Music Curriculum Overview
At Pope Paul School, we value music as a powerful and unique form of communication that can change and impact the way children feel, think and act. Our music curriculum aims to provide children with a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating and composing across a wide range of historical periods, styles, traditions and genres. Opportunities are provided which build the confidence of all children, encouraging them to develop their musical talents and share these with the wider community. We strive in particular for children to develop their relationship with God through liturgical singing and playing, and hope to instil in them a love and appreciation of music that they will carry with them when they leave Pope Paul School.
The music curriculum ensures that students sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as in weekly singing assemblies, liturgical performances, concerts, the learning of instruments, and the joining of our orchestra or one of our school choirs. Classroom activities follow the Music Express scheme of learning, through which children learn to recognise and play elements of music, listen to and appreciate music from a variety of genres, and perform as an ensemble. 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. This enables all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs, to flourish in this creative and stimulating subject.
Using the Music Express scheme, we ensure that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. Resources to support and supplement planning and teaching include Sing Up and BBC Ten Pieces, both of which provide activities, musical scores and cross-curricular opportunities for compositions of a wide range of styles and genres.
Pupils are offered the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with peripatetic teachers. Our peripatetic music teaching is organised by the Hertfordshire Music Service, where lessons are provided weekly for a set fee paid by the child’s parent or carer. Lessons in piano, voice, guitar and strings are currently offered. Pupils who learn a musical instrument have the opportunity to sit examinations and perform in our termly concerts.
Whole class instrumental teaching is provided at no cost to pupils. Year 3 children learn to play the recorder to give them a solid foundation in melody and reading music, whilst Year 4 children establish a strong sense of rhythm with weekly drumming sessions taught by a specialist percussionist. These links with the local music centre mean that our children can be signposted to further musical opportunities in the area where appropriate.
Frequent liturgies, assemblies, services and acts of worship all have music at their core, ensuring that children are continually immersed in music during their time at Pope Paul School.
In addition to lesson-by-lesson formative assessment, children are assessed at the end of the year according to age-related expectations in line with the National Curriculum. All pupils are given the opportunity to sing in the school choirs, resulting in the chance to perform locally (in church; at the local theatre; at old people’s homes; at local businesses) as well as further afield (at the Royal Albert Hall; at the o2 Arena). All children equally learn to play the recorder and the djembe drums, culminating in a performance at the Dame Alice Owen Music School drumming concert. We are very proud of our musical achievements at Pope Paul School and welcome parents to all performances and productions throughout the year.
Upon leaving Pope Paul School, our children are confident and dynamic musicians, ready to enter into the next stage of education. They have a strong awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres; they are able to create original and exciting compositions; they possess the ability to give precise written and verbal descriptions of pieces, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately; they display a passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities; they have a deepened appreciation of their faith, having moved closer to God through song and fulfilment of their God-given musical talents.