The Chinese philosopher Confucius said long ago that “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
There is a growing body of evidence linking musical learning with increased academic performance. It is known that music develops both the left and right hand sides of the brain crossing the line between the arts and the sciences. It enhances memory, promotes discipline, requires a high level of social cooperation and increases self-confidence. Music therefore plays an important part in our curriculum. At Featherbank a specialist music teacher from ArtForms, Mr Mercer, works in school for a day a week teaching every class.
In Reception and KS1 children are taught how to sing using an extensive repertoire of games and songs to encourage accurate pitch-matching. They work with rhythm and pulse, using pitched and un-pitched percussion. Children explore different ways in which they can accompany their singing. We focus on the musical comparatives – louder/softer, higher/lower, faster/slower. Children listen to a wide range of music from different cultures, musical genres and historical periods. They compose their own music, soundscapes and rhythmic pieces performing these to others and evaluating how their work can be improved.
In KS2 children have the opportunity to learn the recorder, the ukulele and the African drums as a whole class. Children are then encouraged to take up small group instrumental lessons from Year 4 onwards (currently in guitar or violin). They continue to use pitched and un-pitched percussion, playing and creating more challenging pieces in different genres, paying attention to the inter-related dimensions of music such as how the music is structured, the type of sound they wish to create and how different sounds can be layered to create different effects. They sing more complex material, for example songs in rounds, canons and multiple harmony parts. Children learn how to read and compose using different musical notation. They are given the opportunity to listen to both live and recorded music from an increasing range of genre and style, evaluating what they like and dislike as their musical taste develops and forms.
In class all our children are given the opportunity to play together in ensembles and on their own as soloists. They enjoy performing to their families in class assemblies, concerts and at Christmas.
Some of our talented Featherbank musicians have been working hard with Mr Mercer
every Tuesday lunchtime to form 'The band'. Their instruments range from piano to trombone! They performed fantastically for us in assembly. Well done children.