Let all you do be done in love’
1 Corinthians 16:14
Music at Great Milton C of E Primary School
At Great Milton C of E Primary School music is highly valued as a celebration of:
‘Discovery, Inspiration and Creativity’
Here at Great Milton, we want all of our children to develop a lifelong love and appreciation of this expressionist creative outlet, recognising that our musical likes and dislikes help to define our unique individuality, and that all viewpoints should be acknowledged and respected. Through our music teaching, we aim to increase children’s knowledge and appreciation of the increasingly diverse world around them, building an awareness of how musical genre often reflects social and political issues of the era and location.
Our learners will enjoy opportunities for both directed and experimental instrumental playing, alongside developing vocal and rhythmic awareness. Our pupils will be successful team players, who understand the role of discussion, collaboration and compromise in group projects. Some individuals will be inspired to pursue music lessons outside the classroom and we take pride in celebrating their achievements. Children will be increasingly exposed to the written language of music throughout their time at Great Milton, giving them the groundwork to pursue their musical curiosity and development as they progress onto Secondary education and beyond.
Exploration in music lessons takes the forms of listening, analysing, singing, playing, composing and evaluating. We follow the Charanga English Model Music Curriculum, which includes six units per year group. Music is taught for either half an hour weekly or an hour fortnightly. All class teachers follow the Charanga scheme. Additionally, a specialist teacher will teach each class for a short term twice a year. During these terms, the Charanga scheme is replaced by learning the links to the class’ topic where possible. Focus is also given during these specialist sessions on vocal pitch accuracy development, building an understanding of notation, small group composition and developing increasing confidence in singing and performing more complex ensemble pieces.
The Charanga curriculum and tailored Great Milton topic-based curriculum together ensure exposure to a wide variety of music from the Stone Age to the present day. Children will learn about important instrumental and technological developments, as well as cultural change, that has led to the wide variety of genres readily available today and will be encouraged to make links with their growing musical knowledge. Within each Charanga unit, children are given opportunities to listen, analyse, sing, play along in an ensemble, improvise and perform.
During Key Stage One, the children will explore untuned percussion, the hand bells and chime bars. In Year Three, children will be introduced to the recorder and glockenspiel. Beginning with a three-note and then pentatonic scale, children will use a wider range of notes as they progress through Key Stage Two. When appropriate, children are also able to use their own instruments in music lessons.
Year Four pupils currently receive 35 weeks tuition of First Access from Oxfordshire County Council. This is whole class teaching from a specialist teacher – most recently guitar tuition. This year-long development helps pupils to embrace our value of ‘perseverance’, with pupils taking pride in the growth of their skills. Key Reception and Years One and Two perform a Nativity, Years Three and Four a musical Easter play and Years Five and Six a summer play; within each there are opportunities for solo and group singing or instrumental performance for those pupils who wish to showcase their talents. Throughout the school year, we also sing as an ensemble at least twice weekly in assemblies.
In addition to whole class lessons, many pupils take part in individual or group instrumental lessons either in or outside of school. We currently offer instrumental tuition in violin, piano and guitar. In the Summer Term, pupils celebrate their progress when performing in an evening Players and Performers concert, attended by parents, guardians and members of the community. A Rock Steady teacher also gives weekly group sessions, teaching keyboard, electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals and drums – this proves very popular and we are proud to celebrate their success in a termly Rock Steady concert with parents, carers and classmates invited.
Our learners will feel comfortable and enthusiastic to express their creativity through singing, composition, movement and art. Pupils will recognise the importance and enjoyment of cultural enrichment through musical exposure. As a Christian school, we also have strong links with our local church, where our Easter, Harvest and carol services traditionally take place. Music will play its role in inspiring our children’s spirituality; children will feel confident in singing both secular and spiritual songs in our weekly assemblies.
They will be encouraged to take pride in performances both inside and outside of school, and parents and carers will be invited to share in their success. In addition to in-school instrumental concerts and plays, the school also attends events outside of school, such as The Big Sing. Currently, this is attended by Year Five and Six at Christmas and Years Three and Four in the Summer Term.
Our school values of perseverance, honesty and love will be evident in effective collaborative group composition projects, when children will learn how to meld individual creativity with a cooperative team ethos that embraces kind, constructive criticism. These are widely-applicable skills that will stand our pupils in good stead for life. We hope that our children will develop an awareness of the benefits to mental health that both listening to and participating in music can bring; ultimately, we want our pupils to be musical consumers, participants and creators for life.
Oxfordshire Schools Dance Festival
Each year, around 30 KS2 pupils take part in the Oxfordshire Schools’ Dance Festival at the New Theatre, Oxford, along with over 20 other schools from across Oxfordshire. Each school creates a piece of dance to a chosen piece of music. Following weeks of rehearsal and always a few nerves on the day, our children consistently give a wonderful performance, of which we are always very proud. One pupil has said, “I love the dancing but everything that goes with it is fun too: the make-up, the costumes, and performing at the New Theatre.” Dance forms an important part of our PE & Creative Arts Curriculum.