Music is a much loved part of life at Witnesham. Our children regularly perform musical compositions, pieces and songs at whole-school performances, concerts and assemblies.
Music is taught by class teachers and our visiting specialist teacher. Lessons are based broadly on the Music Express scheme as well as cross-curricular topic units, which incorporate singing, playing, composing, music appreciation and reading graphic notation, building on skills throughout the
Pupils enjoy a range of musical activities, for example recently Years 3 & 4 pupils learned about John Williams’ modern classical piece ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from one of the Harry Potter films, learning about the composer’s life and work as well as the instruments of the orchestra, while linking this to their dance work in PE by choreographing a dance to a modern remix of the piece. Their work culminated in composing music and sounds to accompany a short film, emulating the work of a real film score composer. All pupils took part in a Samba drumming workshop during our World Languages Day at Witnesham, learning word rhythms to help learn to play rhythms on their Brazilian instruments as well as learning the different whistle calls to know which rhythms to respond with.
Other musical activities include learning songs from countries around the world, learning to play known tunes and melodies such as pop songs on tuned percussion instruments, creating sound effects for our Fireworks and story units and singing mini beast, weather and seaside songs and rhythms.
Throughout the year, all pupils perform songs or musical works to parents, from assemblies linked to their train ride to the seaside, to musicals such as Jonah and the Whale. Christmas is the time for the annual Christingle service at St. Mary’s church, the Christmas play performed by the children in Classes 1 and 2, and carol singing at the local residential home. All feature a wide range of songs learned in music lessons.
A peripatetic music teacher visits Witnesham every week to teach guitar. Other extracurricular activities have included a recent music club run by visiting professional musicians’ company Band Academy, where the children experienced the process of writing, learning, recording and performing a song as well as making an accompanying video. The children also have the opportunity to take part in unique events, such learning and performing songs in Spa Pavillion in Felistowe as part of the Everlasting Light charity fund raiser to provide clean water to third world countries.
Pupils’ musical achievements outside of school, such as instrument grade exams, are celebrated in school assemblies, with pupils often keen to perform their pieces to the school or class. This is lovely shared learning, as it is valuable performance practice for individuals as well as a good opportunity to promote the value of learning an instrument to other pupils.