Our Class Music teaching lies at the heart of the music education offered at Cheam School.
Music is taught to all pupils as part of a balanced curriculum. Throughout the courses, the music teaching develops each of the interrelated skills of Performing, Composing and Appraising. By making and responding to a wide range of music, the pupils are helped to understand:
- How sounds are made, changed and organised for example through the use of musical elements and structures.
- How music is produced, for example, through the use of the voice and instruments, and musical processes including relevant symbols and notations.
- How music is influenced by time and place, for example, how it can be affected by the venue, occasion and purpose.
We strive to engage all our pupils and develop their individual musicality in a fun and stimulating way.
The Scheme of Work can be divided into three distinct courses:
Pre-Prep Music Course
We have been on the most incredible journey with the younger children at Cheam using the wonderful resource of Jolly Music. Pupils from our Nursery to Year 4 have experienced the most amazing start to their musical careers.
We are blessed with a dynamic enthusiast of the Kodály methodology as their teacher and he has the opportunity to devote the entire music curriculum time to this project. Mr Martin Lijinsky works with each class either once or twice a week for a thirty minute session depending on their age group. The results are staggering and the children continue to surprise us with their musical development and confidence.
They really enjoy using Jolly Music. The resource, underpinned by the inspirational educational philosophy of Zoltán Kodly, enables them to discover and develop their singing voices. Through the simple repetitive use of unaccompanied rhymes, songs, games and folksong material they develop an accurate sense of pitch awareness. Their understanding of rhythm and their strong sense of pulse is very impressive.
These skills form such a critical basis for future musical development and all the children undertaking the course at Cheam have a very secure grounding. They are excited by enjoying their musical education and have begun to feel music within their heart and soul through the use of inner hearing and improved musical memory.
Junior Music Course (Years 3-5)
When the children arrive in the Prep School, we continue to build on the skills and knowledge acquired in the Kodly based Pre-Prep Music Course, particularly the emphasis on singing and aural skills.
In Years 3-5, the pupils receive two music lessons a week taught by Mr David Bishop. He has a real empathy with the children of this age group and specialist skills to encourage their enthusiasm for musical development and creativity.
Our aspirations through the Junior Music Course for each pupil are to:
- Discover a singing voice.
- Listen to a variety of music and be aware of different sounds and structures.
- Have an idea of basic music history using composers from Baroque and Classical periods.
- Have an understanding of pulse and rhythm and see how this relates to musical compositions.
- Acquire a working knowledge of Treble Clef notation and relevant theory matters.
- Gain confidence in performing on either an instrument or singing.
- Demonstrate an ability to compose music in small groups and be able to play these compositions on appropriate instruments.
In Year 3, running alongside the Junior Music Course, we devote one Music Class to a specialist String Programme. During the year all the children have the opportunity to play the violin, viola and cello and learn all about the string family of instruments. These classes are taught by our Head of Strings and Cello Specialists. We really value this programme as it gives the pupils access to these instruments at a young age and a new and exciting dimension to their course.
Every term, we have a Performance Week in class. This has evolved at Cheam and become a well-loved aspect of our Class Music. Children who learn instruments are invited to perform in front of their peers in a supportive environment. This really helps develop their confidence and critical appraisal skills. It has proved a successful link between Class Music, Instrumental Tuition and engages all the children in the class whether they perform or not.
Once a year, we work in partnership with the Drama Department to showcase the creative talents of the children in the Year 3, 4 and 5 Drama and Music Showcases. We offer songs and individual solo items in these performances given to staff and parents.
Senior Music Course (Years 6-7)
At the top of the school the children progress onto the Senior Music Course. In Year 6 each form receives two music classes a week, while in Year 7 the allocation is reduced to a single lesson.
The Senior Music Course builds on the work previously covered and our activities continue to centre on the vital aspects of Performing (playing and singing), Composing and Appraising. The course outlines the basic foundations of GCSE Music, following the current syllabus requirements of Edexcel Examinations.
We look at the four prescribed Areas of Study, introduce the key components (texture, timbre, tonality, metre, dynamics and structure) and listen to the twelve set works.
- Western Classical Music 1600-1899
- Music in the 20th Century
- Popular Music in Context
- World Music
We introduce Music Technology and use Sibelius to support our creative work. Time is also allocated to support extra-curricular activities (Division Music, Carol Services and Musicals) and once a term we hold a valuable Performance Week to enable all those who learn instruments to share their music making and build confidence in performance.Mr Tim Bennett, the Director of Music, is responsible for the Senior Music Course. He is passionate about giving all the pupils at Cheam a basic understanding of the GCSE Framework and preparing them thoroughly so that they can make an informed choice as to whether they wish to pursue this as an examinable subject at their Public Schools.