The Earth has music for those who listen

Music at Beech Hall

Music is taught throughout the school from Pre-school to GCSE. All pupils are taught with an emphasis on practical music-making, focusing on the four principal areas of listening, singing, playing instruments and composing for both voices and instruments.

At Pre-school, we start with keeping a beat, singing songs and adding simple accompaniments. Throughout the Infants, there is an emphasis on teaching musical contrasts such as high and low, loud and quiet, in order to introduce the seven elements of music (pitch, duration, dynamics, etc). They are also taught basic notation. As pupils move into the Juniors, the complexity of the music they can appreciate and create increases and the work becomes more sophisticated, with pupils adding layers to their music, experimenting with timbre and starting to think about what they are trying to create and how effectively they have achieved this.

When pupils join the Senior School they are starting to prepare for work at GCSE level, contextualising different genres and learning the features associated with them before applying this knowledge to their own composition. All pupils in the Senior School are given a ukulele that we use for practical tasks and as a way of reinforcing concepts and music theory. They learn to read TAB notation for ukulele and both lessons and homework time are used for instrumental practice as well as reinforcing vocabulary and listening skills. Pupils are encouraged to work in groups, exploring different instruments and how to use the elements of music. At GCSE level, pupils continue to use ukuleles but also start to use their own specialisms more, allowing them to experiment with performance and composition on their chosen instruments; we also use Garageband to create multi-layered compositions, before having conversations with pupils about how they would like to complete their Non-Examined Assessments in their final year.