Quite simply, it is our intention that every pupil, irrelevant of needs, develops such a passion for music that they sWe want all our pupils to experience a wide and varied music curriculum, which leaves them excitedly seeking further opportunities to continue their musical journey.
Through Music, we aim to support this philosophy by:
- Teaching the skills of Music through Birchwood’s Wheel of Wisdom (WOW)
- Encouraging pupils to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
- playing tuned and un-tuned instruments musically
- listening with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers
- enabling time to experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music
- developing an understanding of musical composition
- organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory
- playing and performing in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
- encouraging pupils to improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
- listening with attention to detail and recalling sounds with increasing aural memory
- showing how to use and understand staff and other musical notations
At Birchwood we know that children learn best when the curriculum is well sequenced to enable revisiting of core knowledge, skills and understanding to deepen conceptual awareness before demanding application across the whole curriculum. Please see the Music Progression of Skills documents (held in school), which outline how the key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during Year 1 to Year 6.
From Reception through to Year 6 the teachers use Charanga to focus on different musical styles and skill areas. The children have the opportunity to learn how to sing correctly and develop their theory of music knowledge. They also have time to play as a whole class tuned instruments such as the glockenspiel and the ocarina and then develop their skill of improvisation. Each child is encouraged to develop their composing skills to create a new piece of music. This will develop through the school from whole class compositions through to pair and individual compositions. Every class learn how to perform and regularly perform to other classes their pieces when they have rehearsed.
In Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to learn an instrument through peripatetic music lessons with an experienced music tutor. They have the chance to learn the piano, violin, cornet, clarinet and flute.
Music through Birchwood’s WOW curriculum offers opportunities to:
- Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
- Learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
- Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
- Present musical composition projects at WOW Tandem Workshops attended by parents.
- Develop their performance expertise through musical opportunities such as: end of year concerts, assembly performances, peripatetic cluster group collaborations, Birchwood music festival, Harvest festival, Nativity performances and KS2 summer play.
- Explore cross-curricular links through thematic WOW teaching.
There are literally hundreds of ways we can demonstrate the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. In a nutshell, here are some examples:
- In the Summer Term each year, we host a Birchwood Music Festival. This concert one evening is an opportunity for the children to celebrate their musical accomplishes and progression of skills for the academic year. All the children that have had peripatetic music lessons go on stage and perform in solos and/or ensembles. Any children that have music lessons outside of school are also encouraged to show their enthusiasm and passion too. Each year it is an excellent evening for celebrating the time, patience and perseverance the children have put into their musical journey and a Musician of the Year is awarded for their outstanding accomplishments.
- Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 celebrated Harvest by singing beautiful Harvest themed songs in two magnificent concerts. The Reception and Key Stage 1 children sang brilliant action songs and the Key Stage 2 sang songs in rounds and with harmonies.
- In March 2019 the Key Stage 2 choir went along to a Celebration of Music concert in Snape Maltings. The concert was an opportunity for schools in Suffolk to come along and perform on the world-renowned stage to a large audience. The Birchwood choir sang a song from ABBA, The Beatles and Leonard Cohen. The school orchestra also performed a piece called Junior Jazz. At the end of the concert, all of the children who performed went onto stage and sang a finale song composed by a musician who has composed for choirs worldwide, Sarah Jewell. The children had a workshop with the composer and vocalist to learn the song and a separate workshop at school with some of the professional musicians, where they coached the choir on performance skills.