Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a vehicle for personal expression, and it can play an important part in the personal development of people. Music allows our pupils to reflect and links closely with their overall development. Besides being a creative and enjoyable activity, music can also be a highly academic and demanding subject. If any pupil wishes to learn an instrument they must show great responsibility for their instrument and to their practice. In addition, to learn a musical instrument, or even how to read music notation, also takes great resilience and our music lessons at LEAP encourage this resilience. Music reflects the culture and society we live in, and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world they live in and develops curiosity for different cultures and ideas. It also plays an important part in helping children feel part of a community. We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop the skills, to appreciate a wide variety of musical forms, and to begin to make judgements about the quality of music.
The objectives of teaching music in our LEAP schools are to enable children to:
• know and understand how sounds are made and then organised into musical structures;
• know how music is made through a variety of instruments;
• know how music is composed and written down;
• know how music is influenced by the time, place and purpose for which it was written;
• develop the interrelated skills of performing, composing and appreciating music.
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.
At LEAP, Music plays an important part in our wider curriculum. It is sometimes integrated into topics, and sometimes taught to ensure the coverage of skills and knowledge.
When teaching music directly, classroom teachers use ‘Charanga Musical School’ to support their lessons.
Through the Charanga Musical School programme the children develop their understanding, make musical judgements, apply their new learning, develop their aural memory, express themselves physically, emotionally and through discussion and create their own musical ideas. The wide range of core resources have been developed specifically to motivate and capture each individual’s personal interest.
The children not only learn about music; they become musicians who are able to share and perform using their new skills.
The musical progression through KS1 and KS2 is demonstrated in the PDF documents at the bottom of this page. The instrumental work is differentiated allowing children to move through the relevant parts as they need to. Remember that an integrated approach to musical learning means that the whole musical experience is important, children are learning music through these activities.
We have a number of peripatetic music teachers who come into LEAP to teach a variety of different instruments. These include:
- African Drumming and Dance - Every year group, from Reception class to Year 6, receives weekly African drumming tuition from a specialist teacher.
- Ukulele - All children in Year 3 receive weekly Ukulele lessons throughout the year.
- Steel Pans - Children in years 4, 5 & 6 receive weekly Steel Pan lessons from a specialist teacher and regularly get the opportunity to perform during assemblies and at special events.
- Singing Assemblies & School Choir - Weekly singing assemblies are held for all children, during which a range of songs from around the world are learnt for the school to sing together and also to celebrate a range of RE festivals. Children from years 3, 4, 5 & 6 are also able to join the School Choir, which runs as an after school club and perform at special events.
- Keyboards & Guitar - Interested and able pupils from years 4, 5 & 6 receive small group keyboard and guitar lessons from specialist teachers on a weekly basis.
Fundamental British Values
Threaded through the Charanga scheme are units of work that explore music that tackles issues such as, individual liberty, respect and tolerance. For instance, in the unit ‘Stop’ the pupils will explore themes of bullying, tolerance and respect. The scheme also highlights songs like ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles and looks at the reasons and inspirations behind this song involving the Civil Rights movement. The scheme also explores democracy and the right for everyone to have a voice through songs such as the anti-war protest song ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath.
Individual musicians and groups of musicians regularly visit the school to perform in assemblies and at special events, so throughout the year the children have opportunities to listen to live music. We regularly participate in a number of different musical projects - recently Apollo Music have been working with year 3 and 4 giving the children a glimpse of a string quartet, woodwind instruments, brass instruments. We have had one of the organist from St Paul’s cathedral playing to the children. We have had opera singers, African drummers and a variety of instrumentalist playing for the children.
The children have also had opportunities to play their instruments in concerts and performances across the country.
Every July, the Hackney Music Festival takes place and Kingsmead children perform in the Junior, Infant and Early Years Singing Concerts. Many of our drummers and dancers perform at the Hackney Dance Festival.
Our talented group of drummers and dancers - The Dynamix - were selected to perform at the School Proms at The Royal Albert Hall in 2012 - see the news story written about their performance here. The Dynamix have also performed to an audience of hundreds of music professionals at City Hall for the Mayor's Music summit in 2016. Our Steel Pans players have performed at The Tower of London as part of the Water City Festival and at the Hackney Empire, as well as for many local community organisations.
Decolonising the Curriculum
The Charanga scheme introduces children to a variety of music through place and time including, Reggae, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical, Mo-town, HipHop etc. As part of their musical learning children will explore the works of various artists, including black and ethnic minority musicians such as, Angelique Kidjo, famous Afropop performer, exploring the influence of African music across the world from its roots in the slave trade, Angelique travels to the US, Brazil and the Caribbean. They will also look at music that has influenced the British charts such as The Summertime Song recorded in 1970 by the British pop-blues band Mungo Jerry, which reached the Number 1 position on charts around the world (including seven weeks in the UK). It is considered one of the highest selling singles of all time with an estimated 5-10 million copies sold.
Music at Home
One of the most exciting and rewarding things you can do at home with your children to support the Music curriculum is to listen to and talk with them about the different types and styles of music you listen to now and what you used to listen to when you were younger.
Due to the unprecedented times the world is currently experiencing, in relation to Coronavirus, there are certain aspects of the music curriculum that will have to change. This has resulted in a short-term modification to the Scheme of Work that is in line with the current government guidelines updated on the 28th August 2020. Our curriculum is temporarily postponing all recorder playing, used in Charanga, and stopping singing as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus.