What we aim to achieve through the music curriculum
At Oaklands, we aim to offer a well-rounded music curriculum using Charanga and other music resources. We believe that it is important to engage and inspire children to develop a love of music, whilst also encouraging them to pursue their own passions in the subject.
Our music teaching focuses on children’s ability to sing and learn about the structure of music. We aim to teach the year groups about different genres of music and encourage them to appreciate music in its different and varying forms. At Oaklands, children also have the opportunity to work on compositional skills, where they are able to work with others to refine and develop their work.
By the end of KS2, children are expected to show a deeper understanding of the curriculum. Among other skills, the children are expected to talk about music and how it makes them feel, using musical language to describe. When playing or composing, they are expected to play with the correct technique and listen and reflect upon developing compositions and make decisions about how the melody connects with the song. Children can contribute to the performance by singing, playing an instrumental part, improvising or by performing their composition and discussing their thoughts and feelings towards it afterwards.
We understand the need for children to understand the importance of music within wider community and that the pupils are able to use their skills in a variety of different contexts. Due to this understanding, we encourage pupils to participate in a range of musical activities in addition to classroom-based lessons. The children partake in year group plays, church services and weekly singing assemblies. We also offer personal music tuition, which can be added to enrich the curriculum and the opportunity to join the school choir and participate in the WASMA concert.
How we aim to deliver the curriculum
Pupils should be taught to:
- Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality music drawn from different genres and cultures, developing an understanding of the history of music.
- Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
- Use and understand musical vocabulary and notations
- Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes
- Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
Music is taught on a weekly basis, most commonly by either the class teacher or the additional classroom teacher. The Music curriculum ensures Oakland’s students sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as the weekly singing assemblies, the learning of instruments and opportunities to partake additional musical activities.
Children have access to a varied programme, which is taught using the programme Charanga. Charanga is an award-winning scheme that offers resources and progression in every lesson and is used throughout Wokingham, including in Oaklands Infants. The lesson plans are designed to be progressive and build on prior learning, moving from listening and appraise to a performance at the close of each unit.
The elements of music are taught in the classroom lessons so that children are able to use the language of music to partake in musical dialogue, and understand how it is created, played, appreciated and analysed. In the Charanga sessions, the children learn how to play the glockenspiels along with the Charanga programme which aids their understanding of musical notation.
It is expected that formative assessment is used and informs the planning and development of subsequent lessons. Charanga offer a Musical School Assessment Framework which uses a plan, do, check and review approach.
In addition to classroom practice using the Charanga programme, Berkshire Maestros also offer the children the opportunity to lean a musical instrument alongside a professional tutor. This opportunity is currently used within Year 3 and in recent years, children have had the opportunity to learn the ukulele and violas.
As well as additional Maestro’s sessions, we also offer the children the opportunity to learn an instrument of their choice through further personal tuition.
As well as music tuition, we also run regular singing assemblies which are run by year group staff. Within these assemblies, we aim to learn both a range of traditional songs and songs which promote our school ethos. We also aim to link our assemblies to important times within the year, such as Harvest or Christmas. To link to these assemblies, we have also offered the children the opportunity to join a school choir and partake in learning the belle plates for a performance.
Over the last few years, we have aimed to raise the profile of Music as a key area of development. As part of our continuing development of the Music curriculum, we have been awarded the Music Mark stamp of accreditation.
Guided by the subject leader, the school has also bought into the Charanga programme and undertaken a training session for the teaching staff. The school has also purchased the Sing Up programme that we regularly use within singing assemblies. In addition, we have also committed to partaking in the WASMA (Wokingham Area Schools Music Association) festivals and Schools Music Festival (SMF) in the Chapel at Wellington College when the situation allows.
The Music Curriculum
Throughout their time at Oaklands, children’s musical skills and understanding are built on throughout their time with us. The children are able to refine their techniques and skills which enables them to leave school as confident learners.
Though the varied opportunities, children leave Oaklands with an enjoyment of music and the ability to share their own thoughts and opinions. It is our hope that they also leave with an appreciation of differing genres and cultures that can be explored through music.
The impact of Music across the school is measured according to the following criteria:
Listen and Appraise – develop a curiosity for the subject and appreciate high-quality music drawn from different traditions.
Sing and Play – sing and play with developing confidence.
Improvise and Compose – compose and create simple melodies.
Perform and Share – perform, listen and review music.
At the end of Year 6 after following the Charanga scheme throughout the school, Oaklands Junior School pupils will have gained a progression of knowledge and skills from their time at the school and should leave equipped to succeed as they move on to secondary education.
By the end of Year 6, children will:
Listen and Appraise
- Describe the style indicators of a song and think about their message, showing an appreciation for a wide range of musical genres.
- Identify the instruments and voices they can hear and compare similarities and differences
- Talk about the musical dimensions used within a song
Sing and Play
- Sing in unison and with an awareness of tune
- Play instrumental parts accurately and in time using the correct technique
Improvise and Compose
- Improvise in lessons and as part of a performance
- Compose a melody using simple rhythms and as part of a performance
Perform and Share
- Contribute to the performance by singing, playing an instrumental part, improvising or by performing their composition
- Discuss and talk musically
From surveys and pupil discussions, it is clear children largely enjoy using the Charanga programme. They enjoy using it as it makes learning songs easier and allows them to be exposed to a wide range of musical styles and genres.
As a key target of the curriculum is to ensure children are exposed to a wide range of musical genres, to support this and integrate music into the school day, we have introduced a musical calendar during assembly times where a daily song is played as children enter the hall.
Children are enthusiastic about their experiences outside of the classroom and The Wokingham Area Schools Music Association (WASMA) continues to provide opportunities for pupils in Wokingham schools to make music together. Having performed in our first WASMA concert in June 2022 following the pandemic, we have signed up to partake again in May 2023. Oakland’s initial performance was a great success and a former Year 6 pupil summed up the group’s feelings when they stated, “I will never forget this moment. It was one of the best things I have done at Oaklands and it was a perfect way to end my time here”.
Prior to WASMA, a group of children from Years 3 to 6 also represented the school at Wellington College Schools Music Festival where they also performed to a large audience. Due to the interest of the children, we have also signed up for this for the following years.
Following from our Ofsted inspection, the Music Subject Lead is currently working with all teaching staff to continually develop confidence when teaching Music. During the academic year, staff meeting time has been allocated to look at assessment and the progression of skills during the children’s time at Oaklands Junior School, with the aim to further develop opportunities that show a clear progression of skills.