Advanced search

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.

Limelight Mon 12-Nov-12 21:20:49

OP where are you based? A lot of this depends on whether or not your school has a Service Level Agreement with its local Music Education Hub (what used to be Music Service). If it doesn't, my first question to your Head would be why not and what provision do they have in place instead?

It might be worth having a read of the National Plan for Music Education to see what provision your DC is entitled to. Look at the 'core roles' in particular.

Hoped that's helpful.

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 21:21:06

So Mrz are you saying there is a woodwind club on a Tuesday lunchtime, a string club on a Wednesday lunchtime and a cornet club on a Friday lunchtime, all of which are free? Presumably your teachers are not so blessed with free time that they spend the week doing one-to-one clarinet lessons gradually working round all 150+ pupils? Though come to think of it, that might not be a bad thing smile. We have done a free violin club and a free flute club but have moved towards targetting children whom music might particularly benefit.

Anway, agree with everyone else that good singing teaching is foundational, and its importance shouldn't be underestimated. We do have a free orchestra (any KS2 child, any instrument or none, no requirement to have formal lessons but the teachers keep a careful eye out for promising children with no hope of paid lessons and I then take them on). But everything we have achieved in instrumental music (I have 43 in my KS2 orchestra, all of whom come to school voluntarily half an hour early) is built on the idea of applying the musicianship principles that come from good singing instruction.

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 21:22:17

or what Tgger said. Honestly, a grade 7 pianist would not be a problem to accomodate for us.

Limelight Mon 12-Nov-12 21:22:34

Here's a link:

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 21:29:50

"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"

that's a bit naff. primary schools should be about inclusion. We have six on the cello in orchestra, 3 pay for lessons, 3 don't.

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 21:31:50

Oops, just realised I am wittering on about what we do, whereas Limelight is actually answering the OP's question.blush

Tgger Mon 12-Nov-12 21:34:35

Don't worry lingle, fascinating as always to read about what you are up to. smile

mrz Mon 12-Nov-12 21:48:49

No lingle we don't have 150+ wanting to learn to play instruments so the issue hasn't arisen. Some, like me are musically challenged.

lingle Mon 12-Nov-12 22:08:31

lol at musically challenged, I'm sure you must use music in class though, you are probably much better than you think in the most important skills.

I love it when our teachers suddenly realise that most of what I'm doing is something they're already experts in smile Sometimes the non-musician teachers grasp what we do in the orchestra much quicker than the trained musicians (who tend to get a bit distracted by the whole reading music debate).

wigglesrock Mon 12-Nov-12 22:14:27

My dd (7) in her fourth year of primary school - everyone does singing and the tin whistle. The school offers violin and cello for those that are interested free of charge one lunchtime a week and there are piano lessons available from P4 upwards at a substantially reduced cost.

alcofrolic Mon 12-Nov-12 22:19:00

Lingle, do you run one of these orchestras where it's a kind of free-for-all, or do you follow music?
We use music, so I'm not sure how we could accommodate non-cello players on cello?

Namechangeforapropertythread Mon 12-Nov-12 23:47:44

Mrz I love your posts and I want to send my children to your school!!

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 07:45:11

I do use music but have absolutely no sense of rhythm (I'm dyspraxic) my friend who is a vocal coach made my day telling me I can actually sing in tune grin

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 11:31:45


Rudolph red nosed reindeer.
1. take one child with no prior experience and give them a cello. Put it on the floor the first time. show them the outside string that makes the lowest note.
2. now get them to pluck that string rhythmically, first with you, then while you tap the beat but sing the Rudolph verse.
3 write down the word nose.
4. tell them when they reach the word "nose" they have to flip up to the next string and carry on staying there. Demonstrate how wrong it sounds if you sing "nose" whilst still playing the outside string.
5. write down the word glows.
6. tell them when they reach "glows" they have to flip down again and carry on.
7. ditto names
8. ditto games
9. now the whole thing with you doing the same but singing the words.
10. now the whole thing with you doing the same but a.n. other child playing the tune on the recorder and you singing the words.
11. now the whole thing with the whole orchestra with you singing just "had a very shiny.....!" as a cue for the changes.

