At Saint Christina’s music is an integral part of School life – pupils throughout the school participate in a wide range of performances, musical activities and events, all of which have firmly established music as one of the strongest and most creative pillars of our school community.
"Thank you for your help and for guiding our child through cello. We were very proud of her performance today; she seemed confident and enjoyed it too, which is always a pleasure to see." (Year 2 Parent)
The benefits that music brings to children are well reported and scientifically proven: accelerated brain development, improved communication and public speaking skills and a greater sense of wellbeing.
EYFS music is explorative and playful. Musical repertoire compliments cultural calendar events such as Black History Month, Diwali, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter. Students are introduced to Kodaly technique as a means to develop pitch, ensemble singing and improvisation. The elements of music, such as pitch, dynamics and tempo, are explored in a fun and interactive manner.
The pupils in Years 1 to 4 follow a dynamic and diverse recorder program. We look at repertoire including: classical, chamber, jazz, samba, reggae, swing, spirituals, pop, funk and many more. All students graduate this recorder program with a solid knowledge of notation, theory, compositional structure and music history.
In Year Five, we study the ukulele. The course exposes students to working as an ensemble and understanding chordal structure and its influence upon contemporary music. We look at improvisation and composition. Toward the end of the academic year, Year Five play their ukuleles in school performances, such as the summer musical.
Performance is a feature for our Year Six students. The year encompasses all previous learnings in music: structure, dynamics, tempo, pitch, timbre, composition, improvisation, listening, music history and music theory. Students lead performances for The Carol Concert, The Passion Play and KS2 Summer Musical.
MUSIC ASSESSMENT FOR GROWTH
Our music pedagogy focuses on ability, knowledge, experience, understanding, demonstration and interpretation in all areas of music.
Therefore, to ensure that assessment is thorough and holistic we implement the following four models throughout the music curricula: Diagnostic, Formative, Interim, and Summative.
Schemes of work have key questions to check pupils’ understanding, and lists of things to look out for to show that pupils have secure understanding, or are working at greater depth. In turn, this enables planning for interventions and targeted support within the next lesson, as well as identifying who would benefit from the extension activities.
Pupils are encouraged to participate musically in a range of contexts including assemblies, weekly Mass and liturgies, the Carol Service and Christmas Nativities, informal solo and ensemble concerts, the Easter play and the annual summer production.
"Many thanks for organising such a lovely musical assembly this morning. We could see how delighted and proud the children were, and they all played so wonderfully!" (Year 3 parent)
Pupils are also able to make use of the school’s fantastic location through attending field trips, concerts and workshops given by renowned musicians that have included interactive performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, workshops by Gamelan music specialists at LSO St Luke’s and educational concerts presented by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In recent times we have been very privileged to be able to attend rehearsals by the English Concert Orchestra in our very own Chapel.
PERIPATETIC INSTRUMENTAL AND VOCAL TUITION
We have an outstanding team of peripatetic instrumental teachers who coach using a carousel structure, to ensure that no child misses important academic classes. Throughout the year, our young musicians are invited to perform in music assemblies to showcase their studies to peers, families and staff. Students currently have the opportunity to study piano, trumpet, violin, cello, singing, guitar, ukulele and flute. But we are always looking to expand our offering.
We offer the following musical clubs: music theory, Little Voices (Year One and Two), Junior Choir (Year Three and Four), Senior Choir (Year Five and Six), Orchestra, String Ensemble and Ukulele Group.
THE SCHOOL CHOIRS
Saint Christina’s offers 3 choirs – the Senior Choir is open to pupils in Years 5 and 6, the Junior Choir is open to pupils in Years 3 and 4, and Little Voices Choir is open to pupils in Years 1 and 2.
The choirs perform at various school functions including Masses, Open Mornings and informal concerts, as well as performing actively in the local community where the opportunity arises. The choirs are non-selective and encourage all pupils to develop their vocal ability through exploring a wide variety of contemporary and choral repertoire in a fun and enjoyable environment.
The school orchestra is a non-selective ensemble open to pupils in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6). Every effort is made to cater for the pupils’ wide range of musical abilities and as such, the orchestra explores a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire which is often arranged specifically for the pupils involved.