Music Rationale for Holmes Chapel Primary School

The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
• Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
• Be taught to sing, create and compose music
• Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated.


Curriculum intent:

At Holmes Chapel Primary School, children are exposed to diverse artists and performers from different genders, cultures, traditions, styles and genres to enhance their global and cultural understanding of the past and present world.

Children experience quality music first hand through visitors within school and visits out of school.  They have access to high quality resources inside and outside of the classroom, which ensures we are covering the National Curriculum requirement to ‘engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement’. They have access to ICT to allow them to compose, observe and respond to Music using up to date techniques.


Children have opportunities to develop and enhance their performance with voice and instruments by following a clear progression of skills and technique taught through the scheme we have chosen, such as vocal and instrumental control.

All children, regardless of ability, are given the chance to express themselves through performing and composing, and are praised for their contribution.

As a result:

Children will accept the validity of all kinds of music as of equal value to the performers and audience.

Children are able to articulate their opinions about their own and others’ performances.

Children view performing and listening to Music as an enjoyable, stimulating experience to enhance wellbeing and self-confidence through teamwork and individual expression.


Curriculum Design (key concepts)

Music is taught through the scheme of work ‘Music Express’ published by Collins in a series of 7 books, one for each year group from EYFS to Year 6. All year groups Are taught one unit of Music per term, three in total, using carefully selected units from the scheme to ensure all skills are covered.  Additionally, children have the opportunity to take part in a performance for an audience.

Music Express is a classroom based scheme which includes practical and theoretical lessons across units with clear objectives and provides visual and aural resources designed to introduce concepts. These build upon a sequence of skills and concepts to create awareness of the interrelated dimensions of music (pitch, tempo etc). The scheme was redesigned to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 (see appendices Music Express Skills by Unit Y1-6, Music Express Y1-6 Curriculum Map and Music Express Skills Progression Overview Y1-6 documents).  The scheme has been designed for use by teachers with little confidence or experience in music, but allows flexibility for music specialists.  This means that whatever the experience of the teacher, Music teaching will be high quality across all year groups. Music Express also allows for cross curricular teaching with lessons mapped across Core and Foundation subjects (see appendix Music Express Cross Curricular document).



The skills taught are:


Playing instruments


Composing (from Year 3 onwards)





In EYFS pupils are taught to

Sing a range of nursery rhymes and familiar songs

Sing in a group or on their own, increasingly matching the pitch and following the melody.

Listen attentively, move to and talk about music, expressing their feelings and responses.

Explore and engage in music making and dance, performing solo or in groups.

In KS 1 pupils are taught to

Use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes

Play tuned and untuned instruments musically

Listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music

Experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter- related dimensions of music


In KS2 pupils are taught to

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression

Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the interrelated dimensions of music

Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory

Use and understand staff and other musical notations

Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians

Develop an understanding of the history of music


In addition to the core Music learning

Pupils have the opportunity to take private or small group lessons provided by outside tutors. These take place in school at lunchtimes or after school and include guitar and ukulele, woodwind and piano. Pupils in Years 4-6 are offered the chance to join the after school singing club which performs at school and community events as well as the Young Voices concert. This is opened to Year 3 in the Summer term to encourage them to join in September of Year 4.

All children have the opportunity to sing in assemblies with the whole school learning the same song from a bank. They also take part in class, year group and Key Stage performances.

Through Piece of the Week, a cross Trust initiative, children have the opportunity to listen to music from a range of cultures, time periods and styles with a discussion and/or practical task.

In Year 3, all pupils learn to play the recorder.

In Year 4, all pupils learn a wind or brass instrument through weekly group lessons delivered by Love Music Trust tutors.  This is instead of the Year 4 Music Express units but covers the required elements.


Assessment is carried out by the teacher throughout a lesson, making judgements based on progress against lesson objectives and final end points that is included in each Music Express lesson.  End points are used to formulate learning objectives and design activities.  Pupils develop their art knowledge and skills, building on what has been taught before, so they can reach the end points.

Pupil self and peer assessment is an important part of the children’s understanding of their work, as it enables them to support one another and can have a significant impact on progress. Teachers plan peer and self-assessment opportunities in lessons by clear explanation of the learning objectives and the learning outcomes.  The children are given frequent and consistent opportunities for reflection on learning in order to identify their own and their peers’ next steps.

As music is often a practical subject there will not always be recorded examples of work, though when they are, they are recorded through photos of work (or SMART notebooks), videos of performances and are stored in Year group folders on the school system.

In Year 4 children are assessed on their developing ability with their instrument at the end of each term.  Love Music Trust tutors provide written reports of these assessments, grading the children as Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on ability.

At the end of the year, teachers record which children are working towards, have met or exceeded the objectives on the End Points document. This is passed forward to the next year’s teacher.


All of our children have access to high quality teaching in Music and the approaches of cognitive and metacognitive strategies, explicit instruction, using technology and scaffolding are interwoven into our teaching along with adapting materials, equipment and resources

All children are given the opportunity to participate in lessons and performances, including playing instruments. Occasionally a child’s sensory needs might be best met by a shorter session, in which case the child will be supported with an adult to leave the session for a break. Sometimes children might choose to wear ear defenders, and their seating position in the classroom will be taken into account by the teacher. If a child has mobility needs, the teacher will consider how best to support them in accessing the instruments (for example an adult helping to support the instrument or use of a particular instrument).


Appendices: 4 documents provided by Music Express

Music Express Skills by Unit Y1-6

Music Express Y1-6 Curriculum Map

Music Express Skills Progression Overview Y1-6

Music Express Cross Curricular



We have a wide range of peripatetic music teachers who teach lessons in our school at lunchtimes or after the end of the school day.  These are organised and run by Love Music Trust.  If you are interested in finding out more, follow this link to their webiste.




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