Music at Margaret Wix
Having fun in music! Our youngest children.
At Margaret Wix, we offer a music curriculum that strives to be ambitious so that each child develops a love for music. The central purpose of music education is to make music, think more musically and consequently become more musical. We believe in inclusion, in welcoming mistakes as integral to the learning process, and in the right of all children to a rich, challenging and fun musical education. Our curriculum is shaped to reflect the individual needs of all our pupils. It promotes diversity, celebrates differences and individuality, including children with special educational needs.
Our music teaches self-discipline, it aids well-being and mental health, and is an outlet for expression and creativity. Music is taught by a specialist from a music company, ‘Dragon of the North’. Classes are taught lessons on a weekly basis for 45 minutes per lesson and then the whole school joins together for 30 minutes to make music and sing with our music specialist. The music curriculum at ‘Dragon of the North’ is built on the fundamentals of rhythm, movement, coordination, listening, singing, solfege (syllables assigned to notes), improvisation, notation and composition. Each of these areas is carefully developed through phases and learning objectives map the progression from direct experience, to exploration, creation, performance and finally to reflection. Recordings are made of lessons and performances to aid reflection for both pupils and staff.
The Margaret Wix community is diverse and we understand the vital need for representation within our teaching. We ensure diversity across the curriculum: careful thought and planning has gone into selecting whose stories we tell and how they are told. Our curriculum has been re-examined and we have endeavoured to reduce the western bias. We strive to ensure that BAME pupils see themselves reflected in our curriculum, all year round. We call our personalised curriculum ‘The Wix Way’. In music, this includes learning about music and musicians from other cultures. Each week, we introduce a different musician in our assemblies, listen to their music and learn about their impact on society. We ensure that each musician provides contrast, ensures diversity and enables the children to see themselves in their learning and be aspirational for their futures.
Our specialist teacher has expert knowledge and personal experience of music. Teachers at ‘Dragon of the North’ also receive regular specialist training (including Hertfordshire training) and our children experience original music activities and techniques drawn up by the company. Visual, audio and kinaesthetic approaches are used. This includes elements of pedagogical traditions and theorists, including Bloom (hierarchical taxonomy model for learning) and Dalcroze (eurhythmics- teaching music through movement).
The music curriculum consists of six phases from Nursery/Foundation stage up to Year 6. The varied and comprehensive structures of these phases (to include the pillars of technical, constructive and expressive) allow all pupils to gain new skills that can be continued in secondary school and beyond. At the Nursery/Foundation stage, children enjoy an introduction to the fundamentals of music-making through a variety of games and repertoire. In Key Stage 1, children are taught to use their voices expressively and creatively, through songs, adding movement to music and speaking chants and rhymes. The children are encouraged to improve their skills playing tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They enjoy having the opportunity to create rhythms and beats in small groups. Listening skills are developed and children are introduced to and taught to recognise a range of high-quality live and recorded music.
In Key Stage 2, children are taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory. They are taught to appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and also from world-class composers and musicians, as well as developing knowledge of musical history. Music notation is also taught.
Our specialist music teacher teaches music of high standard and quality. His lessons are dynamic and he is passionate about his subject. He is able to listen to children with a high degree of patience as they take part in lessons and/or play their instruments and identify any key issues that hold them back from progress, as well as give direct feedback. One of the most effective ways in which our music specialist supports our children is through feedback on task components. This allows children to make progress quickly through the teacher supporting any areas that need support - one instance of success does not necessarily mean long term learning.
We teach music theory and believe that early exposure to the music language will increase the progress of our pupils and will give them skills to enrich their lives. The school has a very supportive ethos towards music and is working hard to ensure that extra-curricular musical opportunities are available to our children such as our thriving choir and Band Club. Teachers and teaching assistants from all areas of the school are involved in the delivery of music teaching through their attendance and participation at music lessons, delivery of our extra-curriculum offer and the development of the curriculum and how it compliments all areas of the learning at Margaret Wix Primary School through The Wix Way.
We offer instrument lessons such as guitar, violin and piano and can offer support to those who may need help funding these. We also have a choir with members from Early Years to Year Six. One class (at a time) also takes part in whole class music lessons, such as the ukulele. We also offer Music Nurture where music therapy plays an important part in supporting the children’s behaviour and wellbeing. All children at Margaret Wix have the chance to use their voice, body, tuned and untuned percussion. Also, they are encouraged to bring in the instruments that they are studying to play in lessons. At Margaret Wix, we hold music assembly performances, musical school plays, termly music concerts and are currently developing a community choir so those in the are can sing with the children in our school. We currently are well stocked with musical instruments to support and inspire our teaching of this important subject.
The impact of music at Margaret Wix is the result of the strength of our intent and implementation. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate their musical knowledge, skills and a love of music that they will retain over time. That would allow our children to have a wider musical appreciation, which would benefit their well-being or to go onto musical careers that meet their interests and aspirations.
Children’s achievements in music are assessed through a variety of ways and establish the impact of the teaching taking place. There is ongoing ‘live’ feedback and assessment made by the teacher to address misconceptions and gaps in learning and inform planning to ensure that the music curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils. Teacher assessment, monitoring of outcomes from learning walks and performances at various points in the year demonstrate the progress children have made from their starting points. Lesson observations, music displays and pupil voice activities are used to assess what children know, what they can do and whether they have gained more understanding or skill than previously shown.