This policy outlines the teaching and organisation of Music at Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue. The original plan was formulated following two in-service training days and one in -school planning day for music in 2005. The plan was then reviewed by all staff during a whole school summer course in July 2014 and again during the course of a number of staff meetings in October 2018.
The planning process involved all the teaching staff of Scoil Naomh Áine.
The rationale behind the formulation of this plan was:
• To benefit teaching and learning of music in our school
• To provide a coherent approach to the teaching of music across the whole school
• To review and update the existing plan for music in light of the 1999 Primary School Curriculum.
We believe that Music education is part of a balanced curriculum which aims to develop the whole spectrum of the pupil’s intelligences. We are committed to maintaining a wide-ranging curriculum in Music, which we believe is an essential part of the whole curriculum, contributing in a major way to the spiritual, moral, emotional, cultural, and intellectual development of all the pupils. Through Music education, we seek to provide opportunities for pupils to understand themselves and to relate to others, forging important links between the home, school, and the wider community.
We endorse the aims of the Primary Curriculum for Music (p. 12 Curriculum Book), which are to:
● Enable the pupil to enjoy and understand Music and to appreciate it critically;
● Develop the pupil’s openness to, awareness of, and response to, a wide range of musical genres, including Irish music;
● Develop the pupil’s capacity to express ideas, feelings, and experiences through Music as an individual and in collaboration with others;
● Enable the pupil to develop his/her musical potential and to experience the excitement and satisfaction of being actively engaged in musical creativity;
● Nurture the pupils’ self-esteem and self-confidence through participation in musical performance;
● Foster higher-order thinking and life-long learning through the acquisition of musical knowledge, skills, concepts, and values;
● Enhance the quality of the pupil’s life through aesthetic musical experiences.
1. Strands and strand units
The teachers of each class grouping will familiarise themselves with the strands /strand units and content objectives as outlined in the Curriculum for their class levels.
o Infant classes pp. 14-25o First and second class pp. 26-40o Third and fourth class pp. 41-59o Fifth and sixth class pp. 60-79.
This familiarity will be maintained through consultation on a formal [staff meetings] and informal basis if or when teachers change classes or when new staff join the teaching team. Each teacher will be familiar with or seek assistance from those familiar with the necessary musical concepts: a sense of pulse, a sense of duration, a sense of tempo, a sense of pitch, a sense of dynamics, a sense of structure, a sense of timbre, a sense of texture and a sense of style.
The three strands:
• Listening and Responding• Performing• Composing
are to be afforded equal importance in general but at various times emphasis may be placed on one or other of these.
At certain stages of the year a thematic approach may be adopted. These occasions are:
[a] Christmas performances
[b] Religious celebrations including First Communion and Confirmation
[c] Possible Concert or other public performance. (e.g. Peace proms, Hallelujah concert, Sing out loud etc)
[d] Seachtain na Gaeilge
2. Approaches and Methodologies:
[refer to Curriculum and Teacher Guidelines pp.52 to 127]
• All children will be actively engaged in music education in our school.
• All teachers will be actively involved in music education in our school.
• If external teachers are supporting specific aspects of the music curriculum, they need to be familiar with the 1999 music curriculum. Where possible they will be involved in the planning process for music.
• We aim to encourage a positive musical environment that aids and values the sharing of ideas, skills and resources. (See Teacher Guidelines p. 29)
• The approaches and methodologies used will foster active enjoyable participation in the music curriculum.
• All opportunities will be provided to enhance children's lives through music.
Strand: Listening and Responding:
This strand includes exploring sounds and responding to Music. Sounds include instruments, environmental sounds, body percussion, and vocal sounds.
Children in our school are provided with opportunities to listen and respond to music by experiencing a wide range of musical styles, traditions, and cultures. Our teachers provide opportunities for active listening and responding by questioning, prompting, suggesting, listening to short examples repeatedly etc., in line with Teacher Guidelines p.55. Children are given opportunities to respond to music in a variety of ways which include: describing emotions, responding through dance, drama, art, or simply talking about the music, moving, listening for specific instruments and/or specific features, following/creating a pictorial score of music, writing in response to music, composing, singing or playing along with music, musical games and action songs. Children are provided with opportunities to work in different groupings: whole groups, small groups, pairs, and individually; children are especially encouraged to work collaboratively and co-operatively.
