‘Education in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else, rhythm and harmony find their way to the innermost soul and take strongest hold upon it’. (Plato)


Our intent is for all children to be given the opportunity to develop a love of music, as well as their talents as a musician, by being immersed in a wealth of musical activities that can touch the soul: something unique that only music – a universal language – can do.

Children will engage and be inspired to perform and compose, thus increasing their confidence, creativity, and a sense of achievement.

We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and can use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in a variety of different contexts. Our children will be exposed to a wide range of great works to develop appreciation and enjoyment, as well as their critical engagement with music.

Our Music lessons are delivered weekly. Children in Nursery, work towards the goals for Music as set out in the Development Matters Framework: Expressive Arts and Design (2021). From Reception year, children are taught Music through the Charanga Original Music Scheme, which works towards children reaching the Early Learning Goals as set out in the EYFS Statutory Framework (2021). From Year 1 upwards, children access Music lessons through the Charanga Model Music Curriculum Scheme. This scheme was chosen as it not only meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum (2014) for Music, but it also works towards meeting the objectives set out in the Model Music Curriculum (2021).

Please see our long-term plan, which shows what your child will be learning across the year. Below, you will also find links to statutory and non-statutory guidance, which our Music curriculum fulfils.

Music LTP Dodworth

Development Matters – Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage

Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (publishing.service.gov.uk)

National curriculum in England: music programmes of study – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Model Music Curriculum Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 – March 2021

Research review series: music – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Music education at Dodworth starts as soon as children enter our Early Years Foundation Stage. Research shows that music supports literacy development in young children, as it helps to build phonological awareness, which is essential for children to become strong readers and writers as they get older.

Our music curriculum is ambitious, but it is also taught in a way which ensures that learning is broken down into small steps, which continually build on prior learning, making it accessible to all.

As children progress through KS1 and KS2, they further develop their knowledge of the key concepts of music: pulse, rhythm, structure (form); pitch (melody); dynamics; tempo; timbre; texture; and notation.

You can see how these concepts are broken down across our year groups, below.


The focus in the Early Years is on children learning nursery rhymes and action songs and sharing and performing what they have learned.

In Nursery, children develop their listening skills through showing an increased attention to sounds. They respond to what they have heard, expressing their thoughts and feelings. Children are encouraged to create their own songs and improvise around songs they know. Children also play tuned and untuned instruments, such as percussion and glockenspiel, with increasing control to express their feelings and ideas.

In Reception, children follow the Original Charanga Music Scheme to work towards the Early Learning Goals and prepare them well for KS1. The focus is on listening and responding, exploring, and creating – initially using voices, but building to using instruments, such as the glockenspiel, too.

Year 1

Children are taught music through the Charanga Model Music Curriculum Scheme. Through this, they watch, follow, feel, and move to a steady beat with their peers and find and enjoy moving to music in different ways, responding to the pulse in live and recorded music. Children perform word-pattern chants and compose short, repeating rhythm patterns (ostinato and riffs), while keeping in time with a steady beat. They recognise, sing, and play high and low-pitched notes on the glockenspiel and recognise the difference between the tempo of a steady beat, fast beat, and a slow beat. They talk about loud and quiet sounds and identify different sounds in the environment (indoors and outside), including the sounds of instruments played in school and heard when listening to music. Children begin to understand texture by listening out for combinations of instruments, and structure (form), by identifying when to sing in a verse and a chorus.

Year 2

Children build on their musical knowledge from Year 1 as they begin to recognise the time signature 4/4 by ear and notation. They understand that the speed of the beat can change, creating a faster or slower pace (tempo). Children recognise long and short sounds and match them to syllables and movement. They begin to compose rhythms using word phrases as a starting point. Children use body percussion, untuned and tuned percussion instruments with a song, and listen to how the sounds blend. They understand that singing and playing together creates a musical texture. Children begin to understand technical musical vocabulary and link loud and quiet to forte and piano

Year 3

In Year 3 children build on their learning from KS1, by recognising a strong beat and playing in time with a steady beat in 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 on percussion instruments. Children recognise, change, and control the speed of a steady beat. There is more focus on notation from Year 3 and children recognise by ear and notation: minims, crotchets, quavers, and their rests and can alternate between a steady beat and rhythm. Children identify the names of the pitched notes on a stave: C, D, E, F, F#, G, A, B, Bb, C and if a scale is major or minor. They explore and play by ear or from notation a five-note and a pentatonic scale. Children continue their learning about structure (form) by showing the different sections of a song or piece of music through actions and they use dynamics to help communicate the meaning of a song.

