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St Michael With St John Church of England Controlled Primary School home page

St Michael With St John Church of England Primary School

Nurture, Inspire, Achieve!

Year 1

Year 1 Rationale

Throughout Year 1 children build upon their learning in EYFS and they learn and develop their skills in Singing, Listening, Composing, Musicianship and Performing. Lessons are based on the Charanga scheme of work and within the units, children learn how pulse, rhythm and pitch work together. Each week is progressive, with children learning new knowledge and skills. The learning from the previous week is recapped at the beginning of the lesson.


Children start lessons listening to a range of recorded and live music and they express their own opinions about the music. Through questioning, children learn to recognise and respond to changes in dynamics, tempo and timbre. The questions asked are repeated each week to different songs to support children’s understanding of musical vocabulary.


Following the listening and appraising part of the lesson, children take part in a variety of musical activities, including warm-up games. Children learn to listen to sounds in the environment and compare high and low sounds (pitch). Children learn to walk, move and clap to a steady beat, changing the speed of the beat as the tempo of the music changes. They copy short rhythm patterns led by the teacher using body percussion and instruments. Children learn to play short repeating rhythm patterns based on a word-pattern chant while keeping in time with a steady beat. Children join in with singing games with accurate pitch matching. Children improvise simple vocal chants, using question and answer phrases. Children learn to explore body, vocal and percussion sounds to create musical sound effects and short sequences of sounds in response to stimuli. They understand the difference between creating a rhythm pattern and a pitch pattern. They begin to create rhythms using words and phrases as a starting point. Children use music technology to capture, change and combine sounds.


Following the musical activities, the main unit song is taught. Children learn to sing simple songs, chants and rhymes with a small pitch range from memory, singing collectively and at the same pitch. They sing familiar songs in both low and high voices and talk about the differences in sound. They respond to simple visual directions and counting in. They explore using their voices expressively and creatively. They begin to explore using their ‘thinking’ voice. Children learn to name some common hand-held percussion instruments and they recognise their sounds aurally. Children learn to play short, pitched patterns on tuned instruments (chime bars). Graphic notations and symbols are introduced when playing and performing. They recognise how graphic notation can represent created sounds and explore and invent own symbols. In the final part of the lesson, children perform the unit song to their peers and children evaluate their learning.