We aim to provide a high quality music curriculum that engages and inspires a love of music at The Spinney. We want our children to develop a life-long love of music and have opportunities to develop their self-confidence, creativity and imagination. We offer opportunities for children to develop their talents in all aspects of music including composition, singing and appreciation through the scheme of work from 'Charagna'. We want all children to have access to tuned instruments so that they may experience what it is like to play together in a class group, with the hope that this may inspire them if they want to take their learning further. As well as having access to glockenspiels and recorders, children at The Spinney have the opportunity to learn to play ukulele as we have a class set available for use (this is not only taught by specialist teachers but also by the staff themselves who have received some training in playing ukulele). In order to encourage creativity and to increase opportunities for practice, ukuleles are available to children at break and lunch times to play outside with friends. Charanga also allows for children who are musically talented and who play an instrument outside of the school curriculum, to share their skills and perform on their instrument in class with their peers.
Music and singing also play an important part in the everyday life of our school. We hold a singing assembly on Thursday mornings, with a focus on modern music in our repertoire. The opportunities for performance to parents are very important as well, with a huge focus on performing high quality singing in our Nativity play at Christmas and the KS2 production in the summer. The opportunity to perform on Netherhall's fantastic stage with proper lighting and sound really raises the importance of performance and further encourages high quality performance from the children.
Children at The Spinney learn a wide variety of musical styles, instruments and skills. Each class has a weekly timetabled music lesson which incorporates musical appreciation, singing or instrumental practice and performance and occasionally another skill such as improvisation or composition. There are always short rhythm and pitch games included in our lessons which build children's confidence and sense of timing. This also means that music lessons are fun and vibrant sessions which the children thoroughly enjoy.
The Charanga scheme ensures that children make progression in the range of skills as improvisation, music appreciation, composition and performance are revisited regularly and built upon each year. Whilst introducing children to a wide range of music around a theme, each unit always focuses on learning to perform one song to a high standard by the end of the unit. Children will have a chance to sing part of the song and usually play part of the song on either the school's glockenspiels, recorders or even on their own instrument which they learn outside of school. Each week they continue to practise singing and playing with different ideas such as their own improvisation or composition in order to gain ownership of the piece. At the end each unit, the children decide how they want to perform the music.
Not only do we use the Charanga scheme, but we also plan in units of work which focus more directly on the skills of playing tuned instruments such as ocarinas and ukuleles. In these particular lessons, the focus is on teaching the children how to hold the instrument correctly, as well as reading basic musical notation and techniques for playing.
It is very important that children learn to listen carefully to the different elements of music and that they develop a critical voice about their own performance. This is why we record the children's performances regularly throughout each unit. They have the opportunity to listen to their own performance and to comment on what they think went well and what needs to improve next time.
As well as peer evaluation, teachers evaluate music in the same way as other foundation subjects, at the end of each unit. We use assessment documents in the Charanga scheme in order to find out whether children are working towards expected standard, at expected standard or at greater depth for their year group.