During these activities, children are provided with opportunities to offer varying and creative solutions to presented problems.
Listening Materials: A broad range of listening materials are available:
• Tuned and untuned percussion instruments;
• Recorded music on CDs, You tube, spotify and the internet
• Environmental objects, e.g. assortments of metals, wood, fibres;
• Instruments of child/children in the class;
• Melodic instruments—tin whistles and keyboard
• Instruments of teachers on staff—e.g. double bass, violin
In both music and environmental recordings selected for listening, the focus is on discriminating between sounds and describing them in terms of their source, timbre, texture, structure, pitch, dynamics, tempo, duration, structure, and style. In selecting recorded music, a balance is maintained between music from Ireland and other countries, choral and instrumental, music for different occasions and purposes (e.g. religious ceremonies), solo and ensemble, classical and folk and other genres.
This strand includes giving all children the opportunity to play an instrument, and to acquire basic music literacy skills. Opportunities for pupil performances are provided in class, at whole school celebrations, weekly assemblies, at Holy Communion, Confirmation, School Mass, Christmas Concerts, external performance and other occasions.
In the Performing strand, the following are emphasised:
• Active enjoyable participation;
• Development of skills, understanding, and knowledge;
• Fostering of children’s attitudes and interests;
• Development of creativity.
Song singing is seen by our teachers as an ideal way of engaging large groups in enjoyable and fulfilling music making. Our teachers are aware that the range of notes of a song should be within the range of the children’s voices. Some of our teachers teach a song by ear—i.e. using their own voice. Others use a melodic instrument, which also works very well. Some teachers use a recording to teach songs.
In teaching song-singing, teachers keep in mind the recommendations of Teacher Guidelines pp.70-73, and 76-80. When teaching singing with the musical elements in mind, teachers refer to Teacher Guidelines pp.74-76. The following will be encouraged at all levels - part singing, teaching rounds, partner songs (duets) and part songs. See Teacher guidelines pp. 71-85.
Music literacy will begin at Infant level with Rhythm and pulse activities. Throughout the school the vocabulary used for the various beats will be as per pg. 93 of the Teacher guidelines. See Appendix 2. Rhythm notation will be taught as per the Music curriculum pg. 54 and 75.
Additional literacy in Music will be covered by the teaching of tin whistle to children from 2nd class upwards. Opportunities will be provided for playing instruments through tin whistle lessons from 2nd class upwards. (See appendix 2 for guidelines for each class in the teaching of tin whistle) Informal playing of and with instruments in the younger classes will largely revolve around percussion. (See Teacher Guidelines pp. 104-109)
Opportunities will be provided to perform for an audience at the occasions listed earlier in this plan and will include
o Within class
o Other classes
o Wider community.
The senior classes from 3rd - 6th class form a collective choir for whole school religious occasions. The senior class teachers in conjunction with Colette Cleary (special responsibility for the school choir) will organise and co-ordinate the choir.
Children are encouraged to improvise, discuss, evaluate, and record music as part of the Composing Strand. Opportunities are provided to improvise and/or compose in a variety of contexts—e.g. to accompany a rhyme, song, poem, cartoon or story; to explore the musical concepts/elements; to experiment with sound; to portray a character, mood or setting; to illustrate events; to convey an abstract concept; to explore melody or to accompany a 'Scratch' project (6th class) . Children are given opportunities to compose/improvise using vocal sounds, body sounds, instruments, and environmental sounds.
Children are given opportunities to contribute to the setting of ground rules for creative music activity: when organising composing activities, teachers refer to pp.111-112 of Teacher Guidelines.
3. Linkage and integration:
Linkage: As far as possible the strands of the curriculum - Listening and responding, Performing, and Composing will be dealt with as being interrelated and interconnected.
Integration: Music can be easily integrated with another subject in a way that complements curriculum aims and objectives in both subjects e.g.
