“And as I play the game of life
I try to make it better each and every day
And when I struggle in the night
The magic of the music seems to light the way”
John Lennon – world-renowned musician from Liverpool.
At Ursuline, our curriculum is designed with the intention of helping children to feel that they are musical and to develop a life-long love of music. In order to deliver this, we follow a Primary Music scheme called Kapow. We focus on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in order to become confident performers, composers and listeners. Our curriculum introduces children to music from all around the world and across generations, teaching our pupils to respect and appreciate the music of all traditions and communities.
Our pupils develop the musical skills of singing, playing tuned and untuned instruments, improvising and composing music and listening and responding to music. They will develop an understanding of the history and cultural context of the music that they listen to and learn how music can be written down. Through our curriculum, our children develop transferable skills such as team-working, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and presentation and performance skills. These skills are essential to their development as learners and have a wider application in their general lives outside and beyond school.
At Ursuline, our scheme takes a holistic approach to music, in which the individual strands below are woven together to create engaging and enriching learning experiences:
- The history of music
- The inter-related dimensions of music
Each unit combines these strands to capture pupils’ imagination and encourage them to explore music enthusiastically. Over the course of the curriculum, children will be taught how to sing fluently and expressively, and to play both tuned and untuned instruments accurately and with control. They will learn to recognise and name the interrelated dimensions of music – pitch, duration, tempo, timbre, structure, texture and dynamics – and will use these expressively in their own compositions and improvisations.
In each lesson, pupils will actively participate in musical activities drawn from a range of styles and traditions, developing their musical skills and their understanding of how music works. Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from independent tasks, paired and group work as well as improvisation and teacher-led performances. Lessons are interactive, incorporating movement and dance elements as well as making cross-curricular links with other areas of learning.
The impact of our curriculum can be constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities. Each lesson includes guidance to support our teaching staff in assessing pupils against the learning objectives and the end of each unit there is often a performance element where teachers can make a summative assessment of pupils’ learning. Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils by providing a highly visual record of the key learning from the unit, encouraging recall of practical skills, key knowledge and vocabulary.
After the implementation of our curriculum, our pupils should leave Ursuline equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed and thrive in their secondary education, as well as a life-long love of music and an appreciation of the arts.
The expected impact of following Kapow is that children will:
- Be confident performers, composers and listeners, able to express themselves musically at – and beyond – school.
- Show an appreciation and respect for a wide range of musical styles from around the world and will understand how music is influenced by the wider cultural, social and historical contexts in which it is developed.
- Understand the ways in which music can be written down to support performing and composing activities.
- Demonstrate and articulate a passion for music and be able to identify their own personal musical preferences.
- Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the national curriculum for Music.