curriculum so that the children revisit them in different contexts deepening their knowledge and understanding of them in each phase as they progress through school.
We determine progress as 'remembering more and knowing more'. We believe that when new knowledge and existing knowledge connect in children's minds, this gives rise to understanding.
We look for children, as their knowledge and understanding develops, to show that they can make connections, draw parallels and use increasingly sophisticated explanations which draw upon their music knowledge.
Performing and celebrating musical achievements is a vital aspect of music and something we strive to provide opportunities for. During their time at Rimrose Hope, children are given the opportunity to learn to play a variety of musical instruments.
Musical Instruments on offer:
Evidencing progression within notation
Prior to written forms of notation in EYFS children have lots of opportunities in music activities to explore sounds and create sound sequences. Following on from this in Key stages 1 and 2 listening and aural memory is developed by copy cat patterns of melodic and rhythmic sequences. Improvisation opportunities on pitched and unpitched percussion provide further important opportunities for developing this.
Improvisation becomes composition once the music is written or ‘noted’ down. This can be in any form such as visual colours, mark making, graphic notation, stick notation and western music staff notation. The concept of notation arises when there is a need to remember a particular rhythmic or melodic pattern.
This approach can is demonstrated by the following slides showing the progression of learning.
Here we have shown a human notation from left to right there are four beats:
Beat 1 - a rest Z shape is formed by an individual. Beat 2 – Ta the individual stands with hands by side. Beat 3 - Tey-tey two children standing side by side hands across shoulders. Beat 4 - Ta individual standing with hands by side.
The children in the class can clap this pattern and then continue with the activity by forming another rhythm pattern to follow creating a short phrase.
The children then learn to use rhythm stick notation as shown below. We use phrases from familiar rhymes such as Jelly on a plate so that the children are familiar with the sound before writing down a symbol to represent it. This ‘sound before symbol’ approach is applied throughout the teaching notation.
The children then learn more about pitch - this follows lots of activities exploring melodies and improvisations on glockenspiels and recorders.
The picture below demonstrates the beginning of this progression to standard staff notation and identifies both rhythm and pitch, this example also shows phrasing and structure.