St Mary's Catholic
Music at Euxton St. Mary’s
Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school (Model Music Curriculum, DfE, March 2021).
At Euxton St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, children gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. They gain an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and its value for identity, culture and the continuation of our global social history. They learn about the impact that Music can have on individuals and communities. Music is a lesson which is fully inclusive and accessible, meaning that children with SEND can flourish and they often do. We are proud of our Musical heritage in school and aim for all children to leave as confident lovers of all aspects of the subject.
Children throughout the school take part in Music lessons based on the National Curriculum aspects of composing, performing, and understanding. In Key Stage One, there is a focus on singing as well as experimenting with sounds, movement and rhythm. In Key Stage Two, the children begin to work more independently and begin to compose, evaluate and record music using notations.
In school, children compose their own music using their understanding of the inter-related dimensions of Music, from a range of stimuli such as poems and stories, paintings, photographs and their own imaginations. The children use both classroom and percussion and more formal instruments such as keyboard, flute and guitar. All compositions are recorded and stored in the subject leader folder and a selection are featured on our website.
Performing involves children sharing their love of singing and playing with others. Our main performance is at Christmas, when the whole school take part in acting, reading and singing about the Christmas story. We always have a small band to accompany the singing and sometimes produce sound effects. Children in Year Six also sing in the community. In Music lessons, children perform class pieces and songs, which they have often composed themselves. We dip into Charanga, Kapow and Oak Academy as resources but children mainly participate in music making connected to their wider class or school interests, such as World War 2, The Rainforest, and well-loved literature, as well as composing an Eco-anthem and a jingle promoting recycling. Our choir takes part each year in Young Voices at the Manchester Arena. They also sing in church at special times and year and for special occasions. All children take part in communal singing weekly in Hymn Practice. A number of children have instrumental lessons provided by Lancashire Music Service. These include keyboard, guitar and flute.
Understanding includes learning about the History of Music, and children in Year Four enjoy lessons about Mozart, Beethoven, Smetna and Rimsky-Korsakov through their topic on Europe whilst all children listen to music from across history and the world using the Classical100 website and Charanga. Children in Year Three learn about Rock and Roll Music from the 1960s and Year Six go on a music journey spanning from George Formby to George Ezra. Year Five enjoy listening to and composing their own film music and learn about how to create sounds to produce different effects. All children are encouraged to respond to and analyse and the music they listen to from a young age. Children are introduced to graphic notations in KS1 and as they progress through the school develop their understanding of how to read music and how to notate the music they compose.
Although we use the Model Music Curriculum as a guide, Music teaching is based on the National Curriculum and Key Learning Document provided by Lancashire County Council, with progression and endpoints for each year group outlined in the progression documents for KS1 and KS2. Throughout their school journey, we provide children with the opportunity to progress in confidence and skill in each year group, to encourage excellence and enjoyment in all areas of the subject. As well as the musical skills developed, we aim for the children to develop further fundamental abilities such as self-confidence, teamwork, evaluation and reflection, and through their listening and music making, deepen their engagement with the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of the curriculum. As a Catholic school, we also aim to enrich the faith of the children through singing hymns and performing as part of our ‘Faith in Action.’