Music is highly valued at Lady Barn and all the year groups have a weekly class lesson.
At this stage in a child’s musical development their learning takes place through practical, circle activities. Children develop their singing voices and improve their ability to respond appropriately to signals. They develop their sense of rhythm and pulse through movement and practical performances on a wide range of instruments and they learn to listen with concentration to pre-recorded music. Music is fun, engaging and very hands-on.
In the Infant Department the children’s skill levels are developed further as they experience the main, musical activities of listening, performing and composing. They now listen to more extended pieces of music, including “Carnival of the Animals” and “Peter and the Wolf” and begin to recognise how musical elements are put together as a whole. Every lesson involves the children in practical music-making activities. Singing remains central to our curriculum and the children also develop their knowledge of staff notation in order to be able to understand music which has been written down. They work on simple, composing tasks as they explore sounds using classroom instruments and also enjoy performing in small groups and as a class.
There is a weekly singing session for all the infant children where they enjoy singing as a large group. For those children who wish to join, there is an Infant Choir which rehearses once a week. This serves as a great preparation for the choirs higher up the school and allows the children to begin to develop the specific skills needed when singing in a group.
The children enter the Junior Department of the school keen, interested and skilled in musical activities.
Delivered in a purpose built Music Room, equipped with keyboards and lap-tops, the curriculum in the Junior Department is wide-ranging and up-to date whilst being very focused on the development of skills.
The children continue to develop their knowledge of Music Theory and improve their ability to read music through practical performance work on both keyboards and classroom instruments. They are introduced to chords and structures which help them create coherent pieces of music when composing. The children then use Music Technology to notate their own pieces and they can manipulate sound to create a desired effect with success. They can use the various functions on an electronic keyboard and become confident at performing as a soloist and in a small group. Singing continues to remain important and is included in all class lessons.
At Lady Barn, we believe that the children should be able to listen with understanding to different genres of music. To this end we investigate carefully the sounds and instruments of a standard orchestra and consider the development of music from 1600 to the present day. This leads the children to learn something of the lives and times of the great composers, such as Handel, Mozart and Beethoven. The children investigate famous composers through research and listening and this helps to bring these amazing characters to life. For example, Year Three children may listen to the story of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks whilst Year Five children could follow Smetana’s musical journey along the River Moldau. The Year Six children listen with interest, and sometimes amazement, at the work of some of the distinguished 20th century composers, including Philip Glass, John Adams and Steve Reich.
The school is proud to have nine, visiting peripatetic teachers who provide one-to-one tuition for approximately 140 pupils each week. Many children take Associated Board examinations and our success rate is second-to-none. The school has a variety of ensemble groups including recorders, flutes, clarinets, guitars, brass and strings and we have four choirs, the older children singing in up to three parts. Our school orchestra is usually about thirty strong and we provide additional tuition in Music Theory to enable children to take Grades One and Two Associated Board examinations.
Over the course of the school year the junior department of the school has three major musical events; A Carol Service at St. Mary’s Church, Cheadle, an Easter Concert where all our choirs, ensembles and the orchestra perform and a Summer Music Festival where individual children play for the parents. In addition, music is an important part of festivals such as Harvest, Christingle and Easter and music features strongly on Open Mornings and the Christmas Fair.
An active department
The Music Department at Lady Barn is active, thriving, highly valued by parents and staff alike and determined to foster in children a love and appreciation of music!
Mrs J Drennan – Head of Music