St Hilda’s CE Primary School

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Our Intent:

“Children use music to help maintain emotional and social well-being and celebrate culture and community in ways which involve entertaining or understanding themselves and making sense of the world around them. Children should develop their understanding, make musical judgements, apply their new learning, develop their aural memory, express themselves physically, emotionally and through discussion and create their own musical ideas.” Burnard and Murphy, 2017

Music will be an enjoyable experience for pupils. Children will participate in a range of musical experiences, building up their confidence at the same time. They will develop their understanding of rhythm and pitch and learn how music is structured, as well as learning technical vocabulary for these elements. As children’s confidence builds, they will enjoy the performance aspect of music. Children experience listening to music from different cultures and eras.

The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all children:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music
  • be taught to sing, create and compose music
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated

Children will gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. We intend to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We intend that children will understand the value and importance of music in the wider community and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.

Our Implementation:

Music is taught as a discrete subject but also across the curriculum. Areas of learning, such as times tables in maths, vocabulary in languages and movement in dance may incorporate different elements of music. A weekly singing collective worship, also allows the children opportunities to develop their singing skills and gain an understanding of how ensembles work. Performances, such as Christmas plays and nativities and end of year shows, demonstrate that music is important to the life of the school.

Three Pillars to Musicianship:

Our school music curriculums set out pathways for progression that enable pupils to develop their musical knowledge. Progress in music requires pupils to develop musically across three pillars that interrelate in musicianship.

Curricular content supports pupils in developing these three pillars, which in turn support the activities of performing, composing and listening.


The necessary skills and competencies that allow pupils to translate their intentions into sound.

This will often involve instrumental playing or singing but may also focus on music technology.


This refers to knowledge of how musical components come together, both analytically and during the creative process.


This area involves the more indefinable aspects of music: quality, meaning and creativity.

Ofsted Research Review – Music (June 2021) states that to develop musical knowledge, it is better to give pupils regular, spaced-out re-encounters with lesson content rather than to block the time, to help them build knowledge in long-term memory.

We dedicated hour a week will be provided for Music as suggested by the ‘Model Music Curriculum’. In addition, there will be opportunities for the repetition of key curricular content with the gradual introduction of new ideas, methods and concepts and large amounts of practice. There will also be extensive listening to help develop pupils’ expressive intentions.

Knowledge of Music

As well as developing the procedural knowledge of how to perform and compose, the curriculum allows pupils to learn about musical culture and history. Our music provision is underpinned by three learning environments

  • The taught curriculum
  • Instrument tuition
  • Musical events and opportunities, such as singing in concerts, shows and collective worship.

Our music curriculum ensures children sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as the weekly singing collective worships, various concerts and performances, the learning of instruments, and the joining musical ensembles. The elements of music are taught in the classroom lessons so that children are able to use some of the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. In the classroom children learn how to play an instrument, from all four main instrument groups of wind, strings, percussion and keyboards. In doing so to understand the different principle of each method of creating notes, as well as how to read basic music notation. They also learn how to compose, focusing on different dimensions of music, which in turn feeds their understanding when listening, playing, or analysing music. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.

When we refer to ‘knowledge’ or ‘curriculum content’, it is with reference to all three classes.

Tacit Knowledge:

The knowledge gained through experience; it can often be difficult to put into words.

Procedural Knowledge

The knowledge exercised on the performance of a task

Declarative Knowledge

This refers to facts or information stored in the memory.

Creating a desirable level of difficulty for all pupils is a challenge for teachers.

Presenting pupils with music that is either technically too difficult or doesn’t challenge them might lead to demotivation or frustration.

Teachers will:

  • focus on what pupils are thinking rather than what they are doing;
  • promote opportunities to practise the components of tasks – providing regular opportunities for feedback;
  • give non-threatening, context-specific feedback;
  • praise the task outcome, not the pupil.
  • If a pupil does not know enough about a topic, they will receive more instruction, rather than more feedback.

Substantive Knowledge

Substantive knowledge in music is based on the developing knowledge of the nine interrelated dimensions of music. All musical learning is built around the interrelated dimensions of music.










Substantive knowledge focuses on developing children’s skills and knowledge required for them to develop as musicians. This is achieved through deliberate practice. It involves learning about music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.

Disciplinary Knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge in music is the interpretation on the interrelated dimensions of music and how this knowledge is used when singing, playing instruments, improvising and composing, to develop creative and original pieces and performances. Children work independently and collaboratively to interpret and combine the dimensions of music to create a specific and desired effect.


