Music can be magic as it both inspires and enriches our lives. In the growing child it builds imagination, discipline, teamwork and determination. Music has the ability to change how children think, feel and act. Furthermore the creativity that is at the heart of music-making can help to raise attainment and to motivate young people. At St Aidan’s we ensure that all children have regular access to a variety of musical opportunities throughout their time in the school. Music is part of the curriculum; it supports the teaching of other subjects; we use music to celebrate; we use music to reflect; we use music to share.
All musical teaching and experiences are designed to develop the children’s understanding of the concepts that underpin music: pulse, rhythm, pitch, dynamics and form. Throughout the whole school we use the voice as our primary instrument and thereby children develop their singing voices. During the Foundation Stage and KS1 the music curriculum is taught through nursery rhymes, singing games and familiar children’s songs. These use a limited range of notes and simple rhythmic structures, thus developing accuracy in pitching and instilling rhythmic understanding, as well as providing early opportunities for improvisation. As children move through KS2 the vocal range is widened, the complexity of the rhythms broadened and the children have opportunities to improvise and compose using tuned percussion instruments.
In Year 4 we give all children the exciting opportunity to learn a musical instrument as part of the Government’s ‘Wider Opportunities Scheme’. The whole class has weekly lessons from two visiting music teachers. At the end of every term children perform a musical concert to the rest of the school and parents are cordially invited to attend. During these concerts the children display their new skills and it is a showcase celebrating their achievements. Subsequently, in Year 5, the children have the option of continuing to learn their instruments. So far our children have been taught variously the trumpet, clarinet, violin, cello and, this year, the guitar.
Over the years singing at St Aidan’s has become part of our school culture. It is not just confined to the classroom! All children from reception to Y6 attend a weekly singing assembly where they learn a range of songs. The repertoire includes seasonal songs and carols for church services such as Easter and Christmas. They sing songs from a range of times and cultures endeavouring to build awareness of musical and social traditions and to reflect the diversity in our community. They learn songs in French and other languages to support language learning.
We know from looking at those cultures where music plays a more prominent role that music can help to build and unite communities. We witness a similar feeling when we prepare and perform our two Christmas shows that are staged by the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
Music after school
For a great many of our children music is not just part of the curriculum but something they are keen to have more of! For an increasing number of our children the thrill of singing together brings them to our choir club which meets after school. The choir have sung at local community events, raised money for charity through carol singing and even recorded a Christmas CD. Many children learn a musical instrument taking advantage of the opportunity to learn through Haringey’s MPAC (Music and Performing Arts) service. We also have a very popular African and Caribbean drumming club.
All the children’s extra curricular musical talents and hard work are showcased at various times during the year in concerts and assemblies so that we can share in and enjoy the children’s music making.