Music at Connaught Junior School
As part of our commitment to developing the whole child at Connaught Junior School we enhance the children’s musical ability with specialist provision. We are extremely well resourced and are lucky enough to have a music room in which the children take their fortnightly lessons. The topics are closely linked to our Creative Curriculum.
The Music Curriculum
Music lessons at Connaught Junior School are of a very high standard Please see below an overview of the music covered.
Autumn - An introduction to Pulse and Rhythm
Sing songs with strong rhythmic patterns. Understand difference between pulse and rhythm. Read, understand and perform simple music notation (crotchets, minims, quavers and crotchet rests) using the Kodaly system of ta and te-tes. Understand and use new music vocabulary. Learn the names of the percussion instruments in school and how to play them and use cups to demonstrate rhythm patterns.
Spring – Viking Rock
Learn to sing the song, ‘Viking Rock!’. Learn about the rock genre and features of a rock band. Continue with their understanding of note duration and read and play simple 4 beat rhythms. Learn and perform rhythmic accompaniment on untuned percussion. Build up a performance of ‘Viking Rock!’ with rhythmic accompaniment, developing an understanding of what texture is in music. Consider clear articulation, expression, dynamics and mood, maintaining own part and keeping in time with others. Evaluate their own performance and that of others and consider ways to improve performance. Perform as an ensemble to an audience.
Summer - The Living Rainforest
Revise notation learnt the previous term and write simple music notation. Continue to perform rhythms with cups. Learn about the various dynamics, their Italian names and how their symbols are shown in written music. Listen to rainforest sounds and match their timbre with that of classroom instruments. In groups write rhythms to portray the various rainforest sounds. Write the composition on a simple score to show changes in texture and add dynamics. Practise compositions, keeping rhythms in time and evaluate success. Make changes as necessary. Each group perform to the rest of the class.
Autumn – Tudors - Pulse, Rhythm and Pitch
Revise understanding of pulse and rhythm and the note durations of crotchets, quavers and minims using rhymes, songs and games. Listen to music of the Tudor times, learning about the instruments they would have played then and how some developed into instruments we have today. Learn about ¾ time and accompany a Tudor song, ‘Packington’s Pound’, on drums. Find notes on tuned percussion, such as xylophones and chime bars. Look at how notes are placed on the stave to indicate their pitch and learn mnemonics to remember them. Learn how to play the melody of a Tudor dance, ‘La Volta’, on these instruments. Write some 3 beat rhythms to accompany the La Volta melody on untuned percussion. Practise, perform and evaluate.
Spring – African Drumming - Rhythm
Learn specific West African drumming techniques on the djembe. Use complex rhythms both as a soloist and as part of a group. Use different playing techniques (such as tone, slap and bass) and dynamics with control. Develop a sense of timing. Develop listening skills in ‘Call and Response’ and follow signals of starting and stopping. Develop an ability to work in an ensemble, learning the song, ‘Ku-Ku’ to accompany the drumming and create a whole performance.
Summer – Walking the Dog – Structure v. Texture
Inspired by Gershwin’s ‘Promenade’ compose a piece of music portraying taking a dog for a walk. Continue to revise note lengths. In groups write rhythms to portray the various sounds heard on the walk, choosing suitable instruments to portray them – including tuned - and putting them into 4,3 and 2 beat rhythms (simple time). Write compositions on a score to show changes in texture. Add dynamics, tempo markings and any pitched notes. Practise compositions, keeping rhythms and melodies in time and evaluate success. Make changes as necessary. Each group perform to the rest of the class.
Autumn - Space
Listen to G.Holst’s ‘The Planet Suite’. Compare features of his ‘Mars’ and ‘Venus’. Revise the length of notes (duration) and learn about time signatures. Read and write rhythms in 5/4 time. Consider the musical element, ‘structure’. In groups, write own compositions for Mars, the god of War and Venus, the god of peace and love, inspired by Holst’s suite. Improvise own count-down, lift-off and rocket theme (that keeps recurring). Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform. Some groups perform to the whole school.
Spring - Music of China
Listen to music from China and find out about their musical instruments. Learn about the pentatonic scale – often used in Chinese music. Improvise melodies using the pentatonic scale in C major on tuned instruments and put together to form Chinese-sounding music in various textures. Learn to play the melody, ‘Lantern Song’ using the notes of the C major pentatonic scale and one-bar melodies to accompany it. Play a set of one-bar melodies in various orders and discuss differing structures. In groups, arrange own performance of ‘Lantern Song’ using the one-bar melodies to accompany it. Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform.
Summer - Rivers
Listen to and analyse river and water music. Read, understand and perform rhythms in 6/8 time. In groups create own River composition inspired by Smetana’s ‘Vltava’ from his ‘Ma Vlast’ suite. In it depict a river flowing from the source to the sea, using a melody in 6/8 time, creating a crescendo as it does so. It should pass a couple of scenes, illustrated by differing instruments with ranges of dynamics. Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform. Some groups perform to the whole school.