We ensure musical training begins early so as to give a greater likelihood of it being successfully embedded.

Our curriculum is designed in a way that allows pupils to develop control over the sound that they produce.

Pupils have access to regular practice sessions to support them in developing their procedural knowledge (the knowledge that is used in the performance of a task).

We provide consistency with regards to the medium for developing sound control, recognising the weak transfer of procedural knowledge.

Pupils will learn that music has a range of representational systems, such as graphic notation, chord symbols and guitar tabs. Pupils will develop an ability to read these automatically.

Pupils will be offered sufficient opportunities for practice, to ensure that they develop musical reading fluency at an appropriate level.


Our planned curriculum takes prior learning needs are taken into consideration.

Examples of musical concepts and terminology are embedded into units of work.

Pupils are offered opportunities to learn about the elements of composition. This supports them in composing their own pieces.


Pupils have many opportunities to listen to music to help them to develop their own musical expression.

Pupils are given technical tasks, at an appropriate level, to support them in developing their musical expression.


Cultural Capital

We strive to equip pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that children can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. For students to aspire and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital and music is a subject that is able to help children achieve this. In Music, we do this by learning exposing the children to music from great musicians and composers throughout time. We listen and appraise the music. How did it make us feel and why? We listen to live and recorded versions of the music and discuss the instruments that have been used. We also use our growing musical knowledge and vocabulary to talk about pitch, tempo and dynamics etc. We use this opportunity to learn about the composer and where they feature in the history of music.

Our Impact:

Whilst in school, children have access to a varied programme, which allows them to discover areas of strength, as well as areas they might like to improve upon. The integral nature of music and the learner creates an enormously rich palette from which a child may access fundamental abilities such as: achievement, self-confidence, interaction with and awareness of others, and self-reflection. Music will also develop an understanding of culture and history, both in relation to children individually, as well as ethnicities from across the world. Children are able to enjoy music in as many ways as they choose – either as listener, creator or performer. They can dissect music and comprehend its parts. They can sing and feel a pulse. They have an understanding of how to further develop skills less known to them, should they ever develop an interest in their lives.

We are an inclusive school, and strive to ensure our curriculum is accessible to all. Learning is a right and must meet the needs of each pupil. The pupils who have been identified as having a SEND need, will be planned for appropriately by the class teacher under the guidance and advice of the SENCo and/or additional agencies. Dependent on the pupil’s need, this may be through adult support, scaffolds or differentiated tasks. In cases where a pupil has an EHCP, bespoke provision is provided, appropriate to the needs of the pupil.

The British values that we as a school uphold throughout our curriculum are an intrinsic part of our music curriculum and are woven throughout all lessons. The music curriculum encourages individuality both in terms of children’s opinions about music shared, and in the way that it enables children to cultivate individual tastes in music. We ensure that the children have confidence in their right to enjoy any kind of music and to ensure that we encourage freedom of choice when delivering lessons. The children have a clear understanding of the need to respect others’ opinions, whatever our own may be, when sharing our own personal tastes in music. Our music curriculum enables the children to explore music in a range of faiths and cultures and the children are also invited to share their own experiences of this with their peers. The children are also taught about how music is used to support national events. We allow the children freedom of choice when selecting music to listen to and study at various points throughout the year and we actively encourage the children to widen their understanding of music in a range of genres. When critiquing and evaluating the performances of others, the children do so in a respectful and thoughtful manner. In all lessons, the children understand that school rules must be followed and that we work in a democratic way, ensuring that all pupils have a voice. Pupils sometimes sing at public events and are taught to have an understanding of the importance of this in terms of spreading happiness and support to those in need.


Make links between learning in other curriculum areas, e.g. painting/drawing to a piece of music, using music to create dramatic pieces.

Consider how music makes us feel and how it can ‘move us’ deeply.

Explore creativity through gymnastic, dance etc. 

Allow pupils to show their delight and curiosity in music.


Explore how music can convey human emotions such as sadness, anger, joy etc.

Appreciate the self-discipline to learn a musical instrument.

Show respect for a whole range of music.


Explore how an orchestra or choir works together e.g. performing together and following instructions.

Appreciate how music is used in different ways in different settings, such as for pleasure, for worship, to relax.


Give all pupils an opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to take part regularly in singing.

Appreciate musical expressions from different times and places.

Encourage pupils to listen and respond to traditions from around the world.

Listen and respond to music which forms our cultural heritage

Respect the musical heritage of different cultures.