What is our approach to Music?
At Atwood, we understand that the world is constantly changing. We view music as the great connector: bringing cultures and communities together. We have a deep understanding of the power of music and know our shared knowledge of music is crucial in understanding our origins and our place in the world. Music is embedded in our school culture.
Music plays a key role in our aims to develop well rounded individuals, global citizens and community champions. All children have access to a progressive curriculum that builds skills, knowledge, fluency and capability. Every child at Atwood is a performer, creator and composer of music with all children provided with the opportunity to play an instrument from Early Years through to Key Stage 2.
Through our curriculum, we aim to provide a culturally rich, diverse and inclusive method of teaching to encourage children to be open minded listeners who approach music with tolerance and have a wide breadth of knowledge of musical genres from around the world. Our timetabled regular weekly music slots for each year group ensure we offer a balanced curriculum.
What does our approach to Music look like in the classroom?
Our curriculum starts with a vocal programme which builds on prior learning and leads to a creative composition. The children’s skill and understanding of pitch and rhythm become more polished, fluent and complex as we progress through the years. These basic skills are regularly revisited to ensure concepts are embedded.
In Early Years, we use the Ark Primary Music Programme which helps to provide a clear progressive pathway in musical development for children from the time they start Nursery through to when they enter Year One, with key focus on being imaginative and expressive through pulse, pitch and rhythm.
In Key Stage 1, the Ark Music Programme continues with more structured lessons, and children learn to use their voice with confidence and develop vocal accuracy. Children will continue to show understanding of pulse, pitch and rhythm, as well as exploration of tempo and dynamics.
In Key Stage 2, the focus turns to instrumental and ensemble skills building on learning from the previous years. In Year 3, children learn to play the Recorder encouraging more developed use of breath control, fine motor movement and pitch recognition. In Year 4, children are introduced to Samba and play a variety of Brazilian percussion instruments within their class bateria, singing and playing various genres of samba music whilst learning the history and culture surrounding Carnival and the samba schools. In Years 5 and 6, children are provided access to a popular music experience through technology by the external provider the Rhythm Studio. In these sessions, children take their creativity to another level and compose their own music.
Children are encouraged to express themselves through music, so their voices are heard. We have competent teachers who engage and challenge children. Our teachers are constantly challenging themselves and benefit from specialist training from Ark Music professionals who ensure that every teacher at Atwood is a music teacher. Weekly singing assemblies are held for each key stage and children are exposed to and perform music from all genres and cultures and in different languages, helping them to be educated citizens aware of the best of each respective genre and adding to their cultural capital. Peripatetic teachers offer group lessons in violin, guitar, flute and clarinet, with concerts held in July to showcase progress over the year. Through the One Voice choral programme, we benefit from weekly choir support, specialist workshops and bespoke accessible arrangements relevant to contemporary world issues.
How do we measure success in Music?
To celebrate what they have learned ,every year group has opportunities to perform to a live audience at Christmas and at the end of the year showcasing the skills they have learned. In addition, we nurture talent through The Inspiring Excellence ensembles. These act as a fantastic musical experience for students to develop their musicianship and leadership skills, as well as the opportunity to take part in a range of high-profile and exciting performances across the year such as Fusion, Ignite and a Summer Sounds Music Festival.
Musician of the Week
To support our children in developing a knowledge and appreciation of the history of music, we have a focus musician for each week. These musicians fall within a specific genre for each term. A slide is shared at all assemblies containing biographical information about each musician and their music is played at the start and end of each assembly.