Music Scheme of Work

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The TES Music group is a great source of lesson ideas and inspiration and is the place to share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers. This is also where you go to debate the latest issues in the teaching of music in schools.

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Music Scheme of Work

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    Hi everyone,

    Our primary school currently has Music Express as a scheme of work but the teachers don't like it and rarely use it.  Can anyone recommend a good scheme of work which we could use (R-Y6 preferably) ?

    I have to present a staff meeting on it at the end of the month alongside a new music policy. 

     Thank you!!!!

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    I'm a primary & secondary music specialist but I've always created my own schemes of work. I can't stand Music Express personally - the few times I've tried to use some of the ideas from the books, I've wasted so much time just trying to get my head around the concepts and lesson plans in the book, it's better off just putting your own ideas together based on the timings you like to work towards.

    Are there any music specialists in your school? I can send you some ideas for KS2 (I don't teach KS1) and a layout of the scheme of work I created, but it's by no means perfect!

    As long as a scheme of work shows the important aspects, such as lesson layout over the half term, resources needed, main objectives of the unit, what the children will be able to do by the end of the unit, and so on, then I don't think you need to stick to a ready-made scheme of work necessarily. I certainly don't, and I find it much easier!

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    Ditto! I hope the teachers you are talking about who don't like Music Express are not classroom primary teachers who are not properly trained?

    Don't mean to be negative but so long as the cost-cutting exercise of "making do" with teachers who are "intersted but not trained" in music primary teachers is supported, primary teachers will be over worked, children will miss out and the overall standard of music in schools will drop even more.

    Any music teacher (properly trained!) worth their salt will have their own schemes of work - it all depends on the chemistry of each class and the strengths of each music teacher.

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    Nataliegoharriz that would be brilliant and so helpful if you could send me that. My email is heffernan_mj@yahoo.co.uk    Our Y5/6 teacher has never taught music as she recently joined our school and in her previous school they had a music specialist come in to teach music, so that would be great to show her your ideas and scheme of work layout. Many thanks :)

     

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    jonowen,

    All of our teachers are non-specialists.  We need something to follow, to base our plans on and to make sure we are covering all of the necessary requirements.  Does your school get someone in to teach music to your classes?

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    Hi Larnie, I am a music teacher (secondary) and used to visit our 4 feeder primaries weekly. Due to cuts I am now only secondary (help out for special events like Christmas, Burns night, assemblies etc in my own time) and as our pupils come from the 4 feeder primaries I have noticed a real decline in the pupils' musical knowledge and confidence. This breaks my heart as the infants in particular are SO enthusiastic (as you will know!) plus I see a gradual decline and return to Music being an elite subject, with those who can afford private lessons being the mainstay of the music department again.

    The primary teachers in the feeders "do" music but they don't hide the fact that they don't do it well - who can blame them? I would not be happy or confident teaching maths or geography, not because I can't count or read a map but because I'm not up to speed with best methods to deliver these subjets effectively.

    I don't mean to be negative Larnie but do you see my concerns? Kids get enough bog-standard music on TV, DVDs, Wii games and deserve quality music tuition...........

                                     Disappointed

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    Hi Jonowen , I completely agree!  My class of Y1/2 LOVE singing but of course the national curriculum wants us to do other things besides...

    We just need a starting point, resources to plan with/ and /or gather ideas for activities from etc.  I'm guesing with the lack of responses to this post other teachers are feeling the same!??

    Confused

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    I just emailed you Smile
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    hello nataliegoharriz could I be cheeky and ask for a copy of your plans too. Thank you.

    musicace@btinternet.com

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    I would be happy to send you the overview planning I have for our school. I am a Music specialist and teach all of the music now but class teachers used to teach it. Consequently, when Music Express came out a few years ago, many teachers breathed a sigh of relief! A bigger sigh was heard when PPA came in and the decision was made to cover Music during PPA time!

     But I do have some plans! They show the progression of skills and concepts through the year groups. Teachers are usually expected to do their own medium term and lesson plans though. That means the focus is on the individual class and their strengths/weaknesses.

    Email me: kdavies25.313@lgflmail.org

     

    Kim

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    I may be missing the point, but aren't primary schools supposed to be taught by all-rounders rather than specialists? Indeed, are they _not_ specialists - in educating younger children? Primaries don't necessarily have specialists in Art, Science or PE (though I bet there are lots of those 'interested but not trained' in the latter). Primary teachers need to be empowered to deliver quality music lessons, not undermined by specialists from a different sector, peddling untruths that those who did not do a music degree and grade 27 piano have nothing to offer: this simply continues to foster the cycle of low confidence levels among non-specialists.
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    brookey1970
    I may be missing the point, but aren't primary schools supposed to be taught by all-rounders rather than specialists?

     

    I think that was the ambition until about half a century ago, but the reality has outstripped the ambition.

    I was at primary school just after the war, and even then we had a specialist music teacher who was inspirational (although uncannily like Imogen Holst in her bun, enthusiasm for folk dance, and determination to teach forked fingering on the descant recorder).

