Music has been part of the full curriculum review and is a key element of 'Express Yourself' in our Circle of Life non-core curriculum work. This year, a particular focus has been on providing children with opportunities to perform, especially through extra-curricular opportunities. The Music Leader has been busy organising events to provide enriching experiences, from taking part in 'Young Voices' to our musical cabaret events.
Music provides children with opportunities to develop koinonia and mutual respect by working in teams - whether it be to compose, rehearse or perform. Children require perseverance, tolerance and a willingness to learn and with exciting topics, the children can engage with this to produce fantastic performances and compositions. They learn about the history of music and show respect and understanding when appraising different genres of music. We see music as a fabulous opportunity to consider diversity. We therefore consider music from different traditions and composers and musicians who reflect this. Our preparation for teaching music embraces more than simply a 'modern British' view of the subject. We particularly look at the central role music plays in Mara, Tanzania and how this is often a spontaneous and shared experience.
Currently, there is a choir which are runs after school. Recently, St James took children from the UKS2 choir to perform at Young Voices at Sheffield Arena. The UKS2 choir also attended a 'Singing for the Brain' workshop (which is run by the Alzheimer's Society) and they shared songs and memories. This year, there are two musical cabaret events - a 'song and dance' and an instrumental cabaret in the Summer term.
Through their 'Expressive Arts and Design' area of learning, children in reception used their teamwork skills during their Christmas production to sing together. In the Spring Term, children learned the names of instruments and have been using percussion instruments to represent the season of Spring. They are currently looking at the Easter story in R.E and are learning to sing 'Hosanna' from the Palm Sunday story whilst playing percussion instruments.
Year 1 and 2 have been linking their music to their topic 'A Toy Story' to create different timbres suited to different toys, thinking about how they sound. In their production prior to Christmas, they used their voices to sing expressively and listen with concentration when preparing for their performances.
Year 3 and 4 created a thunderstorm using body percussion to fit in with the 'Roaming the Rainforest' topic. They focused on structure and how this linked with the weather changes during a thunderstorm. Class 3/4BH take part in a Samba class which gives them the opportunity to explore music from another culture and to learn about the inter-related dimensions of music, such as tempo, structure and dynamics.
Year 5 and 6 have been busy learning about rhythm and notation during their topic 'Who's the Mummy?' Their final product is a burial chant where they are required to use their skills related to rhythm and notation. In the Autumn term, they performed a piece using rounds and looked at motivational music linked to the wartime experiences.
The children from the UKS2 choir took to the stage of Sheffield Arena and performed at the Young Voices concert. The children have worked really hard since September, learning lines and dance routines in preparation for this huge event, which involved over 5,000 performers. It was an amazing experience and the children made everyone at St James very proud. A huge well done to the children who took part- you should be very proud of yourselves.