At Northgate our primary intent is to have an engaging and inspiring curriculum with high academic ambition for all pupils. In Music we aim to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of music from different times, places and traditions. In doing so we endeavour to build the children’s skills of listening, appraising, performing and composing.
The 2014 National Curriculum for Music aims to ensure that all children:
- perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
- learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
- understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
At Northgate our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, the Charanga music scheme and, where appropriate, links are made with the Cornerstones Curriculum. It develops both knowledge and practical skills, with frequent opportunities to perform in front of an audience.
Each class from Reception to Year 6 has a weekly music lesson, following the Charanga music scheme. Both KS1 and KS2 also have a weekly music assembly when we sing a variety of songs, listen to children perform on instruments they are learning, or enjoy the performances of visiting musicians.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of Music involves the following;
- At Key Stage 1, music is taught by class teachers.
- At Key Stage 2, lessons are taught by a specialist music teacher.
- Music units follow the Charanga music scheme and, where appropriate, link to the Cornerstones curriculum, as well as preparing students for group and individual performances.
- Children’s knowledge and understanding of musical vocabulary is developed to enable their ability to describe and appraise pieces of music.
- At Key Stage 2, children begin learning aspects of music theory, applying them when learning to play a tuned instrument (recorder or glockenspiel).
- Children have the opportunity to develop skills of improvisation and composition, using their knowledge of rhythm and pitch.
- Children develop their performance skills through a variety of opportunities (e.g. Christmas Carol Service, year group shows, ensembles such as choir and orchestra).
- Children increase their cultural capital through visitors and visits e.g. Bishop’s Stortford Wind Band; Hertfordshire Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Students are encouraged to learn a musical instrument in school through the provision of Music for Schools Foundation and other peripatetic music teachers.
- Events for more able musicians from local schools are organised to ensure these children are given extra opportunities to be challenged, e.g. Birchwood Primary Music Day.
As children progress through Northgate they develop their vocal technique, understanding of music theory and performance skills. Children deepen their understanding of the history of music through exciting and stimulating topics, which enable them to explore a variety of musical genres and styles. Musical understanding, as well as the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, is further supported by themed lessons and assemblies for special cross-curricular events (e.g. Black History Month, Science Week, International Week).
Formative assessment takes place continually in lessons to ensure children’s engagement and development of their skills. As they progress through the school, more able musicians take increasing responsibility for their involvement in musical activities (e.g. members of orchestra performing in and leading music assemblies). Our approach to music teaching at Northgate is characterised by active involvement in different forms of music making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness.