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Curriculum Leader: Libby Searle


Mrs Searle is our music leader and is responsible for this curriculum area. This means ensuring we teach an ambitious curriculum, supporting our teachers to implement our curriculum through high-quality lessons and checking that lessons are helping our children to know more, remember more and do more.


Purpose of study

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.



The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.


We are setting out to help our children feel that they are musical and to develop a life-long love of music.  We focus on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in order to become confident performers, composers and listeners.


Children will learn to develop the musical skills of:

  • singing

  • playing tuned and untuned instruments

  • improvise, compose and perform their own music

  • listen and respond to music


Children will also learn:

  • to develop an understanding of the history and cultural context of the music that they listen to

  • how music can be written down


Children will develop the following transferable skills which are vital to learning and the wider application in their lives beyond school.

  • problem solving

  • decision making

  • creative thinking

  • team working and leadership

  • presentation and performance skills



Our music curriculum takes a holistic approach to music, in which the individual strands of;  performing, listening, composing, the history of music and the inter-related dimensions of music are woven together to create learning experiences.  Each unit of work combines these elements within a topic designed to capture pupil’s imaginations and encourage them to explore music enthusiastically.  Where possible lessons are practical and pupils will participate in musical activities which are taken from a range of styles and traditions.  Through this they will develop their musical skills and their understanding of how music works.  Children will work in groups, pairs and independently, they will learn to improvise and perform.


We will do this by ensuring ...

  • Children are encouraged to ask questions and listen to music from different eras. 
  • Children have a broad and balanced curriculum and learn about the process of music and what other composers have gone through to be successful.
  • Children are given time to create, edit and reflect on their compositions.
  • A range of musical resources are used to help children develop their own musical compositions that they are proud of.



We will have made a difference when….

  • Children can compose with a purpose and perform with confidence, reflecting on and knowing what they can do to improve in order to be their best musical selves.
  • Children are curious about music and attentive listeners who are able to express themselves musically. 
  • Children can show an appreciation and respect for a wide range of musical styles from around world and will understand how music is influenced by the wider cultural, social and historical contexts in which it is developed.
  • Children understand the ways in which music can be written to support performing and composing activities
  • Children can demonstrate and articulate an enthusiasm for music and be able to identify their own personal musical preferences-explaining why they have chosen certain instruments in their compositions as well as why other composers have used certain instruments.

Units of Work


Year 1 Autumn 1

Pulse and rhythm (Theme: All about me)

Children learn to identify the difference between the pulse and rhythm of a song and consolidate their understanding of these concepts through listening and performing activities.


Year 1 Autumn 2

Pitch and tempo (Theme: Superheroes)

Learning how to identify high and low notes and to compose a simple tune, children investigate how tempo changes help tell a story and make music more exciting.


Year 1 Spring 1 

Classical music, dynamics and tempo (Theme: Animals)

Children use their bodies and instruments to listen and respond to pieces of classical music that represent animals. They learn and perform a song as a class and compose a short section of music as a group, with a focus on dynamics and tempo.


Year 1 Spring 2

Vocal and body sounds (Theme: By the sea)

Children make links between music, sounds and environments and use percussion, vocal and body sounds to represent calm or stormy seas.



Year 1 Summer 1

Musical Vocabulary (Under the Sea)

Journey into the unknown and explore under the sea through music, movement, chanting and the playing of tuned percussion instruments.



Year 1 Summer 2

Timbre and rhythmic patterns (Theme: Fairytales)

Through fairy tales, children are introduced to the concept of timbre; learning that different sounds can represent characters and key moments in a story. They explore clapping along to the syllables of words and phrases before creating rhythmic patterns to tell a familiar fairy tale.


Year 2 Autumn 1

West African call and response song (Theme: Animals)

Using instruments to represent animals, copying rhythms, learning a traditional Ghanaian call and response song and recognising simple notation, progressing to creating call and response rhythms.


Year 2 Autumn 2

Orchestral instruments (Theme: Traditional Western stories)

Children are introduced to the instruments of the orchestra and practice identifying these within a piece of music. They learn how different characters can be represented by timbre, how emotions can be represented by pitch and how changes in tempo can convey action.


Year 2 Spring 1

Musical me

Children learn to sing the song ‘Once a Man Fell in a Well’ and to play it using tuned percussion. Using letter notation to write a melody.



Year 2 Spring 2

Dynamics, timbre, tempo and motifs (Theme: Space)

Developing knowledge and understanding of dynamics, timbre, tempo and instruments. Learning to compose and play motifs.



Year 2 Summer 1

On this island: British songs and sounds

Creating sounds to represent three contrasting landscapes: seaside, countryside, and city.



Year 2 Summer 2

Myths and legends

Developing an understanding of musical language and how timbre, dynamics and tempo affect the mood of a song.



