Being a Musician
Our Music Curriculum Intent
We are a Charanga music school and use the Charanga schemes of work in classroom music lessons. Charanga provides weekly lessons that enable children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning. Learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables a more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills. Musical teaching and learning is not neat or linear. The strands of musical learning, presented within the lesson plans and the on-screen resources, are part of the learning spiral. Over time, children can both develop new musical skills and concepts, and re-visit established musical skills and concepts. Repeating a musical skill doesn’t necessarily mean their progress is slowing down or their development is moving backwards! It's just shifting within the spiral. Mastery means both a deeper understanding of musical skills and concepts and learning something new.
How the Charanga scheme is structured
Each unit of work comprises of the strands of musical learning which correspond with the national curriculum for music:
- Listening and Appraising
- Musical Activities
- Warm-up Games
- Optional Flexible Games
- Playing instruments
In year’s 3 and 4, some Charanga units of work might be replaced by a term of ‘Music Explorers’ - a programme of instrumental learning through whole class ensemble teaching which takes place during the school day, provided by musicians from the South Glos music hub. Music Explorers is an even more practical way to cover the strands of musical learning as each child plays an instrument. Our Barrs Court teachers remain flexible in their planning to allow for this excellent opportunity when it is offered to us.
In addition to classroom music teaching, we place a strong importance on Listening and Appraising and have a whole school approach to this. Each term, we all focus on a particular genre of music and immerse ourselves in that genre by listening to it as we come into school each day and when we enter/exit assemblies. This allows us to hear and use the language of the interrelated dimensions of music (pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre and texture) regularly. We contextualise the periods of music with historical events making powerful and meaningful links for the children. Siblings can have conversations when they hear a particular genre at home – a shared and empowering skill. In an academic year we cover Classical, Rock and Roll, World music, Film music and pop music through the decades.
What makes our school special and how do we bring the new model music curriculum to Barrs Court?
- We perform an annual upper KS2 production; all upper KS2 children are involved and fully immerse themselves in acting, singing and drama.
- We perform an annual FS2 and KS1 Christmas production; all children sing, dance and act in full costume.
- All KS2 children partake in an annual Christmas service at Longwell Green Church where we combine traditional Christmas Carols with a modern take on the Nativity.
- Our annual Harvest assemblies welcome parents into our school and are bursting with singing, drama and dance giving all children, regardless of age and stage, another opportunity to perform.
- We have an annual ‘Arts Week’. Every year there is a different focus (either dance, music or drama) allowing children to be exposed to all elements of the performing arts.
- Singing at Barrs Court is of a very high quality and can be heard in lessons, whole school and key stage assemblies and in clubs. The children at Barrs Court can sing confidently in rounds and in two-part harmony. Singing from the age of Reception up to year 6 is part of the Barrs Court culture. Whole school singing refers to the interrelated dimensions of music each week – the children take pride in singing with dynamics and love being creative with timbre and tempo.
- There is a strong music and dance tradition at Barrs Court. We take great pride in performing well both in school and at public events.
- Many of our children play instruments such as the recorder, violin, keyboard and flute and have the opportunity to learn many of these in school from an outside peripatetic teacher. Children have the opportunity to showcase their efforts in assemblies and within school productions.
‘Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school.’ Model Music Curriculum, March 2021.