Music at Britannia Primary School
Britannia Primary School’s aims in Music education are to:
Most of the music work carried out by the pupils at Britannia will be practical and will fall into the following categories:
Vocal studies (singing, chanting, call and response)
The repertoire includes cross-curricular songs, practice and performance of vocal material for assemblies, special events and specific occasions. Pupils sing songs that are taught to them aurally, from memory, from lyrics on sheets, overheads and from notation. Chants and songs will have their origins in western and non-western cultures. Singing helps the pupils’ understanding of rhythm, rhyme, syllables, vocabulary, spellings, musical intervals and helps them to internalise and retain information across the curriculum.
Percussion work (instruments of indefinite pitch)
These instruments are used to develop pupils’ perception of rhythm and pulse, to learn to play rhythmic patterns and to maintain individual rhythmic parts while the other players in the group are playing different ones. Our pupils learn to decode, read and understand standard rhythmic notation, encompassing various time signatures. Our instruments are from all over the world and various cultures and are used by our children to learn about particular musical styles, forms and genres. Pupils also learn about the origins, manufacture, materials and functions of the instruments, along with how to hold them and produce different timbres.
Tuned percussion work
Examples of tuned percussion instruments here at Britannia are glockenspiels, xylophones, metallophones and bells. These instruments provide an important developmental transition from rhythm alone, to the second dimension: melody, whereas percussion instruments of indefinite pitch are used purely for rhythm and sound effect.
In tuned percussion studies, our pupils learn to play and compose melodies within given structures; they play melodies from different countries, cultures, styles and forms from various historical periods, by ear, from memory and from notation. With regard to the reading and understanding of notation, the pupils at this school learn to read conventional staff notation in order to access a wide repertoire and to give them the necessary knowledge of theory that they will require in later years.
The essential skills, strategies and routines of practising independently and together, in order to improve fluency, dexterity, co-ordination and accuracy are taught, along with the art of ensemble work in which pupils learn to play multiple parts within a piece: for instance melody, chords and bassline.
Pupils in Years 4 and 5 receive whole class violin tuition, learning the basics of pizzicato and bowing, and learning to play scales and melodies. They learn how the violin makes its sounds and an appreciation of the origins and development of the violin through musical history.
In Years 4 and 5, our pupils learn a basic guitar technique and play melodies from staff notation. They learn about the history of the guitar and its development through the ages. Pupils are shown how to compose and notate tunes they create.
Basic ukelele technique is taught in Years 1 and 2 and developed in later years. Our pupils learn to position their fingers and obtain notes from open strings and frets, reading and understanding staff notation to play melodies as a whole class.
Pupils in Years 1 and 2 learn about ocarinas, their shape, design and how they produce their sounds. The children learn to play a range of notes and melodies in a whole class context.
Pupils in Years 1 and 2 learn to play melodies on keyboards from number lines, and from Year 3 upwards from staff notation. They learn the layout of keys, play melodies from the different periods of musical history, including renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, modern and pop. Our pupils learn to add harmonies and chords. Keyboard work enhances co-ordination, dexterity and retention of information. The technology on modern keyboards provides the children with the chance to emulate orchestral sounds, world percussion and effects. There are opportunities within our projects to work individually, in pairs and as a whole class. The children are taught how to play by ear, from memory and from notation. Keyboards are an essential tool in composition work, enabling creativity and composing skills to be developed.