Our Music Ethos

Music is at the centre of our curriculum. It will be taught as a discrete subject and will also support learning across the whole curriculum. The aim is to enhance and develop the talents of our children through engaging, creative and diverse musical opportunities. Singing will be developed from the earliest stages because of its links to language intonation, rhythm and creativity.

Making music and performing has the potential to enhance children’s ability to learn more effectively and boost their self-esteem. Research has demonstrated music’s impact upon pupils’ ability to process information, reason and make sense of the world around them. Music strongly supports literacy and numeracy, as well as providing opportunities for the development of their creativity and self-expression. Studies have shown that music instruction improves pupils’ memory, vocabulary, and enhances language development.

We will:

  • Offer the highest quality of specialist support for children with particular talents in music, both vocally and instrumentally
  • Use music to reach out to all pupils (regardless of the circumstances of their birth) and identify and address those pupils who are under-achieving, to engage, motivate and inspire them
  • Use the unique context of choral riches provided by our location to support and extend this theme, as well as seeking to provide specialist support for gifted and talented pupils from other schools in the wider Chester area.

What is music?

Music is so much part of everyday life that its nature and purpose are rarely questioned. It is a diverse and lifelong activity, which is enjoyed by people of all ages. As a universal part of all cultures music exists in a huge array different forms which are used for a vast multitude of differing purposes at a great many levels of complexity.

Music is a non-verbal form of communication that can convey ideas, images and feelings through selected sounds and symbols. Music is a source of history, reflecting the social and cultural context and the era of its creation; at times music can even portray the country, the mood of the people or the thoughts of the individual who lives there.

Music involves people, regardless of whether they're making it or listening to it, those people are deeply and irrefutably involved. These are unique ways of interacting as they both entail the construction of sound patterns and structures through reflection and analysis. Making music is a kinaesthetic activity, requiring the body and the mind to co-ordinate and interpret simultaneously.

Most importantly music is an art that combines many concepts and techniques and uses them to inspire, to imagine, to invent and to express feeling. These are the features of listening and responding, performing and composing, on which the curriculum is based.

Music in a child-centred curriculum

Music is an indispensable part of the child-centred curriculum as one of the range of intelligences and as a special way of knowing and learning. Musical activity challenges the child to act in unique ways to listen discerningly to his/her own music and the music of others, to sing, play or read sensitively and accurately, and to evaluate critically. In posing these challenges music contributes to the development of artistic awareness, self-expression, self-growth, self-esteem and multicultural sensitivity and therefore to the development of the whole child.

An important aspect of music in the curriculum is the way it contributes to the personal, social, mental and physical development of the child. Co-ordination of mind and body is achieved through singing action songs, playing singing games, tapping rhythms, moving to music, playing in time while simultaneously listening to others and following directions or reading from notation.

Speech development is fostered through working with vocal sounds, chanting, singing nursery rhymes and songs, experimenting with vowel and consonant sounds and learning to control breathing. Language development is enhanced through exposure to a wide variety of songs, containing new words, idioms and phrases. These words are used and extended in responding to music, describing sounds heard, feelings sensed or stories related.

The development of listening skills, a critical aspect of all learning, receives special attention through the exploration of sound and the identification of and discrimination between sounds in the environment leading to increased sensitivity to musical works. Listening skills are also emphasised in performing and composing activities where the development of 'inner hearing' (or thinking in sound) is nurtured.

The development of both long-term and short-term memory occurs mainly but not exclusively through performing. Musical activities such as echo-singing and clapping develop short-term memory while rote learning of songs, rhymes or games help to extend the capacity of long-term memory.

Opportunities to develop the imagination arise in unique ways in the music curriculum through listening to familiar and unfamiliar musical works, hearing sounds internally, creating sound pictures or stories and expressing feelings and emotions in sound. This type of imaginative work also enhances spatial reasoning which is the brain's ability to perceive the visual world accurately, to form mental images of physical objects and to recognise variations in objects.

As a collaborative, interpersonal activity music develops social skills through group performing or composing projects where ideas, instruments or specific skills are shared. It also provides opportunities for the development of lifelong leadership skills and fosters verbal and non-verbal communication. Music enhances the child's self-esteem through allowing him/her to see his/her own inventions valued and enjoyed by others, and to participate in singing games, songs, dances and group performances where each individual's contribution is vital to the group's success.

Music is an integral part of the child centred curriculum not just because it enhances other areas of learning but because it deepens the child's sense of humanity. Music is an important factor in teaching children to recognise beauty and to be sensitive to and appreciate the world in which they live much more.

 


 

Ofsted express the view that children’s involvement in music engages and re-engages pupils, increasing their self-esteem and maximising their progress in education and not just in music. (Making more of music: an evaluation of music in schools 2005/08, Ofsted, February 2009.) 

Making music and performing has the potential to enhance a wide range of cognitive skills in children and boost their self-esteem. Engaging them with a range of types of music enables them to gain some understanding of the significance of music around the world, and of how particular types of music reflect their culture of origin.  Robust research has demonstrated music’s impact upon pupils’ ability to process information, reason and make sense of the world around them.  Music strongly supports literacy and numeracy as well as providing opportunities for the development of their creativity and self-expression.  Studies have shown that music instruction improves pupils’ ability to remember words and so advance their vocabulary, and also enhance language development.


Good practice in music teaching should always aspire to an integration of listening, composing and performing. Hennesey, S Creativity in the music curriculum cited in  A. Wilson (Ed) 2009; Creativity in Primary Education.

Hennesey’s notion will underpin the way music will be taught across the school. Every child will be treated as a developing musician and will take part in a daily music programme designed to reinforce, develop and enhance all areas of learning. The programme will comprise many musical skills including singing, listening, playing instruments, theory, history and performance and there will be a range of choirs, ensembles, bands and orchestras within the school and our community. There will be formal music lessons each week and every child will learn to play an instrument. There will be an opportunity to sing every day and also to take part in a range of other musical activities before and after school and as part of the extended year programme. Several music practice rooms of various sizes are included in our designs. Appropriate accreditation will always be supported and encouraged but “the evidence suggests that for children to get the most from music education, it needs to be enjoyable, challenging and also achievable. It needs to be supportive and provide space for children to be creative, and include group activity to help build social skills.” (The Importance of Music, 2011)

In conjunction with the University and the Cathedral, we will seek to develop a centre of musical excellence to benefit not just our pupils, but also pupils from all schools in the area.  We will quickly seek to establish a group of young gifted musicians drawn both from our own pupils and those of other schools in the area. This group will practise regularly at the school and be “accelerated pathfinders” in terms of demonstrating what our wider community will be able to produce on a regular basis when our school is fully operational. They will perform at the school and the Cathedral as well as in the University, Chester and beyond.