How we build champion musicians:
A Champion Musician at Blackhorse can confidently and creatively use pitch, rhythm and dynamics to create, practise and perform musical compositions, either by themselves or in a group. They know how to produce the best performances by listening to directions and to other performers in the group.
Our 'Learning Ingredients' in Music:
Extensive Opportunties: All children at Blackhorse receive a term of peripatetic music tuition in Years 2-5 in instruments including ukulele, violin, trumpet, African drums, saxophone or recorder (the school aims to offer a range of wind and string instrument opportunities but the exact instrument may vary depending on availability). In these sessions, every child receives a free instrument to learn for six weeks, with specialist lessons, led by a peripatetic music teacher, each week. In addition, children also receive a term of choral singing lessons, again, led by a professional teacher. Each terms’ tuition ends with a performance to parents. Children who demonstrate an interest in a particular instrument, as a result of these sessions, are offered individual and small-group peripatetic lessons.
In addition to this, the school provides extra-curricular opportunities for children who wish to further develop their love of music. The choir perform annually at the Thornbury Eisteddfod (winning the choral singing category in 2022 and 2023), as well as performing at St George’s Hall – an inspirational professional music venue complete with live band – as part of the Leaf School’s Choir Concert each June.
Expert tuition: We believe that music tuition is a specialised area, which is why we invest in providing a term of professional tuition for Years 2-5 (see above). Our Music Leader, Steph Phillips, is a multi-instrumentalist and performing orchestra musician, providing guidance and support to less confident staff.
The staff who run the Musical Theatre Club all have experience in creating high-quality performances. They are supported each week by ex-pupils who return to mentor the club members and provide additional coaching.
As not all staff members will be experienced music teachers, the school uses the Music Express scheme of work (see below) to ensure that the fortnightly music lessons are well-planned and of high quality.
Purposeful Practice: By allowing all children the opportunity to take home a different instrument in Years 2-5, children are able to practice the skills which have been taught in the weekly whole-class peripatetic music lessons. The Music Express scheme of work also provides the opportunities for all children to practice, refine and develop musical skills over time.
The school’s Musical Theatre Club rehearses for 7 months, after school and at weekends, in preparation for their annual performance each March. The choir practice for 5 months in preparation for their concert at St George's, again after school and at lunchtimes. Children at Blackhorse learn that to become a champion musician, you must practice!
Personal Effort: All children learn that mastering a musical instrument requires patience, practice and effort, over weeks, months and years. By providing opportunities for children to perform, they get to both see the impact of this effort on the performances of their older peers, and are encouraged to persevere themselves.