Music has a very high profile at Sir Thomas Abney Primary.
We believe in providing an engaging and stimulating curriculum. Children are encouraged to listen to and explore a broad range of music, based on many traditions and forms of music.
The school employs a dedicated music specialist teacher who teaches weekly lessons to all classes. Children are given a range of opportunities to create, improvise, compose and perform with a focus on music-making.
On top of class-based music lessons, Key Stage Two children are encouraged to take up an instrument provided by inspirational music tutors from Hackney Music Service. Over 100 young musicians enjoy subsidised instrumental music lessons. These include recorder, woodwind, brass, guitar and ukulele. Children also participate in performances in school and borough-wide events, featuring our instrumentalists, mixed ensemble, choirs and individual performers.
In recognition of this consistent level of excellence, Sir Thomas Abney Primary are winners of the Mayor of Hackney Award for Excellence in Music Education and the individual award for Excellence in Music.
At Sir Thomas Abney Primary, we believe in giving every child the widest possible range of opportunities to
achieve their full potential in music. We aim to give them the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve
competence and control in:
- Using instruments
- Distinguishing the inter-related musical dimensions using instruments
- Listening and responding
The 2014 national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
Key stage 1
- use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
- play tuned and untuned instruments musically
- listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high quality live and recorded music
- experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music
Key stage 2
- play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments
with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
- improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
- listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
- use and understand staff and other musical notations
- appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different
traditions and from great composers and musicians
- develop an understanding of the history of music
Since the introduction of the National Curriculum, we have developed our music curriculum to ensure that
lessons give all children the opportunity to:
- listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, cultures, styles and
- make judgements and express personal preferences about the quality and style of music
- sing and use their voices to create different effects
- create and compose music, both individually and in groups / ensembles
- use musical language to communicate their musical ideas
- take part in performances with an awareness of audience
- develop their social skills, particularly expressing their feelings, through music making
Music plays an integral role in helping children to feel part of a community, therefore we wish to provide
opportunities for all children to create, sing, play, perform and enjoy music both in and out of the class.
Music teaching at STA delivers the requirements of the National Curriculum through a mix of the Charanga
programme, the music teacher’s own schemes of work and LSO schools' concerts. Key knowledge and skills for each year group are mapped to deliver progression throughout children’s time at STA. We believe that children can build on previous knowledge and get constant exposure to music-making – they learn by doing!
The music curriculum is broken down into half-termly units with an on-going musical learning focus that helps to increase the development of pupils’ musicianship. In most lessons, an emphasis is placed on musical elements, enabling children to talk about pieces of music using the correct musical language. Lessons usually include singing, listening, playing, performing, composing and improvising. This ensures that children better understand when they are listening to, playing or analysing music. Children have access to a broad range of untuned and tuned percussion in the music room and, if learning an instrument, are encouraged to bring it to the whole class music lessons. Pupils have the opportunity to join the school choir and to participate in the annual Hackney Music and Dance festivals at the Round Chapel. The school choir is open to all children on a weekly basis and focuses on singing in unison, developing harmony, solo performances and having fun! We also have regular performances at the school winter and
summer fairs. In the last few years, we have performed at the local Woodberry Down carol concerts.
Our music curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression and build on and embed current skills. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills in the different musical components and teaching of vocabulary also forms part of the units of work.
If children are achieving the knowledge and skills in lessons, then they are deemed to be making good or
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Pupil discussions and asking the pupils about their learning (pupil voice)
- Photo and video evidence of the pupils’ practical learning
- Summative and formative termly assessment based on the assessment framework
- Revise and replan in lessons and subsequent lessons to reflect what pupils need to develop
- Dedicated specialist music teacher time
The impact of our music curriculum is also measured in the uptake of our music extra-curricular clubs and
uptake of additional peripatetic teaching.
Regular performances at school and the school’s involvement in local musical events, including the annual
music festival, ensure that children are developing as confident performers. They also provide further means
to showcase the impact of the school’s high-quality music provision. We have external confirmation of the
high-quality work we do: from achieving “Excellence in Music Education Practice” and individual awards from
the Mayor’s Music Awards: the London Music Fund scholarship for a trumpeter; being asked to host graduate
students from the Guildhall in music lessons to give practical advice in the classroom; and strong involvement with the LSO: a unique experience for just our pupils, singing with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.