Children in Year 3 also have weekly guitar lessons, which are provided through the Barnsley Music Service.

Year 4

Children in Year 4 respond to the offbeat or backbeat of a piece of music. They recognise by ear and notation: semibreves, semiquavers, dotted minims, and dotted crotchets, and copy and compose simple rhythm patterns by ear and using simple notation (semibreves, minims, crotchets, and quavers). Children identify and explain what a melody is and understand melodic movement up and down as pitch. They identify the scales of C major, F major, G major and A minor and compose melodies by ear and notate them. Children identify and explain the structural terms: verse, chorus, bridge, repeat signs, final chorus, improvisation, call and response, and AB form within musical structures. They identify gradation of dynamics and use the correct vocabulary to describe crescendo and diminuendo. Children explain the terms solo and unison and the difference between them. They explain tone colour, recognise groups of instruments and individual instruments by ear. Children understand the importance of vocal warmup and its impact on the tone of the voice.

Year 5

In Year 5, children play in time with a steady beat and identify the metres 2/4, 4/4, 3/4, 5/4 and 6/8. They learn the notation of triplet quavers, dotted quavers and their rests and recognise dotted rhythm in melodies, copying and composing rhythm patterns using what they have learned. Children identify the instrumental break and its purpose in a song. They identify and explain steps, jumps and leaps in the pitch of a melody and continue to identify scales, adding D minor, Eb major and C minor to what they already know.  Children identify dynamics and how they change the mood and feel of the music: forte, piano, mezzo forte, mezzo piano, crescendo, diminuendo. They recognise the connection between tempi and musical styles. Children recognise different ensembles including, gospel choir and soloist, rock band, symphony orchestra and a cappella group. They identify solos and instrumental breaks in songs and talk about different vocal textures.

Year 6

In Year 6, children learn how to identify syncopation and swing. They recognise by ear and notation, dotted triplet quavers and their rests, as well as 9/8 rhythm patterns. Children talk about how musical styles often have the same musical structure and the purpose of this. They identify where changes in texture and tonality help emphasise the contrasting sections in a song and recognise that changing the tonality at different points within the song, creates different sections to the structure. Children identify an interval of a major triad (3rd, 5th) and an octave by ear or notation. They copy simple melodies by ear or from reading notation and compose their own and notate them. Children continue to use chords, including F minor and G minor and identify the tonal centres of D major. They identify and demonstrate the following scales by ear and from notation: major scale, minor scale, pentatonic scale, blues scale. Children identify how dynamics can support the structure of a song or piece of music and the connection between dynamics and texture. They recognise an effective use of tempo at the end of a song. Children continue to recognise ensembles including pop groups. They also recognise band instruments, instruments of the orchestra, and other instruments such as steel pans, harmonica, banjo and accordion. Children sing and play instruments in different-sized groups. They refer to repeated rhythmic or melodic patterns as riffs / ostinato and understand how texture builds throughout a piece as voices are layered.


Music in the Wider-Curriculum

At Dodworth St. Johns, we pride ourselves on the extra-curricular opportunities that we offer our children in Music. These include:

  • School Choir – run by Mrs Barber and Mr Brookes
  • Weekly Guitar lessons in Year 3 provided through the Barnsley Music Service
  • Rocksteady in-school rock and pop band lessons
  • Instrumental lessons provided through the Barnsley Music Service / Barnsley Music Hub
  • Performing Arts Group delivered by Mrs Barber at lunchtime

Mrs Barber also supports other schools within St. Mary’s Academy Trust by delivering Music CPD sessions for staff.


Did you know?

If your child qualifies for scheme of aid and receives free school meals, they’re also entitled to a group music lesson at a third of the normal price.  They can also hire an instrument for free. Please ask in school for more details.


Useful Links

Barnsley Music Service

Music Education Hub | Barnsley Music Education Hub | United Kingdom (barnsleymusichub.com)

In-School Rock & Pop Band Lessons | Rocksteady Music School



Mrs Barber is our Music Ambassador. If you have any questions about Music in school, please email k.barber@smat.org.uk