The Music Curriculum

Year 2 helped to launch the ABRSM 2020-23 String Syllabus


Music is at the heart of Hackney New Primary School


The Music Curriculum at Hackney New Primary School seeks to fulfil the aims of the National Curriculum in the broadest and deepest way possible.   Through our Music Curriculum, children will perform, listen to, review and evaluate music from a broad range of music styles, genres and historical periods.  They will learn to use their voices, both creatively through composition and improvisation and in the performance of the work of others, and they will learn to play a musical instrument.  They will study the inter-related dimensions of music and learn how music is created, produced and communicated.

HNPS has made a significant commitment to the teaching of music, providing every child with a daily music lesson and with this significant investment in time and resources, we intend to give children the broadest and highest quality music education possible, going above and beyond the National Curriculum in the breadth and depth in which children study music.  The seven year music programme will move children through entry level and level 1 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework, with the aim that in year 6 children will pass grade 2 or Gold Music Medal.  

The curriculum will have Kodaly and Dalcroze methodologies at its heart because the strategies found within these methodologies match perfectly with the children’s developmental stage, mirroring how they acquire language.  Concepts will be approached through child friendly learning sequences of unconscious preparation, conscious introduction of the concept, followed by practice and reinforcement.   Singing will be fundamental to the curriculum as it is the first musical instrument and it is not possible to sing without engaging the inner ear, where sound is imagined.   All children will be encouraged to actively participate as listening alone is not enough to understand, with singing games from traditional folk music a key feature, where there is the  organic connection between music and movement.   At all stages the highest quality music from the broadest range of  traditions, genres and styles will be used so children can learn at ever deeper levels and form intimate relationships with the music they study.  Music and writing will be at the heart of the curriculum as every musician should be able to hear what he or she sees and see what he or she hears.  The music department will seek to deepen cross-curricular links developing traditional topic based links to include links where pedagogy and process are shared with other subjects.

The Kodaly philosophy also promotes that music is an essential part of human culture rather than a hobby which should be available to everyone..   This fits perfectly with our school’s inclusive ethos where we seek to remove the barriers that prevent many children from accessing a high quality music education.   Music is a core part of the curriculum, that happens entirely within the school day, and which is free to all regardless of ability to pay.   Furthermore, all children will participate in the curriculum regardless of ability or special educational needs and adjustments to the curriculum will be made so all children can participate and make progress.

The music curriculum will support the schools key aims.  Children will achieve academic excellence through the in depth study of this academic subject, thinking critically about music theory and music history.  They will develop an intellectual curiosity through the wonderfully vibrant world of music, stimulated by the rich and diverse worlds discovered through the study of music from the Western Classical Tradition, Jazz, Pop Music and World Musics.  Through learning an instrument over a sustained period of six years, and performing regularly with others, they will develop a strong sense of self-belief and responsibility.  

The music curriculum has been developed alongside similar programmes at The Royal Academy of Music and it has been further developed through work with Kodaly and Dalcroze specialists to ensure that the curriculum offers full coverage, is sequenced correctly and uses age appropriate strategies and resources.  Our curriculum matches closely the new model music curriculum, but is more ambitious in its reach.  As Kodaly programmes moving into KS2 are less common there will be continual curriculum maintenance especially where content is new and untested.


All Children will have daily music lessons.  In Reception this will be a daily musicianship class delivered by a combination of specialist and generalist class teachers.   

At KS1 and KS2 the children’s daily music lessons will be split between general musicianship and Instrumental studies.  There will be two general musicianship lessons per week, where the majority of national curriculum teaching occurs, again delivered by a combination of specialist and generalist class teachers.   In these sessions children will study the inter-related dimensions of music through Kodaly methods, which will work ahead of the instrumental curriculum, meaning that all concepts are prepared in musicianship ahead of instrumental learning.  At KS1 repertoire is sourced from a broad range of genres, styles and cultures with children at KS2 learning about music history, popular styles and world music more explicitly.  

Whilst improvisation and composition strands provide weekly creative opportunities in weekly GM lessons, there are longer term Improvisation projects (year 3 and 5) and composition projects (year 4 and 6) during the Spring term that really give children the opportunity to develop these skills in an immersive way.

Generalist teachers are supported in the delivery of musicianship, through twilight training with the Head of Music, videos for use in lessons and learning walks to help develop teachers practice in music.

Children’s remaining three sessions per week will be instrumental.  Children choose between the violin, viola, cello and bass at the end of Reception, through a concert given by the music team.  From Year 1 onwards children have a class orchestra session, where big musical shapes and structures are covered and two further instrument specific lessons in half classes.  There is a strong link between the General musicianship and instrumental classes as children learn to play repertoire previously introduced in musicianship..  All instrument specific lessons are taught by specialist teachers, who are supported with learning the methodologies and techniques by team teaching class orchestras with the head of department and through music department twilight training.  The school is also part of an informal group of institutions across London that deliver this stylle of teaching.  Children will also have experience of non western instruments with term units of work on Djembe drums.  The school has also acquired a set of Indian instruments and will explore how these can be incorporated into the curriculum.

Children will be given the choice between violin, viola, cello and bass and will be expected to study the instrument until year 6.   During this time they will have developed skills in perseverance and many transferable instrumental skills which can be applied to other instruments at secondary school, where music departments are better placed to offer a much broader choice of instrument.   Children will learn during curriculum time in school and there will be no expectation that they practise at home, to keep the relationship with music a positive one.  The regular contact with specialist staff is more powerful than unsupervised practice where misconceptions can be consolidated.

Repertoire for both General Musicianship and Instrumental lessons has been carefully selected and arranged to allow access to children learning at all levels.  It will be taught through high-quality repertoire, which is rich in it’s opportunities for learning.  This could include games and activities to reinforce key teaching points or multiple parts and layers that allow children to revisit the repertoire often throughout their school journey to gain an intimate knowledge of the music studied. 

With London being one of the most exciting cultural centres in the world, we aim to enrich the programme in several ways.  We will work with leading organisations such as The Royal Academy of Music, Institute for Education, The Royal College of Music, The South Bank Sinfonia, Temple Church and Hackney Music Service to develop our curriculum and enrich the children’s learning to visits to leading concert venues such as The Barbican, Wigmore Hall and Hackney Empire

Music is a live subject to be shared and children will perform regularly,  At the end of the Autumn and Summer Terms children will give concerts to the wider community, including a Nativity and Carol Concert at Christmas.  They will join force with local schools, performing at instrumental and vocal festivals hosted by the Hackney Music Service and will perform on a National Stage at Music for Youth


The impact of the music programme will be measured in a number of ways.  Children’s progress against learning objectives will be assessed twice a term, firstly in a formative way to highlight gaps in knowledge and skills and then summatively to produce data to feed into school systems.  This data will be analysed to inform teaching and future department priorities.   Teacher judgements will be supported by video evidence from lessons, workshops and performances or where the learning objective allows, through quizzes.  Children’s progress will also be lined up against the national qualifications framework, with year 4 working at ABRSM grade one level and year 6 at ABRSM grade 2 level, with the whole year groups taking the exam.

Emphasis is placed on musicality which helps pupils to build skills for all musical situations and a deep understanding of the musical elements underpins children’s progress in all areas of performing, composing, improvising and listening in a broad range of styles and genres.

Please view our videos below:

Year 3 playing the Violin

Year 3 playing the Viola

Year 3 playing the Cello

Year 2 playing the Bass

Music Programme Overview For Parents To View