Year 3 Autumn 1


Children learn what ballads are, how to identify their features and how to convey different emotions when performing them. Using an animation as inspiration, children carefully select vocabulary to describe the story, before turning them into lyrics by incorporating rhyming words and following the structure of a traditional ballad.


Year 3 Autumn 2

Creating compositions in response to an animation (Theme: Mountains)

Learning to tell stories through music. Listening to music and considering the narrative it could represent. Paying close attention to the dynamics, pitch and tempo and how they change. Creating original compositions to match an animation, building up layers of texture.


Year 3 Spring 1

Developing singing technique (Theme: the Vikings)

The children develop their singing technique. Learning to keep in time and work on musical notation and rhythm, the unit finishes with a group performance of a song with actions.


Year 3 Spring 2

Pentatonic melodies and composition (Theme: Chinese New Year)

Revising key musical terminology, playing and creating pentatonic melodies, composing a piece of music using layered melodies.



Year 3 Summer 1


Learning about ragtime style music, traditional jazz and scat singing. Children create a jazz motif using a swung rhythm.



Year 3 Summer 2

Traditional instruments and improvisation (Theme: India)

Children listen to a range of rag and tal music, identifying traditional instruments as well as creating their own improvisations and performing as a class.


Year 4 Autumn 1

Body and tuned percussion (Theme: Rainforests)

A topic of discovery; children will explore the rainforest through music and be introduced to new musical terms. They will also use a mixture of body percussion and tuned percussion instruments as the children create their own rhythms of the rainforest, layer by layer.


Year 4 Autumn 2

Rock and Roll

Learning about the origin and features of rock and roll music, pupils learn how to play the Hand Jive and Rock Around the Clock, looking specifically at a walking bass line, before performing a piece as a class.


Year 4 Spring 1

Changes in pitch, tempo and dynamics (Theme: Rivers)

Learning to listen to changes in pitch, tempo and dynamics and relate it to something tangible and familiar. Linking to their geography learning, the pupils represent different stages of the river through vocal and percussive ostinatos, culminating in a final group performance. 


Year 4 Spring 2

Haiku, music and performance (Theme: Hanami festival)

This Japanese inspired topic looks at the springtime festival of Hanami, which celebrates the fleeting beauty of spring flowers. Children use descriptive vocabulary to create a Haiku, put it to music and finally add percussion sound effects to bring all elements together before a final, group performance.


Year 4 Summer 1

Samba and carnival sounds and instruments (Theme: South America)

Getting a feel for the music and culture of South America, children are introduced to samba and the sights and sounds of the carnival.



Year 4 Summer 2

Adapting and transposing motifs (Theme: Romans)

Drawing upon their understanding of repeating patterns in music, pupils are introduced to the concept of motifs.



Year 5 Autumn 1

Composition notation (Theme: Ancient Egypt)

Based on the theme of Ancient Egypt, children learn to identify the pitch and rhythm of written notes and experiment with notating their compositions, developing their understanding of staff notation.


Year 5 Autumn 2


Children are introduced to this famous genre of music and its history, and learn to identify the key features and mood of Blues music and its importance and purpose. They also get to grips with the 12-bar Blues and the Blues scale, and combine these to create an improvised piece with a familiar, repetitive backing.


Year 5 Spring 1

South and West Africa

Children learn ‘Shosholoza’, a traditional South African song, play the accompanying chords using tuned percussion and learn to play the djembe. They will also learn a traditional West African drum and add some dance moves ready to perform the song in its entirety.


Year 5 Spring 2

Composition to represent the festival of colour (Theme: Holi festival)

Exploring the associations between music, sounds and colour; composing and performing their own musical composition to represent Holi, the Hindu festival of colour that celebrates the beginning of spring and the triumph over good and evil.


Year 5 Summer 1

Looping and remixing

In this engaging topic, children learn about how dance music is created, focusing particularly on the use of loops.



Year 5 Summer 2

Musical theatre

Children are introduced to musical theatre, learning how singing, acting and dancing can be combined to give an overall performance.



Year 6 Autumn 1

Dynamics, pitch and texture (Theme: Coast - Fingal’s Cave by Mendelssohn)

Appraising the work of Mendelssohn and further developing improvisation and composition skills.



Year 6 Autumn 2

Film music

Exploring and identifying the characteristics of film music. Creating a composition and graphic score to perform alongside a film.



Year 6 Spring 1

Theme and variations (Theme: Pop Art)

Children explore the musical concept of theme and variations and discover how rhythms can ‘translate’ onto different instruments.



Year 6 Spring 2


In this unit, the children explore the music and composers of the Baroque Period and investigate the structural and stylistic features of their work.



Year 6 Summer 1

Songs of World War 2

Developing greater accuracy in pitch and control; identifying pitches within an octave when singing and using knowledge of pitch to develop confidence when singing in parts.


Year 6 Summer 2

Composing and performing a Leavers' song

Children spend the topic creating their very own leavers’ song personal to their experiences as a class.