At Willenhall the children are taught music every week in a very active and participatory way. From Nursery through to year 6, the music curriculum focusses on performance skills but also on creative thinking and self-expression. Learning is based as much as possible on the cross-curricular themes which are studied in each year group.
In Nursery, the children enjoy singing a range of songs with lots of actions, and they begin to learn about different instruments and how to play them. The emphasis is on enjoyment and building up confidence and a love of music and singing. This is given some focus in the EYFS Christmas show every year.
In Reception this continues but the children begin to have opportunities to make choices about instruments, and begin to learn about the building blocks of music such as high and low (pitch) and fast and slow (tempo).
Year 1 and 2 children continue this work and they also begin to experience the importance of pattern in music - listening for repeated rhythms or tunes. Also from Reception the children listen to music from a wide range of traditions and genres, and learn the skills they need to evaluate music and express their opinions. As part of responding to music we also do a lot of movement to the music we are listening to or are singing to. Children also begin to learn some of the terms we use when talking about music, such as pitch, and tempo, and rhythm.
Whilst much of the work in Early and KS1 is built around performance - both singing and instrumental work - there is also an element of composition - which might mean making music in a group to suit a scene, or it might mean making up simple tunes using glockenspiels.
In KS2 the work started in KS1 continues and is built upon, giving opportunities for more creativity and developing performance skills. We hope to include performances to the whole school as part of the children’s termly musical experience. They also learn how to read and write musical notation. The ability to play a part in a group performance becomes more important - creating what we call layers of sound where each layer may be different from the others.
The whole school sometimes takes part in musical performances - such as our Christmas singing assembly. The year 6 children also give a performance at the end of year of their leaver's production - in the last two years these have been specially written and composed for the school by our school music teacher Mr Tucker. These are an opportunity for the children to show off their singing skills as well as their acting prowess.
We also like to invite visiting musical groups into the school to perform for us - in 2014 for example we welcomed the “World Music Performance Group” from the Performing Arts Service to play us a taste of music from around the world as they took us on a journey around the world in eighty days, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Our school choir has not been going for very long but it goes from strength to strength. In the Autumn term the children have the experience of singing at a number of venues including the School Christmas Fayre, and at a number of residential nursing homes. We aim to take part in larger singing events such as “Young Voices” and “The Big Sing” in the near future.