☰ Exciting New Music Curriculum

Exciting New Music Curriculum

Posted on: September 16th 2014 | Category:

Music curriculum

The new school year sees the start of a brand new music curriculum for Norfolk House. I spent some time over the summer building a new program of music study for the whole school; looking at the topics that will be covered in each year group and tying in music learning with learning that will be going on in other subjects. This will allow music to extend the children’s understanding of other topics as well as providing opportunity for a far broader and more in depth exploration of music.

I feel that it is really important for children to be making music in their lessons, so the new curriculum provides lots of opportunities for composition, arrangement, playing instruments and singing - all of which the children will take time to critically evaluate in order to develop their performances and appreciation. Each half term provides a single musical project for the children which will culminate in a recorded performance. Every lesson will include some general musical skills work, for example rhythm games, and singing as well as the focused project work. I am also exploring ideas of working with professional musicians, other schools, orchestral workshops etc. to make the children’s musical experiences as rich as possible.

Linking the music learning to the children’s other topics has allowed for a really varied and exciting program. Here is a little taster of what you might be hearing throughout the year: Sound collages and graphic notation inspired by Matisse’s collaged Artworks; songwriting and ‘Musical voice’ through investigation of Tim Minchin’s ‘Matilda’, extending learning about Roald Dahl in literacy; composition of soundscapes for a land of dinosaurs to develop early understanding of dynamics and tempo; composition and arrangement of Raga (melody) and Kirtan (call and response) to accompany dance / movement inspired by Hindu music; an exploration of emotion through music associated with war, for example trench songs and notions of morale to the poignancy of Verdan Smailović’s cello playing in the rubble of the siege of Sarajevo.

At the time of writing, the children have had only one music lesson this year, but already I have been completely thrilled by their responses. Reception have played some funny games exploring rhythm and movement and were very impressive following the conductor whilst performing as a crazy choir. Pre Prep - as they started exploring the history of the seaside through the sounds of Wurlitzers, ice cream vans and brass bands - really made me smile when responding to a crackly old vinyl recording of ‘Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’. They suggested that the crackling sound was because “the man who is singing was frying a fish.” Form 2 have started to explore Roman music and have already experimented with instruments to select a range that they feel able to replicate a ‘Roman sound’ with as they start thinking about creating their own Roman composition. Form 3 have been identifying types of weather and how dynamics, texture and tempo are used to create weather like effects in classical music, with wonderful sensitivity and insight. Form 4 have been impressively perceptive when listening to film scores to accompany imaginary settings and were able to articulate wonderful descriptions of the landscapes and atmospheres the music conjured.  Form 5 have started to explore and evaluate versions of two songs (‘Oh, When the Saints Go marching In’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’) in preparation for producing their own arrangement of the songs for a dynamic ‘Sing Off’. They expressed really sophisticated responses to the tracks we played and surprised me in almost unanimously deciding that meaning in ‘Swing Low’ was far better expressed through the simplicity of Johnny Cash’s performance than the power of Beyonce’s richly produced version. Form 6 have investigated a range of protest songs to determine characteristics and styles that they might employ in their own arrangements and performances of ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around’. The children were incredibly thoughtful and mature in their responses and a lot of strong views were expressed in the lesson.

So my start to the new academic year has been incredibly exciting and rewarding already. And there’s more - a new Norfolk House School Choir starts rehearsing on 16th September and I am really looking forward to working on a range of challenging, beautiful and exciting songs with the children. There will be some simple songs to develop our listening skills and ability to sing parts and harmonies, some fun songs, some pop songs, some world songs, some traditional songs and some games - for warm up and for developing specific skills. So listen to this space - hopefully you will be hearing some wonderful musical performances very soon!

Mrs. Crawford

← All school blogs

Request a Prospectus E-Newsletter Photo Gallery

Back to the top