Primary school music curriculum form "Love Music Trust"

When I did the survey of primary class teachers “Music Express” was cited by many, many teachers as the scheme that their school used to teach music lessons. I am often asked which schemes I use. I think that the brevity of the new music national curriculum feels shocking to some teachers who would rather have a scheme to guide them through. Personally I like having the freedom to create my own curriculum but I can understand that busy harassed class teachers would appreciate having a carefully thought out scheme.

The Love Music Trust (the lead organisation for Cheshire East Music Education Hub) have developed a music curriculum resource for key stage 1 & 2 written specifically for the generalist class teacher. I haven’t explored it in great detail but 3 facts pre dispose me to liking it:

1. I love their key principles which they express clearly here:

The key principles of our curriculum are:

  • Every child is inherently musical and can develop their musicality through active participation in a range of musical activities;
  • Music should be taught in an active and experiential way. In other words, music should be taught musically;
  • The key learning processes in Music are performing, composing, listening, reviewing and evaluating;
  • The key learning processes in Music should be taught in an integrated way. In other words, musical activities in the classroom should include a blend of the key learning processes; they should not be taught in isolation from each other.
It is our strong contention that Music can be taught in this way by every primary school teacher. This curriculum has been written for primary school teachers with no specialism in Music.
We agree with Janet Mills, HMI for Music, when she wrote the following:

Some of the finest music teachers that I have observed, particularly, but not only, in primary schools, have no qualifications in music, and teach many subjects—in some cases the whole of the primary curriculum. They may never have learned to play an instrument, and they may not read staff notation well, or at all. What they bring to their music teaching is their ability, typically developed in other subjects, to diagnose where students are, and work out ways of helping them to learn, frequently coupled with a degree of humility about their music skills that leaves them continually questioning how well their students are learning, and whether there are approaches that would enable them to learn more rapidly. They also often bring particular musical skills, interests, and knowledge that are additional to those of the teacher in charge of music at the school, and that enrich the music curriculum of the school. (Mills 2005, pp.28-29)

2. Their “learning ladders” look like a useful tool to manage assessment

3. I have a lot of time for Dr Jonathon Savage (he is definitely worth following if you don’t already. Twitter name @jpsavage) who I came across on twitter. He is a lecturer at Manchester University, author, creative director of UCan Play and fearsome defender of music education for all. Jonathon has been closely involved, working with primary teachers to produce this resource.

It costs £299.00 a year and for that you receive 6 x half term units of work for each year group for year 1 to year 6 and 12 months online support.

I won’t be buying it as I enjoy creating my own curriculum but if I was a headteacher worried that my staff weren’t teaching music I’d certainly take a closer look and seriously consider it

I am really grateful that Love Trust Music have put up their pages on learning and progression for anyone to look out and share for free. I am certainly going to look at using the ladders to help me create my own framework. At a time of great anxiety over assessment these documents are very welcome indeed.

Over the weekend I plan to post up an outline of the curriculum I teach.

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