    One year she became pregnant (quite how was always a mystery) and was replaced by a "generalist" who hadn't the slightest clue. I remember the 8-year old girl sitting next to me saying "if you don't tell her she can't sing in tune, I will tell her that you can't"). It was an awful dilemma for an 8-year old who'd already somehow passed Grade 5 piano and who could certainly distinguish a flat major 3rd from a proper one.

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    Ha, what did you do, florian?

    Surely, the fault is with the system, not the individuals.  There are dire specialists in all subject areas, including ours, and at all Key Stages.

     

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    As regards schemes of work, can I put in a word for Jolly Music (from Jolly Learning Ltd)? The lesson plans are written with the non-specialist in mind so they are very detailed and supportive. The work is done almost entirely through singing, with some use of unturned percussion, and the emphasis throughout is on building skills – pitch discrimination, performing the pulse and the rhythm, ‘inner hearing’ and even reading and writing music (done in a very simplified way so not daunting for teachers who don’t read music). Currently it’s only available up till Year 3 but it is planned to go right up to Year 6.
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    I wasn't going to comment again as I do understand the dilemma that head teachers are in, but

    ZoltanK
    (done in a very simplified way so not daunting for teachers who don’t read music).

    would anyone seriously consider teaching basic French, German or even English come to that, if they couldn't read the language? This is undermining Music teachers who studied for years with solo instrument lessons and then school and uni/college.

    (and that's my last word on this before I say something I'll regret Embarrassed)

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    jonowen

    (and that's my last word on this before I say something I'll regret Embarrassed)

    there was a bit missing from last post that went like this:

    .........why should Music teachers bother to do all that study if all primary music can be taught from a book (and a simplified one at that)?

    That IS my last comment.

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    jonowen

    I wasn't going to comment again as I do understand the dilemma that head teachers are in, but

    ZoltanK
    (done in a very simplified way so not daunting for teachers who don’t read music).

    would anyone seriously consider teaching basic French, German or even English come to that, if they couldn't read the language? This is undermining Music teachers who studied for years with solo instrument lessons and then school and uni/college.

    (and that's my last word on this before I say something I'll regret Embarrassed)

    there was a bit missing from last post that went like this: .........why should Music teachers bother to do all that study if all primary music can be taught from a book (and a simplified one at that)?

    As a teacher you must know that there is a difference between possessing a skill and being able to teach it. I did a music degree and a couple of diplomas; they taught me a lot about music and nothing whatsoever about teaching.

    Ideally a music teacher will be (a) a skilled musician and (b) a skilled teacher. Many schools are lucky enough to have a music specialist who teaches across the whole school (though sadly this is often done in PPA time so that classroom teacher misses out on a valuable opportunity to see how the teaching is done).

    But in many others, non-specialist teachers struggle without any clear guidance on what they should be teaching and how. Faced with this reality, how do you support such teachers?

    Jolly Music is an excellent scheme because it provides a well-thought-out pedagogical method (based on the Kodály approach); it is clear on what musical skills should be taught and it provides teachers (whether specialists or not) with the means of teaching them. You don’t have to be a non-specialist to use it; I know many highly trained musicians who have adopted this approach and found it has transformed their teaching.

    The notation used in Jolly Music is simplified because it is aimed at five- or six-year-olds; it enables these young children (without the benefit of instrumental lessons) to sing what they see and write what they hear, provided the musical material is also simple and the teaching is done in the right way. If this simplification helps the teacher as well, then so much the better. And far from being dumbed down, it is a far more ambitious for the children than, say, a GCSE curriculum that doesn’t require children to have any understanding whatsoever of musical notation.

    I’m not suggesting for a moment that ‘all primary music can be taught from a book’ – you become a musician by making music, just as you become an English speaker by speaking English – but a book that delivers a well-structured and carefully sequenced curriculum (as opposed to the scattergun approach seen in some other schemes) can make a world of difference. Better still would be effective training – but that’s a whole other debate.

    jonowen

    That IS my last comment.

    Please don't feel you have to stick to that.

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    Primary children (in many schools, perhaps most) are not taught PE by specialists, who nevertheless teach subject-specific skills - let alone by someone who has trained as seriously as the music teachers described. Indeed there are many _secondary_ children who are taught PE by non-specialists, and it's the same in other subjects. Maths, Art, Science - much of it taught by primary non-specialists, trusted, qualified and empowered to do so. To look down our noses at highly competent educators of young children is to miss something. With better training and more support there is no reason why primary teachers cannot deliver the primary music curriculum to prepare children until they receive a more specialist subject coverage in secondary, by teachers who are more focused on 'subject' than 'whole-child'.
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    Hey thanks everyone for your comments... wasn't expecting the specialist v non-specialist debate  but some good points raised!

    Nataliegoharriz many thanks for your brilliant resource you have sent me and I will email you kdavies25 now - thank you so much for sharing these, I know a lot of time and effort has gone into them. Smile

    Thanks again everyone Smile
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    Hi - could I be supercheeky and ask for your planning as well, please? I need some help to structure everything and, I too, have found Music Express almost impossible. I'd really appreciate it as am currently in planning hell! Thanks. My email is hbrookes@virginmedia.com
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