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 lessons. The topics are closely linked to our Creative Curriculum.
The Music Curriculum
Music is important to people emotionally and socially. It is part of every human culture and society. We believe in the musical potential of each child and every child is catered for, irrespective of their background or skill level. In fact, children who may find other areas of the curriculum a challenge, may excel in music and we strive to encourage this. We aim to nurture children’s musicality through active musical engagement; to develop their musical understanding, knowledge and musicianship through listening, communicating, creating and performing.
Music skills and knowledge are taught through topics, many of which have links to classroom topics. Children build up their musical knowledge, understanding and skills, through listening, improvising, composing, practising and performing. They do this individually, in groups and as a whole class. They are given the opportunity to share their work with others, sometimes the whole school, to instil a sense of pride about what they have achieved.
Children have the experience of learning the ukulele in class music lessons and are also given the opportunity to learn other tuned and untuned instrument from the various instrumental teachers in the school. They are encouraged to use these instruments in any compositions they are creating in class. They also have the opportunity to join the school choir and sing at a variety of venues throughout the year.
Children at Connaught develop a love of music. This is fostered through exposing them to a wide range of music genres and breaking down and exposing their similarities and differences. Throughout their time at the school they will develop a musical understanding, gradually learning musical terminology and standard music notation. They will establish an understanding the various musical elements and an appreciation of composers and historical periods of music. All of this prepares them well for KS3 music at secondary school, and beyond.
Autumn - An introduction to Pulse and Rhythm
Understand that music of the past is divided into eras. Learn that there are four families in the orchestra and that those you hit, shake and/or scrape are the percussion instruments. Learn the names of the untuned percussion instruments in school. Learn how to play them with correct technique and use them to demonstrate rhythm patterns.
Understand the difference between pulse and rhythm. Read, understand and perform simple music notation (crotchets, quavers and crotchet rests) using the Kodaly system of ta and te-tes. Understand and use new music vocabulary, such as pulse, rhythm, ostinato and texture.
Listening: The music development from Stone Age to Renaissance.
Spring – Folk Music of the British Isles
Revise the notation learnt so far and learn about the minim and dotted minim. Learn to read rhythms in 3 time.
Learn about the folk music tradition and listen to examples from the countries of the British Isles. Learn the names of tuned percussion in the school. Understand the meaning of pitch and learn about the major scale, performing it with Kodaly/Curwen hand signals and on tuned percussion. Learn how to play a simple folk song on tuned percussion with correct technique.
Create their own performance of a folk song, playing the melody on tuned percussion and an accompaniment on untuned percussion.
Listening: Folk Music of the British Isles.
Summer – Walking the Dog Composition/Jazz
Learn about the Jazz genre of music and the instruments used. Look at how George Gershwin was inspired by it. Continue to develop an understanding of music notation, pulse and rhythm and a knowledge of percussion instruments. Use ‘Promenade’ by Gershwin to inspire their own ‘walking the dog’ composition.
In groups consider sounds on a walk and choose instruments of suitable timbre for their compositions. Create appropriate rhythms to represent the sounds using minims, crotchets and quavers to play in time with each other. Develop an understanding of dynamics and use them effectively in their work.
Practise, perform and evaluate success.
Autumn – The Ukulele School
Following lessons 1-6 in Unit 1 of ‘The Ukulele School’ scheme,understand how to hold the ukulele and learn the names of its parts. Learn the note names of the strings of the ukulele and the difference between picking and strumming. Revise understanding of rhythm and melody, crotchets, quavers and rests. Learn what tablature (TAB) is and how to read from it.
Learn how to fret a string to make other notes, such as the high note C on the A string. Understand that chords are two or more notes played together. Learn the notes that make up the chord of C major and F major and work out which strings need to be fretted to play the chords. Learn techniques in order to changes smoothly from the chord of C major to F major and back again. Reinforce this by playing along to a number of exercises and songs.
Listening: Music of the Renaissance and Baroque era.
Spring – The Orchestra
Revise notation learnt so far and learn what the two numbers in the time signature represent. Read rhythms in 4 time and 3 time.
Learn what an orchestra is and revise understanding of the orchestra being divided into four instrumental groups.
Each lesson, learn about the instruments of another instrumental group, beginning with the woodwind family. Understand the features they have in common and the timbre of each one. Reinforce understanding that size relates to pitch. Learn about what is vibrating when they’re played and the different ways of playing them.
Listen to me, or the children, perform some of the instruments. Identify them in Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
Develop a performance of ‘The Orchestra Song’, singing with expression and clear diction. Build up the layers of the song into 5 part harmony. Revise understanding of texture and also of vocabulary such as harmony, monophonic, polyphonic and so on.
Listening: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – B. Britten
Summer – Active Planet ‘Rumble, Rumble, Sizzle, Sizzle, Bang!’
