Music Curriculum Rationale
At Hillcrest Primary we are musicians! We want our children to love music. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be music producers, songwriters, composers or rockstars! We want them to embody our core values. We believe that Hillcrest is a place: “Where all children learn and discover together to create a better world.’ The music curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their musicial capital. We want our children to remember their music lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the musical opportunities they are presented with! Recently, our school have invested in providing specialist ukulele lessons for pupils in KS2. Bringing music alive is important at Hillcrest Primary School.
The music curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the music National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, at Christmas our children took part in the BBC Ten Pieces: Connecting the Dots workshops. Each class virtually met a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra who introduced them to their instrument. The players performed a demonstration on their instrument and discussed life in the orchestra and just what in takes to be part of a symphony orchestra-truly inspirational. We are committed to putting music on the map here at Hillcrest Primary.
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the music curriculum. For example, as part of our Diversity celebrations, we invited a Tan Teddy Jamaican Folk Culture Group into school to deliver expert Jamaican workshops for our pupils. The group truly inspired our children by sharing their love for and motivation to keep Jamaican folk culture alive. The group discussed the deep-rooted history of Jamaican music that dates to the mid-1600s when England controlled the island. What a unique and wonderful way to celebrate Cultural Diversity.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year we provided our pupils with the opportunity to experience St Paul’s Carnival. The children took part in a drumming workshop led by the African Sambistas drummers. By the end of the day even the children who had never played an African drum before were able to perform in the finaly concert. The event was a resounding success and many of the children commented what a wonderful and memorable experience they had. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
The music curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. At Hillcrest Primary School we use the Charanga Musical School scheme – which provides our teachers with week-by-week lessons for each year group in the school from ages 5-11. This scheme provides lesson plans, assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting whiteboard resources for every lesson. Our music scheme is based on: Listening and Appraising; Musical Activities – creating and exploring; and Singing and Performing.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. Our children are taught the right, connected knowledge.
Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a weekly music lesson. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to music and that musical subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every music lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in music are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use music formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in music. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in music includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.