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Music in the primary curriculum?

(64 Posts)
beautifulgirls Sun 11-Nov-12 18:11:36

Specifically DD is now in year 3 (KS2) and as far as I can make out from her they do no class music lessons, but according to her they have whole school (yr3-6) singing assembly once a week and they are told this is their music lesson. No instruments of any sort involved and according to DD (so may not be accurate) they don't have any additional lessons in other years above her either.

If the above according to DD is correct then is this within guidelines for school music provision? It seems to me to be fairly lacking really.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 11-Nov-12 18:40:27

Depends on how it is being done. There are now curriculums for music specifically designed to be voice only and fit larger groups (see Jolly Music for a good Kodaly based one) both due to the current economic condition and to ensure all children can have good musical knowledge with their own free instrument. You'd need more details.

bowerbird Sun 11-Nov-12 20:23:58

Grrr is correct. Just because it doesn't involve an instrument, doesn't mean it isn't serious. Singing is the basis of any serious music education. Done well, you would learn the building blocks of music: pitch, rhythm, and melody; eventually leading to sight-singing and ability to read music.

Also, I have to say that many instrumental programmes in state schools aren't very good. Could I ask whereabouts are you? There may be a youth orchestra or some local government/council funded initiative. If you're very keen for DD to learn an instrument, you may do better exploring those options than depend on a state school music programme to deliver isntrumental tuition.

Good luck!

mrz Sun 11-Nov-12 20:27:47

many schools use the singup programme

ReallyTired Sun 11-Nov-12 20:32:48

That does sound appauling, but school music is rarely well taught. The range of ablity is just too great in a typical primary school. Even private schools struggle as the divide between children learning music outside school and everyone else is too vast. A lot of primary schools have no clue how to teach singing. Primary school singing often sounds terrible as a result.

Ds school does music and its mostly singing, although they did do recorder for a year in year 3. If you want your children do music then a lot of councils have a saturday morning music school. Both my children do county run music activites outside school. Ds has a 20 minute individual guitar lesson through school.

mrz Sun 11-Nov-12 20:39:22

We teach Ocarinas in KS1 Recorders Clarinet, Saxophone, Violin, Cello, Cornet, keyboard and have a Ukelele choir,as well as singing

clam Sun 11-Nov-12 20:48:50

Ask at the school to verify what your dd is saying. If it's correct, it doesn't sound good to me. Even if that singing assembly is bloody good, it still wouldn't tick all the boxes.

beautifulgirls Sun 11-Nov-12 20:49:13

I will have a proper chat with the school and find out more I think about what is actually happening. I am not so worried re DD1 as she is not especially musically inclined, but DD2 loves the music lessons she does at her current (infant only with a dedicated music teacher) school. There is as far as I can tell no music teacher in the Junior school and it seems such a contrast to the sort of thing they did for KS1 which was much more like what I had expected. I am not sure how 280+ children together doing a bit of singing in a hall can really be a music lesson, though I can see on a smaller scale how the programmes suggested above would work.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sun 11-Nov-12 20:53:58

I'm curious about this too in that my daughter has done a fantastic pre-school music programme, and is about to go off to state school. I'm not musical myself so I have no idea how to support her other than to pay a lot for private tuition - but not sure I want to start that so young!

alcofrolic Sun 11-Nov-12 21:38:56

mrz, is that a list of private lessons, or is that open to anyone?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sun 11-Nov-12 22:59:11

We are extremely fortunate with our state junior school, but I know this is not the case everywhere. They have weekly very good curriculum music lessons, with one of the two teachers in school who are music specialists, weekly school singing, weekly free recorder lessons in ability groups for the whole four years of KS2, (you do have to buy the recorder), and access to paid for piano, guitar, brass, woodwind and violin lessons. There is an extra-curricular school choir which is inclusive to all above Y4, an orchestra (which includes recorders and percussion so is accessible to everyone) and a woodwind ensemble.

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 17:33:27

no alcofrolic they are open to anyone from Y1 upwards (obviously clarinet saxophone children need to be physically able to reach the keys and usually best if they have front teeth)

alcofrolic Mon 12-Nov-12 18:55:36

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 19:02:28

They pay a small fee for keyboard lessons and Glee club

alcofrolic Mon 12-Nov-12 19:21:31

'......Clarinet, Saxophone, Violin, Cello, Cornet,......'

you mean those lessons shock
How does that work?

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 19:31:04

The children get a letter and if they are interested they put their name down and get a weekly lesson.

alcofrolic Mon 12-Nov-12 19:41:44

Free lunches and free music lessons?
.....when we have no hot lunches whatsoever, miniscule (and rapidly decreasing) subsidies from the Music Service and pressure from all quarters to tutor you child from the womb for the 11+.........

