At St James’s we believe that music is for everyone to enjoy and we take great care ensuring that the teaching is as inclusive as possible whilst also recognising the individual musical skills of many of the children.
Our intent is for all children to gain an understanding and love of music and for many to take up the learning of an instrument or join a school choir. We implement this through exciting, creative and innovative lessons based on active listening tasks and practical music making. The impact is seen in the greater focus of the children in all lessons, the development of their fine motor skills and a “can do” approach to life where a lifelong love of music will enhance the well- being and mental health of the children in future years.
From Nursery to Year 6, the guidelines of the National Curriculum for Music are followed through the three key concepts of listening, performing and composing which prepare the children for progression to secondary school. Singing is a vital part of the life of St James’s and there are three choirs that are open to all children from the relevant years. There is also an auditioned choir that meet bi-weekly and perform regularly in and out of school. Recognition of pitch, copying rhythmic patterns and singing are part of every lesson.
In Year 3 all children learn to play either a violin, cello or double bass and they perform to their parents at the beginning and end of the year so that progress can be clearly seen and heard. In Year 4, composition is the main focus alongside singing, with the children expected to compose rhythmic pieces and perform them to their peers. In Years 5 and 6 all children are taught to play both the recorder and the ukulele with many of them going on to join the after school clubs as they progress with the instrument. Year 6 children are also taught composition skills using Garageband technology on individual iPads with the best examples being added to the school’s website.
There are multiple opportunities for children to perform whether it be in assemblies, concerts or in class. We expect all children to be involved in the musical life of the school and firmly hold the view that,“Without music, life would be a mistake.”― Friedrich Nietzsche