Music.

Subject Leader: Mrs M Purves

Vision / Intent:

"...every child has the natural ability and desire to assimilate musical ideas and comprehend their combinations into musical forms."             Leonard Bernstein

Our aim is to deliver a range of high-quality musical experiences for all as part of a wider curriculum that helps children to achieve their potential.

Approach / Philosophy / Implementation:

All children at Holywell have the opportunity to sing, perform, compose, and listen and respond to music within their weekly Music lesson. In addition, the Music curriculum at Holywell strives to embody the following approaches:

  • Sound before symbol: notation is a key skill for musicians but knowledge of standard musical notation - and the available alternatives - should be developed alongside practical music-making opportunities.
  • Child-led music making: we start with each pupil's musical background, interests and aspirations. We work to ensure that our music lessons offer genuine opportunities for all pupils to develop their individual creative voices. 
  • Experiences which enhance cultural capital: close familiarity with a diverse styles of music helps pupils understand the cultural context of the society in which we live. It also enhances empathy and understanding with people from all over the world.
  • Equal opportunities for all to engage with music making: We strive to ensure that all pupils have equal opportunities to experience, enjoy and engage with music in all its forms.
  • Stylistic diversity: we believe in the inherent value of all styles of music, from all historical periods, and from all the world's cultures. We aspire to introduce pupils to as many of these as we can whilst they are with us at Holywell.

Department Members

  • Mrs M Purves          Music Subject Leader
  • Mrs P Gough           Music Teacher
  • Miss D Saunders    Music Teacher

Topic Overview 2021-2022

Year 5

Singing is embedded into each of the modules in Year 5. Students learn to sing in unison and in parts (rounds)

Autumn Term - What is Music?

Length in weeks: 12
Main focus: The unit covers an introduction to different instrumental groups, performing using graphic notation, and a group composition in response to a given stimulus. Listening and responding to a variety of different musical styles using appropriate subject vocabulary, including a focus on instruments of the orchestra.
Assessment focus: a group performance using graphic notation (Stars), a group composition (Fireworks) and a summative listening task.

Spring Term - Finding and playing the right notes and Introduction to Samba

Title of unit: Finding and playing the right notes

Length in weeks: 6
Main focus: Beginning to learn the ‘geography’ of the keyboard and basic stave notation. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Performing melodies and rhythms individually and as part of a small group (Battle Music). Formative assessment of ongoing listening work.

Title of unit: Introduction to Samba ‘The one where we learn to play and move’
Length in weeks: 6
Main focus: Beginning to learn to play Samba patterns as part of an ensemble using Remo Sound Shapes, developing aural and instrumental skills. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final ensemble performance, short composition exercises incorporating key elements of Samba.

Summer Term - Composing a piece for an audience

Length in weeks: 12
Main focus: Group composition work to develop pieces in response to a given stimulus (for example, BBC 10 Pieces ‘Earth’ task). Listening and responding to associated appropriate pieces. Notating work. Developing instrumental technique. Performance skills. Evaluating ideas and developing these within structures.
Assessment focus: Final composition, performance of pieces, written evaluation of final outcome, summative listening task.

Year 6

Singing is embedded into each of the modules in Year 6. Students continue learn to sing in unison and in more complicated parts.

Autumn Term

Title of unit: Programme Music

Length in weeks:6-8

Main focus: Composing short programmatic pieces using keyboards in response to a stimulus. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.

Assessment focus: Final composition, formative listening work.

Main focus: Composing in response to a stimulus, learning to perform Ode to Joy on the keyboard using correct technique. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire. 

Assessment focus: Final composition, solo performance, summative listening task. 

Title of unit: The Ukulele
Length in weeks: 6-8
Main focus: Learning to play the ukulele with appropriate technique including how to play a range of basic chords in context. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Group performances, formative listening work.

Spring Term

Title of unit: Improvising 1: ‘Maiden Voyage’ (Herbie Hancock)
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Modal improvisation using keyboards and tuned percussion in response to a given stimulus – Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Development of ideas from given starting points in formative and summative performances. Student self-evaluation. Formative listening work.