Learn about the many music traditions and instruments in various countries around the world. Revise understanding of pulse, rhythm and basic notation. Write own 4 beat rhythms. Develop an understanding of ‘texture’ in music when building up layers of rhythms from natural disaster words.
Learn to sing some rounds including ‘Disasters’ and ‘Popacatapetl’. Discover how rounds work with melody lines working in harmony together – often involving chords. Go over understanding of the C major tonic triad chord and change own word rhythms into melodies using a choice of the 3 notes.
In pairs, create a performance using their own word rhythms and melodies. Perform to class and evaluate success.
Listening: Music from Around the World.
Autumn – Samba Drumming
Learn about the development of Samba drumming and where Brazil is.
Beginning with boomwhackers, work on building up layers of rhythms, with a focus on keeping in time. Learn vocabulary associated with texture.
Each lesson, learn about a different samba instrument, its origins and how to play it, and learn a specific Samba rhythm for that instrument. Over the weeks, gradually build up these rhythms into a performance of polyphonic texture.
Finally, introduce the repinique and work on a call and response. Develop a whole class performance.
Once the whole class has performed, get into groups and create own Samba performanc. Practise, perform and evaluate success.
Listening: Music from Brazil and Peru.
Spring – Ukulele
Following on for their first unit on the ukulele in Year 4, continue skills in playing the ukulele, firstly, revising what was learnt before and going over understanding of notes, chords, tab and so on.
Practise chords of C and F major and how to transition from one to the other. Perform songs using these chords.
Learn the chords of Am and G major and build up a repertoire of songs, using these chords as accompaniment, to play along to.
Listening: Music from the Baroque and Classical eras.
Listen to G.Holst’s ‘The Planet Suite’. Compare features of his ‘Mars’ and ‘Venus’. Revise the length of notes (duration) and further develop understand of 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 their own count-down, lift-off and compose a rocket theme that keeps recurring. Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform.
Listening: The Planets Suite – G Holst.
Autumn - Champions for Change - Victorians
Revise the lengths of notes and position of notes on the stave. Go over understanding of time signatures.
Read and perform a simple street cry as a chant, keeping in time with other street cries. Create words for own street cry and lay down its rhythm in either 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 or 6/8 time.
On tuned instrument, change the rhythm to a melody. Play on tuned percussion, sing the lyrics and add rhythmic accompaniment, creating a performance.
Practise, evaluate, make necessary changes and perform.
Listening: Music from the Romantic era.
Spring – Ukulele and Song Structure
Continue to revise lengths of notes and read and perform rhythms.
Revise understanding of chords – specifically tonic triads – and go over notes of the C major, F major and G major chords. Play them on tuned percussion, including keyboard instruments.
Learn about diatonic chords – specifically chords I, IV and V – and play chords with certain chord progressions. Accompany songs, that use these chords, on tuned percussion.
Revise chords C, F and G major on the ukulele. Accompany songs that use these chords on the ukulele.
Listening: 20th Century Song, including Jazz, Swing, Soul Rock and Roll and Pop.
Summer – Onwards and Upwards – Writing A Leavers’ Song
Revise understanding of diatonic chords and learn how chords I, IV and V are different chords in different keys, but have the same relationship to each other in each key.
In the key of C major, listen to ‘Wipe Out’ and move differently to each chord change to work out the chord progression. Introduce this as the 12 bar blues.
In pairs/small groups, consider lyrics for a ‘Leaving Connaught Blues’ song, basing the structure of the song on the 12 bar blues.
Using the correct chord (C, F or G) for each bar, compose a melody to work with the chords and put these words to it. Use either tuned percussion, ukulele or guitar (the latter writing in the key of G major) to accompany the melody.
Practise, perform and evaluate the performance.
Listening: The Blues.
The children have a wide variety of instruments to choose from and ample opportunities to compose and perform their own music.
Children also have the opportunity to learn an instrument and, at the time of writing, around seventy children learn an instrument in school. As well as learning the piano and guitar, which are the most popular, there is the opportunity to learn other instruments, such as the violin, clarinet, flute, trumpet and so on.
peripatetic teachers from Surrey Arts who come into school to teach these instruments. In order to book these lessons, please visit this website: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/arts/music/lessons-for-children
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
These instrumental lessons are often over-subscribed (particularly piano and guitar), so 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 Choir
Connaught’s school choir is open to children from all year groups and they practise after school on a Tuesday.
At Christmas the choir 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.
Every May or 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 – 2023 – they are practising towards the work, ‘Positive – A Celebration of Happy Thoughts’ by Teresa Jennings.
Last year, the choir had the privilege of singing to Their Royal Highnesses, the Earl and Countress of Wessex at St.Anne’s church, Bagshot, whilst they were visiting an exhibition there.
The choir taking part in the Surrey Schools Festival at the Princes Hall in May 2022.
The choir singing in front of the Earl and Countess of Wessex June 2022.
The choir rehearsing in February 2023
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.
‘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