At Ringmer Primary and Nursery School, we understand that music, in all its interrelated dimensions, enriches children’s inner lives, deepens understanding and access to learning throughout the curriculum, and supports emotional well-being and self-regulation in ways that other subjects can’t. Consequently, music teaching and learning at Ringmer aims to support children in developing confidence, creativity and self-worth through a broad range of activities, from active, critical listening to high quality music, to playing, singing and composition.
At Ringmer, children access music from a wide range of genres and traditions, including the classical canon, local traditional music and modern styles. Critical listening, playing and preparing to perform are all steps towards the greater aim of internalizing musical forms, towards developing a rich, confident inner self for every child.
Children learn about vocal health and rage, and use this knowledge when they learn to sing, appreciating the uniqueness, delicacy and potential of their own voices. They use technology in carefully designed steps to listen, learn about musical elements and then compose and record their own work. Singing, playing and composition are integral part of music learning at Ringmer, and through these children learn how music is created, produced and communicated to others. Our pupils use a careful blend of practical music-making and theory learning to understand all the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and notation.
Musical attainment and the subject content
At Ringmer, we use a comprehensive programme of study, and a blend of professional and classroom teaching to ensure pupils know, apply and understand all aspects of their musical learning.
Children sing rhymes, copy then develop their own rhythm patterns, use percussion instruments freely in play, singing and musical story-telling to take their first steps in music-making. Music listening, playing and singing are freely available to children in our free-flow continuous provision, and staff are on hand to support children’s musical development.
Key Stage 1
Pupils increasingly develop their understanding of voice health, needs and qualities, and use their own voices with increasing expression and creativity. Children are introduced to a wide range of songs, rhymes and chants, slowly developing a shared repertoire.
During music lessons, children use untuned and tuned percussion, especially chime bars, to accompany themselves when singing, but also to create rhythm patterns and to improvise within a carefully selected note range. Children experiment creatively with sound, using all the inter-related dimensions of music, and are carefully taught the technical vocabulary and skills needed to develop their skills further.
Key Stage 2
Children start by singing and listening with a greater degree of discrimination and are encouraged to analyse critically not only the music they hear, but also their own work. In Key Stage 2, children listen to a carefully selected range of music from all genres, with the aim of developing an aural repertoire of the musical cannon. They develop an understanding of composition through listening critically, then developing their own compositions to record, produce and perform. In Lower Key Stage 2, all children are learning to play a tuned musical instrument (currently, recorder), with the aim of developing musical skills but also self-worth and understanding of how music works from the inside. They will develop ensemble skills, accuracy, fluency, control and expression, as well as experiencing at first hand the use of the inter-related dimensions of music. In the Upper Key Stage 2, children further hone their skills through the use of instruments, voices and specialized software to compose, learn and perform their own work.
All pupils in KS2 work towards a careful and detailed understanding of music notation, including the use of the stave, keys signatures, notes and durations to develop their own compositions, as well as for reading music as they play. Through music lessons, assemblies and focused Learning Journeys, children access and discuss a rich and varied range of music. This gradually builds their knowledge and understanding of sound cultures, from our own folk, pop and classical music, to those around the world. We explore music from different historical periods, as well as works by different composers and musicians. The building of musical cultural capital is invaluable to support our children's access to their own emotions, and those of others.
Singing, performance and the community
Our school often resounds with children’s voices, be it when Early Years children begin or end their day with songs or nursery rhymes, when older children showcase their current assembly songs, prepare for an event, or simply learn a song for the joy of sharing the sound of their voices. We aim for all children to learn to sing in tune, and to experience the joy of harmony. Singing is a valuable tool we use to teach throughout subjects, and this is evident when we discuss the meaning of poetry in songs during music assemblies. Year groups take part in class performances, concerts for the community and big events such as the Big Sing, each time with joyous appreciation for the impact their contribution makes to the listeners, as well as their own inner selves.