Title of unit: Samba 2 – ‘The one with the real kit!’
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Learning to play ‘Brazil’ using sound shapes and samba instruments. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final ensemble performance, short composition exercises incorporating key elements of Samba. Formative listening work.

Summer Term

Title of unit: 5 Finger Keyboard Technique
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Learning to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and/or other appropriate repertoire on keyboard focusing on correct technique. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.

Assessment focus: Final solo performance. Summative end of term listening task. 

Title of unit: Film Music

Length in weeks: 6

Main Focus: Composing music on keyboards and/or tuned percussion using leitmotifs inspired by, or to accompany, a short film clip.  Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus:
Final group performance, inc. notation of composition.

Year 7

Singing is embedded into the KS3 curriculum with regular opportunities to develop and extend technique and part singing across a range of different genres.

Autumn Term

Title of unit: Structure and Form in Western Classical Music
Length in weeks: 12 - 14
Main focus: Learning about different structures used in music e.g. concerto, variations, ground bass. Performance work based on excerpts from works studied. Composing and notating a variation on a given theme. Critically responding to a range of associated repertoire through listening activities.
Assessment focus: Group/individual performance of Mozart Rondo theme, group composition, summative listening task.

Spring Term

Title of unit: Improvising 2: ‘Chameleon’(Herbie Hancock)
Length in weeks: 4-6
Main Focus: Improvising over a given riff (Chameleon from Headhunters). Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Development of ideas from given starting points in formative and summative performances. Student self-evaluation.

Title of unit: Samba 3: ‘The one with Samba Reggae’
Length in weeks: 4-6
Main Focus: Learning to play a Samba piece with Reggae influences (from the Bahia region of Brazil) as an ensemble. Short composition tasks based on given material – e.g. writing calls and responses.
Assessment focus: Final performances of composite pieces and compositions. Formative listening tasks.

Summer Term

Title of unit: The Guitar
Length in weeks: 6-8
Main Focus: Beginning to learn to play the Guitar, focusing on basic technique and chords. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire. Learning to play Bob Marley’s 3 Little Birds (A, D and E)
Assessment focus: Final solo/ensemble performance of 3 Little Birds. End of term summative listening test.

Title of unit: Motifs, Patterns and Repetition
Length in weeks: 6-8
Main Focus: Learning about how different musical traditions play and write music based on motifs, patterns and repetition. Genres include, Minimalism, Gamelan and North Indian Classical Music.
Assessment focus: Final composition task. End of term summative listening test.

Year 8

Singing is embedded into the KS3 curriculum with regular opportunities to develop and extend technique and part singing across a range of different genres. N.B. The Year 8 SoW for 2021-2022 is focused on providing a recovery curriculum following the impact of Covid-19.

Autumn Term

Title of unit: The Firebird
Length in weeks: 6 - 8
Main Focus: Composing a piece in ternary form using themes from Stravinsky’s Firebird as a stimulus. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final composition, formative listening work.

Title of unit: Improvising 3: Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock)
Length in weeks: 4-6
Main Focus: Improvising over a given chord sequence (Watermelon Man). Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Development of ideas from given starting points in formative and summative performances. Student self-evaluation.

Spring Term

Title of unit: Keyboard development and technique
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Students choose a keyboard piece to work on for a solo performance assessment from a range of key repertoire including well known classical/pop music which builds on skills learnt in previous units. Focus on correct technique and aiming to play with 2 hands. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final solo performance. Summative listening task.

Title of unit: Ukulele/Guitar development and technique
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Students choose a piece to learn for a solo/ensemble performance from range of key repertoire which builds on skills learnt in previous units and includes more advanced chord sequences. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final performance. Summative listening task.

Summer Term

Title of unit: Samba 4:’The one with Hip-Hop/Drum and Bass’
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Learning to play Samba piece (s) with Hip Hop and Drum and Bass influences (Rapper’s delight). Short composition tasks based on given material – e.g. writing calls and responses. Listening and responding to appropriate repertoire.
Assessment focus: Final ensemble performance of given material and student compositions.

Title of unit: Student Choice Performance/Composition
Length in weeks: 6
Main Focus: Students choose whether to perform a solo/ensemble piece of their choice or to write and perform a composition for a chosen instrument and in a style/genre of their choice.
Assessment focus: Final performance and student self-evaluation.