Money buys it all down here. I'm going to ship all our poor kids up north. sad

DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 19:43:49

The junior school my dd2 is in is lucky in that it's large enough to support a full time music teacher. All classes get 1 lesson (about 1hr) a week.
In year 3 all do the recorder as part of this hour.
In year 4 each child gets to learn another instrument (trumpet, french horn, flute, clarinet, euphonium, trombone) as a whole (or in some cases half) class. This costs around £20 for the instrument hire for the year plus lessons. There is an option to continue learning it the next year (again as a group) (think this is county wide idea)

Individual lessons are around £11 each, pay by the term, and can learn: piano, violin (and other string-one learnt the double base for a time), guitar, percussion, as well as the other instruments mentioned above.

Also run by the music teacher is choir (open to everyone), boys choir (very popular, partually because they get to miss assemblygrin), audition choir (30 children), recorder clubs done by year and "orchestra"-open to anyone who learns any instrument and is either grade 1 or has been learning a year (although I suspect if a child who didn't learn anything wanted to join she would find something for them as she's very good at including them).

There's concerts 1-2 times a term, plus the audition choir does a lot of external concerts. Some of the external concerts are also open to year 5 and 6 regular choir attenders.

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 19:44:20

My LEA used to provide free school meals for all pupils but that stopped in September due to budget cuts.
We have a number of talented musicians on our staff and our business manager managed to secure grants for instruments.

alcofrolic Mon 12-Nov-12 19:57:29

We have a very active orchestra (run by our strings teacher), but inevitably it turns into a very elite club of children whose parents can afford the lessons (apart from recorders, which is run by a mum and TA).
Unfortunately, we couldn't afford PE AND music tuition in PPA time, so teachers all teach their own music.

Saying that, two members of staff are teaching whole class ukulele and one teaches drums, but they are just a step ahead of the children IYSWIM. A few years ago, we took part in a county-wide initiative for whole class drum lessons, but these cost £3000 for one year group for the year.

I often think I live in the wrong county.

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 20:02:32

We don't use tutors for PPA cover (in KS2 PPA is usually covered by our science teacher) and in KS1 Forest school. Music and PE tuition are usually outside normal teaching hours.

BrigitBigKnickers Mon 12-Nov-12 20:32:44

This is a big bug bear of mine.

My DDs had virtually no class music lessons- a bit of singing for school plays (not every year) and half a term of recorders in year 4.

Neither of them laid a hand on so much as a tambourine for the four years they were there. There were no opportunities to compose or peform on tuned or untuned percussion instruments and the school orchestra was full of children who had private lessons (and this is what OFSTED saw so naturally they though the music was outstanding...) I complained about it every time we were sent a parent questionaire.

I am a music co-ordinator in a regular common or garden Junior school. Many of our parents can't afford private lessons but there are some amazingly able children- why shouldn't they have the opportunity to develop their skills?

All of our pupils have around three quarters of an hour to an hour music lesson per week.Our year 3s learn the recorder, Year 4s have guitar lessons (with a visiting specialist) Years five and six follow two music schemes which have have activities which include the use of instruments and singing- they are perfectly easy to follow for the non-specialist.

None of the class teachers in my school are music specialists but they all give it a good go. It is perfectly possible to differentiate music activities for a wide range of abilities.

We have a school choir, recorder groups, a brass club, a ukele club and a school orchestra which comprises some children who have lessons, some from the recorder groups and some who have been spotted in their mainstream lessons as having potential.

Schools wouldn't not do Art, PE or DT-Why is music so often maligned and ignored- it is a part of the curriculum that should be taught every week.

ReallyTired Mon 12-Nov-12 20:40:40

"None of the class teachers in my school are music specialists but they all give it a good go. It is perfectly possible to differentiate music activities for a wide range of abilities."

Ds's school has a girl who is ten years old and a grade 7 pianist. How does a non music specialist differentiate for her? She doesn't know how to sing, but most primary school teacher have no clue how to teach singing. (Listen to a typical primary school concert to hear what I mean!)

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 21:12:03

"Ds's school has a girl who is ten years old and a grade 7 pianist. How does a non music specialist differentiate for her? "

give her the accompanist's part so she can play the piano whilst the others sing. Chances are it'll be a steep learning curve..

Tgger Mon 12-Nov-12 21:13:07

Get her to play from ear lots of popular children's songs. Chances are she is a good reader but hasn't developed this side of things grin.

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