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“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” 

Maria von Trapp

Learning to play an instrument is so much more than just producing a tune! Research has shown that children who play instruments develop greater coordination, concentration and the ability to process information. The performance aspect of playing encourages confidence, poise and the pleasure that results from mastery of a new skill. The social aspect of music making, as well as fostering a love and excitement in music, requires concentration and attention in order to achieve the appropriate response.
Throughout all their years at St. Michael’s, children have many opportunities to perform to their peers, the wider school, parents and the wider community.


Our curriculum aims to develop a pleasure in making music and singing. Children begin to develop a feeling for, and recognition of, pulse and pitch through: singing, rhyming, games, action songs and playing with untuned percussion

Year One

Year One continue to work with pulse and pitch and add tempo to their understanding. Children are also introduced to musical notes and their values (quaver, crotchet, minim and semibreves). Children write and perform their own rhythmic pieces. Children are introduced to several well known classical pieces. Children continue to work with untuned instruments and are introduced to simple tuned percussion, such as chime bars.

Year Two

In Year Two, children continue to sing and play games involving pitch and pulse and revisit the value of notes learned so far. It is at this point children learn to play a tuned instrument – the ocarina. First of all, children learn the woodwind technique of ‘tonguing the notes. They start by reading the ‘ocpics’ and progress onto the ‘ocbox’. As children can play simple tunes, these are used to move forward to a basic understanding of standard notation (only one octave). Musical terms such a ‘rest’ ‘tied notes’ and ‘sharps’ are introduced using the tunes children can play. Children also compose short pieces with tuned handbells as well as untuned percussion.

Year Three

Famous composers and their lives are the subject of investigation in Year Three and, through listening to music, children gain familiarity with a range of orchestral instruments. Children learn the language of music appreciation and listen to music from a range of cultures. From 2014, Year Three children will learn to play a stringed instrument – the ukulele – initially by learning chords to accompany songs. All Year Three children also receive specialist ‘voice’ tuition with an EMS animateur.

Year Four

Year Four re-visit the ocarina, this time using standard notation as the norm. Musical theory is learned through playing instruments, singing and games as well as composing and notating their own tunes. In particular, children begin to use musical terminology such as treble clef, bass clef, stave, bar lines and dotted notes.

Year Five

Using an EMS tutor, all children learn to play a woodwind instrument – clarinet or saxophone – for the first two terms as a class lesson then in the third term in small groups. Singing, theory and games continue.

Year Six

The ukulele makes a comeback in Year Six. Children learn about jazz, scat and blues. They compose their own twelve bar blues song and lyrics. Through learning about old blues music, children learn how music often reflects history.

The curriculum we use is led by the National Curriculum.