● Gaeilge (le amhráin, rannta, scéalta);
● English (oral language, new music vocabulary, stories);
● Mathematics (number songs and rhymes, note value and time relationships being linked to the study of fractions etc);
● History (development of music and instruments through the ages, lives of famous composers, different traditions, music related to periods of time in the past - Famine, 1798, French Revolution etc);
● Geography (origins of instruments, music from different countries, cultural links, national anthems);
● Science (Sound)
● P.E. (dance: appreciation of various genres of music and dance styles, musical concepts such as pulse and rhythm).
● Drama (Christmas concert)
● Visual Arts (Construction - making instruments)
Theme based activities used to support integration can be listed as part of each teachers class plan.
The main assessment tools used for music will be:
● teacher observation
● teacher-designed tasks and tests
● recording of the children’s work
● graphic/pictorial scores
The assessment will be used by teachers to inform their planning and the management of the learning activities. Teachers will report on the child’s progress in Music at parent-teacher meetings and in the annual school report. When passing on their class at the beginning of the school year, each teacher (verbally) informs the new teacher of the children’s ability and progress in Music over the previous year. When assessing the three strands, teachers refer to pp. 125-127 of the Teacher’s Guidelines. Teachers are aware that assessment in Music may produce evidence of learning needs in other areas of the curriculum also.
5. Children with Different Needs:
Teachers in Scoil Naomh Áine strive to meet the needs of all children in the school. They will achieve this by varying the pace, content, and methodologies, in order to ensure learning and success for all children. Activities may be adapted and modified so that all children can participate meaningfully in classroom music. The special needs assistant (SNA) may have a wider role/responsibility during some music activities e.g. assuring safety of his/her charge during dance etc. The school will attempt to provide challenges for children of exceptional ability as the need becomes apparent. A specific provision will be made for any child with a disability. To help in this work, teachers refer to pp.40-41 of Teacher Guidelines.
6. Equality of Participation and Access:
All the children in our school will participate in all aspects of the Music curriculum. Girls and boys are provided with equal opportunities to participate in classes /activities. Boys and girls have equal access to and opportunities to experience all strands.
All classes will have a minimum of one hour per week of Music. This time allocation may be broken down at the discretion of the individual teacher. We recognise that in the junior classes, the time allotted will be of shorter duration on a more frequent basis, while senior classes may divide the hour into longer time spans, such as two thirty-minute sessions, or three twenty-minute sessions. Teachers may also choose to block times for music at particular times of the year. Timetables will all record the time allocation for Music.
8. Resources and ICT:
See appendix 1 for a list of resources available in the school.
There are adequate resources for all classes. It is the responsibility of each teacher to ensure that these resources are correctly maintained and stored. The percussion instruments will be stored in the press in the Halla Mór.
ICT's are used on a regular basis in a variety of ways. The interactive whiteboard is regularly used as well as the internet to source music on-line, interactive instruments, composing music online, on-line Karaoke, interactive games, environmental sounds etc. The Ipads or Ipods are also used to record the children for assessment/self-assessment purposes, music appreciation, recording compositions etc. Each child supplies their own 'd' tin whistle from 2nd - 6th classes.
9. Health and Safety:
Teachers will at all times be mindful of the school’s Health and Safety Policy. Children will be encouraged to safeguard their own well-being. Children will be encouraged to show respect for musical instruments, and to play them at an appropriate volume.
When planning for music, consideration will be given to the following:
• Hidden dangers if children are moving about the classroom;
• Storage facilities;
• Access to, and transport of, equipment/instruments;
• Amount of space for children to sit or stand when doing choral or instrumental work;
• Appropriate volume levels when using audio equipment and instruments.
10. Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting:
In order to provide information and guidance for their long- and short-term planning for Music, teachers will refer to the NCCA curriculum documents for Music and to this Whole-School Plan. Specific work to be covered will be laid out in teachers’ long and short term plans. The Cúntas Míosúil reflects work completed by each teacher. Each teacher will outline song choices in their long term plan as this is a personal choice.
11. Staff Development:
The staff will be notified of any opportunities for further professional development through participation in courses offered by the Co. Wexford Education Centre and/ or other parties.
The skills and expertise of school personnel will be shared in Music as in other curricular areas, through input at staff meetings, as well as in an informal basis.