Week two: same thing, but now with the cello between their legs.
Week three: same thing
Week four. The midde section. easy. CCCCGGC. now flip up and do the same thing: GGGGDDG.

This is how guitarists have learnt for centuries.

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 11:43:28

to answer the question alcofrolic, we sometimes use notation, we sometimes don't. If we do use notation, we email a free-to-download copy to parents so they can hear it on their computers at home ( - there is no need to spend money on Sibelius).

there is nothing free-for-all though about the pieces where we don't use notation. these just key into things children can do that you can't write down. Every single child instantly played the riff of Smoke on the Water with the rhythm entirely correct the very first time we attempted it - it was somehow built into their brain/a part of our invisible culture in this country. But only the ones whose parents actually looked at the youtube videos demonstrating the pentatonic scale figured out how to play a solo over that riff.

I feel strongly that children shouldn't always be stuck with a score, that a score should just be a starting point. I wrote out "Three Little Birds" ("Don't worry about a thing") and some of the children put their hands up to say "can I play the "do do do dooo do dodo"? and if they could figure out the notes I said yes - and suddenly you're not just playing something, you're making music and the children are making musical judgments.

Sometimes though it's just a cacophony and complete disaster but I am an optimist so tend not to post on mumsnet after those rehearsals.

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 11:47:07

Mrz sorry for the ignorant question - how does dyspraxia affect rhythm? Is it to do with not being able to tap out a beat?

ReallyTired Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:21

My brother is very dyspraxic and he has no problem with reading. He is a good violinist, but found learning to read music hard. He is very good at playing by ear.

I think that having a good sense of rhythm is auditory perception rather than coordination. I agree that reading music should not be introduced too early. Its boring learning music theory.

ReallyTired Tue 13-Nov-12 14:51:08

Sorry I mean that my brother has no problem with rhythmn, no reading. Being able to tap out a beat doesn't require that strong coordination.

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 15:15:53

My Y3 DS has music lessons on alternate weeks throughout the year and all children in the school learn to play the recorder for 2 years.

They also have a 'singing session' for Y3-Y6 once a week with extra practice for Christmas & end of year shows.

The senior school we're looking at (for him and older DD) has 2 music lessons a week and all children learn guitar & keyboard in lessons smile

Namechangeforapropertythread Tue 13-Nov-12 17:12:01

In a state school?!

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:15:48

No, there's no specialist music school near us.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:21:45

ReallyTired from the Dyspraxia Foundation


People who have dyspraxia often find the routine tasks of daily life such as driving, household chores, cooking and grooming difficult. They can also find coping at work is hard. People with dyspraxia usually have a combination of problems, including:
Gross motor co-ordination skills (large movements):

Poor balance. Difficulty in riding a bicycle, going up and down hills
Poor posture and fatigue. Difficulty in standing for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone. Floppy, unstable round the joints. Some people with dyspraxia may have flat feet
Poor integration of the two sides of the body. Difficulty with some sports involving jumping and cycling
Poor hand-eye co-ordination. Difficulty with team sports especially those which involve catching a ball and batting. Difficulties with driving a car
Lack of rhythm when dancing, doing aerobics
Clumsy gait and movement. Difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions
Exaggerated 'accessory movements' such as flapping arms when running
Tendency to fall, trip, bump into things and people

The statements in bold describe me ... I even fell during my dyspraxia therapy training hmm

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:43:44

on top of that I have problems with tasks that require using both hands, no dominant hand , difficulty distinguishing sounds from background noise and copying sounds.

alcofrolic Tue 13-Nov-12 19:02:19

lingle that sounds great - thanks for explaining.

I think there should be a music specialist in every school - it's a subject that needs understanding to teach properly. Anyone can pick up 'Musical Express' and follow a lesson plan, but very few people know how to teach singing, etc, properly. (I am in awe of people who can.)

Tgger Tue 13-Nov-12 22:02:02

It sounds fab lingle. You are very lucky to have cellos available- how did you get those? I have to get parents to buy/hire for my pupils and it ain't cheap shock.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now