Benedict Biscop Prince Bishop School Teaching Alliance Leading School
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All Things Are Possible

At Benedict Biscop we want our children to learn that all things are possible.  We want our children to aspire and to achieve highly. We want our children to develop as musicians, developing music knowledge and skills.

The National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence. To understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations

We believe that music should develop children with the following essential characteristics to help them become musicians:

  • A rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work. 
  • A musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise. 
  • Very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres.
  • The ability to give precise written and verbal explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately.
  • A passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities.

Where Does It Start? 

Our philosophy of music education is based on the principle that it should be fun and engaging for all concerned. Every child is a born musician, and music plays a role in every aspect of our lives – wherever and whoever we are.

Pupils begin their Music journey at Benedict Biscop in our Early Years environment. Our provision has been carefully created, to provide a range of opportunities throughout the day to help develop music knowledge and skills.

By the time our pupils leave our school, we aim for them to be able to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory.

In Key Stage 1 children are taught to:

  1. Use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  2. Play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  3. Listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  4. Experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the interrelated dimensions of music

In Key Stage 2 children are taught to:

  1. Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.
  2. Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the interrelated dimensions of music.
  3. Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.
  4. Use and understand staff and other musical notations.
  5. Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.
  6. Develop an understanding of the history of music.

The Pillars of Music

Knowledge in Music

Knowledge in music is broken down into two main types:

  1. Substantive knowledge: knowledge of the key elements/inter-related dimensions of music (pulse, rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics, timbre, structure, texture, notation)
  • Disciplinary knowledge: the interpretation on the interrelated dimensions of music and how this knowledge is used when singing, playing instruments, improvising and composing, to develop creative and original pieces and performances

Deepening children’s understanding of the elements/ interrelated dimensions of music is essential in order to meet the aims of the national curriculum and allow children to develop as musicians! Using a spiral approach and deliberate practice, children are able to develop and demonstrate fluency and therefore better application and interpretation of these elements. Progress in music requires children to develop musically across 3 ‘pillars’ that connect skills and knowledge learned as a musician.

Pillar 1 – Technical

  • the accurate production of sounds using the voice, an instrument or music technology.
  • the ability to use staff notation and other systems such as learning by ear or chord symbols for the communication of music.

Pillar 2 – Constructional

  • the knowledge of how musical elements, such as harmony, melody and rhythm come together.
  • knowledge about the components of composition: what we need to include in compositions and how we put a composition together.

Pillar 3 – Expressive

  • about expressive responses linked to music
  • focus on musical quality in performance, composition and listening, including how this is affected by history social context and purpose
  • knowledge and understanding of how the interrelated dimensions work together to give musical meaning

Together, these pillars contribute to ensuring children develop ‘musical understanding’ and become musicians.

Curriculum Overview & Design

Year GroupAutumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
EYFSWhat can you hear?   Can I sing familiar songs and rhymes?   Charanga unit: Little angel gets her wingsWhat sounds can I make with my body?   Can I sing familiar songs and rhymes?   Charanga Unit: Musical activitiesCan I explore instruments?   Can I sing familiar songs and rhymes?   Charanga Unit: Our world
Key Stage 1   Cycle BPulse, rhythm and pitchBells ring outInventing a Musical StoryExploring ImprovisationGlockenspiel Stage 1Glockenspiel Stage 2
Year 3Writing music downClass instrument – Recorders   Playing in a band  Class instrument – Recorders   Compose using your imaginationMore musical stylesEnjoying ImprovisationRec suggested pathway
Year 4Musical structuresClass instrument – Ukulele   Exploring feelings when you playClass instrument – Ukulele   Compose with friendsFeelings through music.Expression and improvisation.The show must go on.
Year 5Melody and harmony in music.Sing and play in different stylesComposing and chords.Freedom to improvise.Music technology unit – Garage Band   Freedom to BattleMusic technology unit – Garage Band   Battle of the bands  
Year 6 Music and technologyDevelop ensemble skillsCreative CompositionMusic styles connect usMusic technology unit – Garage Band   Improvising with confidenceMusic technology unit – Garage Band   Farewell tour

In Key Stage 1 & 2, we follow the National Curriculum with a personalised Model Music Curriculum from Charanga. The scheme ensures learning in music is sequenced throughout each year group and supports staff well to deliver the music curriculum. The interrelated dimensions of music are mapped out clearly to ensure that they are revisited constantly ( see below). This provides an effective base on which all other musical learning can be built.  

The following learning sequence/activities allow both substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be developed across the 3 pillars of music.

  1. Listen and Appraise
  2. Musical Activities (including pulse and rhythm)
  3. Singing and Voice
  4. Playing instruments
  5. Improvisation / Composition
  6. Perform and Share

“Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school.”

DfE’Model Music Curriculum

We want our children to have a rich cultural experience, we carefully plan opportunities into our curriculum for children to attend performances and workshops within our locality and region. This helps our children to gain real-life experiences, developing a passion for music they can take with them for life


Performing Arts Club

Instrumental Lessons

BB Fest


Benedict Biscop promotes a curriculum that puts all pupils, regardless of their needs, at the heart of what we do. By building mutual respect, we accept others for their differences believing that everyone is special and everyone has something to offer. Our inclusive and enriching curriculum, written for all children, provides pupils with meaningful and aspirational experiences as well as promoting personal growth for life-long learning. When the curriculum needs adapting, to suit the needs of individual children, appropriate modifications are made by the class teacher with support of the SENDCo and the Curriculum Subject Lead

Useful Links

Chrome Music Lab –

BBC Bitesize KS1 Music –

BBC Bitesize KS2 Music –

Interested in finding out more?

If you would like to find out more about our curriculum. Please contact the school office by emailing and we will ask a member of staff to get back in touch a.s.a.p.

Helping children to realise their potential. Aspiring to excellence in all aspects of life

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