12. Parental Involvement and Community Links:
Parents are encouraged to support their children’s activities in Music by:
• Encouraging active listening
• Discussing attitudes towards, and taste in, music
• Allowing time and space to practice and improvise on an instrument
• Encouraging positive attitudes to Music in general and school-based activities in particular.
Parents are sometimes invited to attend school or classroom music events, as supportive audience members for children’s performances, and/or to assist in the supervision of children.
At Christmas a carol service is held in the local church and parents are invited to attend the performance.
At individual parent-teacher meetings, teachers will discuss the child’s progress in Music with the parents.
The success of this plan will be measured by the following criteria:
● Implementation will be evident in teaching and learning in the classroom;
● Continuity of content and methodology will be evident in teachers’ planning and monthly reports;
● On-going evaluation will demonstrate that pupils are acquiring an understanding of the concepts in Music;
● Children will have a positive attitude and appreciation of Music;
● Children will have an interest in expression through Music;
● Children will have listened and responded to music from a wide range of genres and cultures;
● Children will be able to use their voice as an instrument and sing songs, appropriate to their vocal range, from a wide range of genres and cultures;
● Children will be able to play a variety of instruments;
● Children will experience a variety of ways of recording Music,
● Children will improvise and create music, using a variety of sound sources;
● Children will discuss, evaluate, and record their activities in Music.
(a) Roles and Responsibilities
The plan will be implemented and developed by the teachers in their own classes. We will monitor the implementation/ progress of the Music programme by formal and informal discussions amongst the teachers and by encouraging and accepting feedback on its implementation.
Following consultation with the Parents Association and ratification from the Board of Management, this policy will be implemented during term 2 of the school year 2018/2019.
This plan will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure optimum implementation of the music curriculum in Scoil Naomh Aine. The following may be involved in any future review:
● Teachers, pupils, parents, BOM/DES
The policy will be reviewed again in 2021/2022.
Ratification and Communication
Ratified by the Board of Management on November 27th 2018.
Appendix 1 Classroom Resources
A variety of resources are available in individual classrooms, especially sing-along CD's and samples of various schemes. Also available are:
Music made easy: Teacher Manual, posters, pupil workbook
Zippety Zappy Zee: Sing along songs and CD
Wiggly nativity: Script and CD
Noisy orchestra: book
Creepy crawly Calypso: book and CD
Carnival of the animals: book and CD
Singing Sherlock book 1: book and CD
Disney sing along: book and CD
Tin whistle books
Carnival of the animals: book and CD
Disney sing along: book and CD
Singing Sherlock book 2: book
Tin whistle book and CD
Non-class specific resources:
Music in the classroom: book and CD, Ceol 2018 CD
Musical Resources in the school
● Bongo drums
● Set of chime bars
● Boom whackers
● Egg shakers
Percussion kit -
9 tambourines 3 jingle sticks, 1 rainmaker, 1 guiro and beater, 7 triangles and 3 steel beaters, 3 pairs of claves, 2 two-tone wood blocks and beaters, 1 tulip block and beater, 1 pair rhythm stick, 3 wood blocks, 5 maracas
** Teachers have individual resources/materials/cds in their own classrooms
Appendix 2 Teaching Tin whistle
Notes taught at each class level
2nd class: B, A, G, F#
3rd class: E, D, C#, D'
4th class: E', F'
5th class: C, G', F#', A'
6th class: All notes, rests
Tunes taught - the following tunes are to be taught as a minimum:
2nd class: Tin whistle made simple (Mary had a little lamb, Betty's bag, Hot cross buns, Sunny day)
3rd class: Tin whistle made simple (Twinkle twinkle, frère Jacques, London Bridge, Old McDonald)
4th class: Whistle along (Kookaburra, Sally Gardens, Brahms Lullaby, Edelweiss, Silent Night)
5th class: Whistle along (Morning has broken, Baidín Fheidhlimí, Spancil Hill, New World symphony, Kerry Polka, Joy to the World)
6th class: Whistle along (Planxty Irwin, Bonny Bonny Scotland, National Anthem, Christmas melody- including Jingle bells, Classical pieces from 'Melodies in D' - Julia Ryng)