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Music


Principals and Purpose of the Music Curriculum

The purpose of the Music curriculum is to:

  • Enable all pupils to develop their musical potential through engaging experiences, recognising that music as art is an important part of cultural identity. We also recognise that music benefits both cognitive development and character development. Performing is a crucial part of this.
  • Encourage and prepare students for lifelong musical learning and appreciation, both in and out of school, including preparation for further study if appropriate.

Learning music is a cultural entitlement for every child, and we hope that our approach will ensure that all pupils receive this and are successful in their learning.

The following principles have informed the planning of the United Learning curriculum across all subjects.

  • Entitlement: All pupils have the right to learn what is in the United Learning curriculum, and schools have a duty to ensure that all pupils are taught the whole of it.
  • Coherence: Taking the National Curriculum as its starting point, our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that powerful knowledge builds term by term and year by year. We make meaningful connections within subjects and between subjects.
  • Mastery: We ensure that foundational knowledge, skills, and concepts are secure before moving on. Pupils revisit prior learning and apply their understanding in new contexts.
  • Adaptability: The core content – the 'what' – of the curriculum is stable, but schools will bring it to life in their local context, and teachers will adapt lessons – the 'how' – to meet the needs of their own classes.
  • Representation: All pupils see themselves in our curriculum, and our curriculum takes all pupils beyond their immediate experience.
  • Education with character: Our curriculum - which includes the taught subject timetable as well as spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, our co-curricular provision, and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – is intended to spark curiosity and to nourish both the head and the heart.

Here we explore these principles in the context of the music curriculum:

  • Entitlement: Pupils should receive one hour of discrete music teaching each week at Key Stage 3. Where possible the curriculum should encompass activity from outside of the classroom and build on pupils’ learning from beyond the classroom; progress in music comes from formal, non-formal and informal musical experiences.
  • Coherence: It is more important for pupils to fully understand the key concepts presented than to cover lots of curriculum content. Progress and development are more assured as the curriculum content is sequenced. By working in this way, the dangers of a ‘shallow musical odyssey’, where pupils travel from genre to genre without making links between styles or building on their skills, are also avoided.
  • Mastery: The curriculum is based on a mastery model, in which the ambition is that all pupils are taught and achieve the essential knowledge and skills in each of the years of the curriculum so that both knowledge and skills can be re-used effectively in future learning to achieve greater depth of musical learning and outcome. Students should begin to specialise as they progress through their school curriculum, choosing an instrument to ‘master’ over time.
  • Adaptability: Musical activity in United Learning schools is likely to look different. Our distinctive schools each have a unique offer based on the individual strengths of the teaching staff, the size of the team and the space and resources available alongside other factors. It is important to develop the strengths of each school whilst also recognising the need for a locally determined curriculum that meets student needs.
  • Representation: The music curricula in our schools is unlikely to remain static for long periods of time. It needs to respond to the changing nature of the school and society. A curriculum that recognises the musical lives of children and young people, building on this prior learning and experience, will resonate with pupils.
  • Education with character: Music plays a vital role in delivering a values-led education, aiming to:
    • Give our pupils ambition: to perform to a high standard, and to support others who also aim for high standards.
    • Build confidence: to perform in both small and large settings as a member of a wider ensemble, participating in memorable occasions that contribute to the school life and community.
    • Foster creativity: to compose and improvise with skill, building on prior experiences.
    • Instil respect: for each other in performance, and the artistry of musicians from all backgrounds.
    • Drive enthusiasm: to pursue musical talents and interests through an engaging curriculum and co-curriculum.
    • Encourage determination: to persevere and strive when refining and improving performance and composition.