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 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. Besides being a creative and enjoyable activity, music can also be a highly academic and demanding subject. 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.
Music in our school
Pupils have the opportunity to explore the Music curriculum on a weekly basis. A Music teacher from the Southwark Music Hub leads the weekly Music sessions in KS2, as well as a 30 minute Hymn Practice, where the whole school has the chance to use their vocal range to praise. In KS1 and EYFS, the class teachers facilitate this learning.
Choir have a session after school every week where they practise for certain events. We have just taken part in the Young Voices concert this January and had an amazing time performing with thousands of other pupils from around London. It took place in the O2 and a lot of hard work and dedication to the choir had been shown by the children to make the experience as fantastic as it was. We have also performed in front of the library Peckham and at a Residential Home during the Christmas Season.
Southwark Singing Programme
Our pupils in KS2 take part in weekly singing sessions led by a vocal coach from Southwark Singing Programme. As part of this initiative, our children have the chance to perform in St George’s Cathedral frequently.
Rock Steady Music School
Alex, our band coach, rehearses with our 3 rock bands on a weekly basis. Parents have the opportunity to sign up their children to Rock Steady Music School, where they will learn to play an instrument.
The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
- Be taught to sing, create and compose music
- Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated.
At St Francis, the intention is that children gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. Our objective at St Francis is to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
The music curriculum ensures students sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as the weekly singing assemblies, various concerts and performances, the learning of instruments, and the joining of one of our many musical ensembles. The elements of music are taught in the classroom lessons with our Music Specialist, so that children are able to use some of the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. In the classroom students learn how to play an instrument, from all four main instrument groups of wind, strings, percussion and keyboards. In doing so, understand the different principle of each method of creating notes, as well as how to read basic music notation. They also learn how to compose focussing on different dimensions of music, which in turn feeds their understanding when listening, playing, or analysing music. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.
Extra-curricular opportunities are available to children that go beyond the Music Curriculum. Years 4-6 have the opportunity to be a member of the school choir. The choir meet once a week after school to practise and perform for certain special events e.g. Young Voices, Christmas concerts and Summer performances. They are exposed to a wide range of musical genres and regularly share their performances with the whole school during assemblies. Our school choir also have the responsibility of leading hymns during whole school mass in the church. A range of children from KS2 are chosen to further their musical talents in instrument lessons (violin and Ukulele). These are taught by music specialists that support the children in reading music and rhythm to perform songs on their instruments according to their ability.
It is intended that when pupils leave St Francis they will have met the attainment targets in the Music programme of study.
Whilst in school, children have access to a varied programme, which allows students to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a student may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music will also develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to students individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music, in as many ways as they choose- either as listener, creator or performer. They can dissect music and comprehend its parts. They can sing and feel a pulse. They have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives.