At St Erme with Trispen, we believe that music should not only be taught and experienced in our classrooms, but achieve ubiquity within an enriched and engaging wider curriculum. At our school, we progressively promote the musical concepts of performance, composition, transcription and description. Knowledge and understanding is not confined to the school grounds; permeating our local community and providing children with the valuable performance experience that they require, in order to realise their potential as young musicians.
Music at St Erme with Trispen is taught by classroom teachers through use of the ‘Charanga’ scheme, which further subdivides children’s musical learning and experiences into four key, progressive skill areas. These are taught consistently throughout the key stages and ensure the provision of a rich and holistic musical education:
Rhythm & Pulse
The children first learn and play songs and games repeatedly. They then use the rhythm patterns from chants and songs they already know to begin to learn the rhythms and their names.
Children are taken on a journey from learning one-note songs to songs with all five notes of the pentatonic scale. The scheme is designed to include plenty of repetitive singing, while the game-playing element keeps children’s motivation levels high. Many games feature solo singing, thus allowing the monitoring of children’s pitch-matching ability. The songs and games are interactive and highly motivating.
These are a kinaesthetic way to learn, involving simultaneous sound and movement. They help children develop important thinking skills including memory, sequencing and concentration; physical skills such as motor skills and coordination; and they encourage friendships through interaction and turn-taking. The games are very inclusive by nature.
Children often think that music means instruments but although instruments are a fantastic means of musical expression, they are not the first step in the process, which is why we teach this as the final unit after ‘Rhythm and Pulse’, ‘Pitch’ and ‘Singing Games’ have been completed. We believe that children need to first vocalise sounds, then show their understanding of pulse and rhythm through body percussion before playing instruments. In this way, children have fully internalised the music before they play it. Instruments can be seen as an extension of children’s hands, so once they can clap a rhythm accurately they can go on to play it accurately. The children’s inner musicality is then extended by progressing to thinking the words and playing their instruments, in unison and in 2 parts.
Through the implementation of our music curriculum, we endeavour to produce passionate and skilled young musicians who possess:
- a rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work.
- a musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise.
- a very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres.
- an excellent understanding of how musical provenance – the historical, social and cultural origins of music – contributes to the diversity of musical styles.
- the ability to give precise written and verbal explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately.
- a passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities.