Music is a very important part of every child’s learning journey and is seen as an essential element of every child’s individual development.
Every child receives a class music lesson once a week by a specialist Music teacher in a dedicated Music room. The music lessons are planned to relate to the class termly topics and are often also integrated also with art, dance and drama. In every term they have the opportunity of singing songs, playing instruments, listening and appraising music of different times or cultures as well as either improvising or composing.
Singing underpins much of the learning in all music lessons. From reception they learn how to use their voices expressively and creatively, singing, chanting and speaking rhymes. There is always an emphasis on feeling a steady pulse in their bodies while singing. In year 1 and 2 they begin to understand simple songs using Kodaly Solfa pitch and rhythm signs and can notate the songs themselves using simple staff notation and graphic scores. Many of their songs are also topic based and they have many opportunities to perform throughout the year.
By Yr 3 they work on controlling their voices with good intonation and understanding of the Solfa signs and symbols. They start to sing songs in canon, as solos and small groups. They also begin to use their voices to improvise and compose. By Year 5, the pupils will sing in a round and simple two part harmony with increasing fluency and control. Each KS2 Year group has an opportunity of leading a performance each term and many have opportunities in taking leading roles.
There is also weekly hymn practise for KS1 and KS2.
The use of instruments starts in Reception and Year 1 with classroom percussion. These are used to accompany their songs either playing the pulse or rhythm. In Year 2 they start to transfer their simple Kodaly singing games onto chime bars and begin to work out melodies themselves. They also compose and improvise with these instruments. In Year 3 their knowledge is transferred to larger Xylophones and Glockenspiels. By the end of Year 3 they start learning the recorder. This skill is continued to be developed within Year 4 where they can learn more advanced music using notes up to an octave in range and are taught how to read staff notation. In Year 5 they learn some basic skills on the ocarina as part of a Mayan Music project. In Year 5 and 6 they also have the opportunity of playing Djembe drums, keyboards and guitars in various topics to accompany themselves using different rhythms, melodies and chords.
The use of technology is becoming increasing important for all music learning and making. The children are regularly filmed in order to assess themselves and progress throughout the year. We record their compositions and improvisations as evidence of their ideas. In upper KS2 we use electric keyboards to find interesting sounds for compositions and the children explore sequencing programs to compose music to accompany animations created in art and design.
Choir and band
The strong 40 piece school choir contains children from Year 4, 5 and 6 who would like to develop further their singing voices and have the opportunity to perform at various venues. We regularly attend the Brighton Centre event for all local primaries schools at Christmas time. We also like to visit a local care home to sing Carols for the local residences. Every other year we make a trip to a large scale London event at either the O2 or Wembley Arena in order to sing with other children from across the country and help raise money for charity.
The Choir also plays a key part in all the main school Masses and school events.
The school band contains up to 35 children from Years 5 and 6 who have been playing a musical instrument for at least 1 year. Our current band contains 3 pianists, 2 drummers, 8 guitarists, 9 Violinists, 1 Cellist, 2 trumpeters, 3 clarinetists and 1 Saxophonist ranging from grade 1 to grade 3 standard. They perform at many of the school events as well as having the opportunity in playing alongside older musicians from Cardinal Newman School.
We believe that every child who would like to play a musical instrument should have the opportunity in being able to do so.
We currently have on offer instrumental lessons on the following instruments, provided by teachers from Brighton and Hove Music and Arts; Keyboard, Guitar, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone horn and drum kit. The students learn in a small group up to 4 students and the lessons take place during the school day.
The lessons are weekly with an aim of having 30 over the academic year. The instrumental teachers play a key role in preparing students to gain the necessary skills to be able to play in the school band as well as preparing the students for exams or other performances.
Individual Piano lessons can also be booked in with Mark Moore as an after school activity.
We have an end of Year Music concert in order to celebrate the student’s instrumental learning.