“I would teach children Music…for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning. Plato
At Birch Hill we believe that: “Music is essentially a practical subject and should provide first hand musical experiences which are sufficiently absorbing and challenging to engage all pupils’ enthusiasm.”
The National Association for Music Education highlights the ways in which music enhances key skills in learning throughout children’s education including developing language, reasoning, memorisation, coordination, collaboration, engagement and feelings of pride in achievement.
National Curriculum Aims:
The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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.
At Birch Hill we follow the guidelines of the National Curriculum focusing on the seven interrelated dimensions of music to create fun, engaging lessons with opportunities for learners to continually develop their knowledge and skills. Composition, improvisation and performance are woven into this framework throughout all year groups, creating a broad musical experience for all.
We are currently working on creating a cross-curricular music programme that takes into account both the National Curriculum's standards and the themes taught in each key stage.
For instance, in Year 4 we study Brazilian music and try our hand at playing samba rhythms using our beautiful collection of Djembe drums, and in Year 5 we study various time signatures and repeated rhythms over a drone as part of our study of the life cycle. In Year 6, we examine how music was crucial in raising morale while learning about World War 2.
The class teachers deliver the music lessons. Currently, Key Stage 1 teachers continue to utilise the Charanga scheme of work while their scheme is being developed, while Key Stage 2 teachers are now using planning from our new scheme.
In Year 3, we also provide whole-class instrumental lessons with a specialist, peripatetic teacher as part of the Berkshire Maestros' In2Music programme. This programme is now providing recorder instruction to our Year 3 students. Weekly whole-school singing sessions are also led by a specialist singing teacher.
Extra-Curricular and specialist teaching
At Birch Hill we currently offer the following:
- Singing clubs across the key stages
- Children wishing to learn a particular string, brass or woodwind instrument may be given the opportunity to be taught by peripatetic teachers in accordance with Local Authority policies
which enable children to extend their musical interests, knowledge, abilities and appreciation while providing the opportunity for children to broaden their musical talents and develop their social skills.
Performance opportunities and links with the wider community
The school aims to provide children with a wide range of both group and solo performance opportunities through: Whole school and Key stage assemblies, parent assemblies and the participation in local carol concerts and Bracknell Forest Schools’ music events.
Links with the wider community will; continue to be built upon and enhanced through participation in carol concerts, church concerts, Bracknell Forest Schools’ concerts and performances, school galas, and visits to the community residences of senior citizens.
Music in action