Autumn - Champions for Change - Victorians
Revise the lengths of notes and position of notes on the stave. Read and perform a simple street cry on tuned percussion. Write words of own street cry and lay down its rhythm in either 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 or 6/8 time. Go to a tuned instrument and change the rhythm to a melody. Write the melody of the street cry on a stave. Play on tuned percussion and add rhythmic accompaniment. Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform. Some groups perform to the whole school.
Spring – Ukulele and Song Structure
Continue to revise lengths of notes and read and perform rhythms. Listen to a variety of songs with different structures. Learn about the various structures in music, such as binary, ternary and rondo. Discuss the features of songs – introduction, chorus, verse, bridge, instrumental break, key, chord progression, lyrics, style and so on and develop an understanding of what these mean. Pick out these features in each song. Learn what makes a chorus catchy, the different way lyrics are written and how to write a song.
Alongside this, learn how to play the chords of C, F, G7 and Am on the ukulele and, using these chords, accompany some songs.
Summer – Onwards and Upwards – Writing A Leavers’ Song
In pairs or in a small group, write the lyrics and rhythm of a catchy chorus for an original leavers' song. Using a ukulele, work out a melody to harmonise with a simple chord progression. Develop it further by writing the lyrics and melody of one or two verses.
Practise and perform the song, evaluating its success. Perform to an audience. Some groups perform to the whole school.
The children have a wide variety of instruments to choose from and ample opportunities to compose and perform their own music. Their learning is often shared in celebration assembly.
Excitement when a set of ukuleles arrive in school. April 2019.
Children also have the opportunity to learn an instrument and, at the time of writing, around one hundred and twenty children learn an instrument in school. These include piano, guitar, drums, violin, flute, clarinet, saxophone, cornet and tenor horn. We have peripatetic teachers from Surrey Arts who come into school to teach these instruments. In order to book these lessons, please visit this website:
In addition, our specialist music teacher, Mrs Canfield, offers beginners’ guitar and piano lessons (up to and including Grade 2) at the school either before, during or after school.
Please email her at email@example.com
These instrumental lessons are often over-subscribed (particularly piano, guitar and drums) and it’s best to get your interest in as soon as possible. It may be necessary to put your child on a waiting list.
At the end of each year we have a summer concert, in which the children have an opportunity to perform to an audience of parents and friends, if they wish.
The Connaught Summer Concert
Every summer the children at Connaught can take part in an evening event in which they can play their own instrument. Whatever instrument they play and at whatever level, as long as they can play a piece with confidence, they are encouraged to be involved. It is a lovely opportunity for children who play and practise hard to showcase their talents and experience performing in front of a large audience. Our choir also sings, with some of our choristers performing solos.
The Connaught Choir
Connaught’s school choir is open to children from all year groups and they practise after school on a Tuesday. The choir are often heard singing in assembly and they also perform at several events throughout the year.
At Christmas they perform various Christmas songs and carols in our annual Christmas Carol Concert at St Anne’s Church in Bagshot. The children sing in unison and in harmony with many solos and duets. In recent Christmases, the choir have also visited Collingwood Grange Care Home to sing Christmas songs to the residents there.
Every June the choir take part in the North Surrey’s Primary Schools’ Music Festival, which takes place at the Princes Hall in Aldershot. They learn a work of songs and sing them along with many other schools. This year – 2020 – they were practising towards the work, ‘Jake and the Right Genie’ by Richard and Thomas Allain.
‘I like music lessons because we learn about different people and types of music.’
Joseph Year 3
‘What I like about music is that it makes me feel happy and calm. The best thing about music is that you learn music!’
Lucia Year 3
‘I think that it is so inspiring and so amazing because I just love it and even though I’ve only joined the school in Year 4 it’s just amazing and it will help me pursue my dreams of becoming a singer.’
Francesca Year 4
‘I always look forward to music lessons because they always include fun ways of remembering musical notes and symbols.’
Isobel Year 5
‘I really like when we did the rainforest topic, where we used instruments to make rainforest sounds, like a tiger, rain, woodpecker and more.’
Sophie Year 5
‘As I joined Connaught in Year 6, I didn’t get to enjoy the wonderous music lessons as I wanted to. This was still a fabulous year for music and I am very sad it has to come to an end.’
Gabriel Year 6
‘I have enjoyed every music lesson from doing the rainforest compositions to the planets to even learning the ukuleles. It was amazing! I was very sad when it was our last music lesson. At least I can still see Mrs Canfield when I have my piano lesson!’
Emma Year 6
‘We have been doing chords and even ukulele lessons, which are my favourite times. I have learnt lots of skills with Mrs Canfield.’
Harrison Year 6
‘My favourite things about music lessons is that we get to play instruments and make our own music, whilst learning different chords and notes that we could add in.’
Pippa Year 6
‘I really enjoyed learning to play the ukulele and now I understand chords: 3 notes played together are triads. I also loved the rainforest composition in Year 3.’
Jessica Year 6
‘I liked the compositions we did before lockdown, especially the rainforest one in Year 3! I’m really going to miss the amazing music lessons Mrs Canfield provides us with.’
Sophie Year 6