Music at Smarden Primary and Nursery School

Our Vision for Music:

‘Every child a Musician’

We aim at Smarden to support the new 2022 National Plan for Music Education (NPME) vision “To enable all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests, including professionally.”

At Smarden we want all pupils in music to:

  • Be inquisitive and have an opportunity to explore and try new things

  • Be creative

  • Build on their prior learning and knowledge

  • Enjoy learning new skills for life

  • Feel included and feel like they are part of something

  • Understand about themselves and their place in the world

  • Get along with and collaborate with others

  • Be brave, ambitious and resilient

These statements underpin the intention of our music curriculum.

By providing a high quality music curriculum we aim to provide our children with the opportunities to;

Develop the skills required to listen to and appreciate all forms of music,
Become vocalists or musicians who are soloists,
Develop the skills required to play in bands and ensembles,
Develop the skills required to create music as writers and composers.

We ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to listen, play, perform and compose through regular music learning and opportunities. Our emphasis on a broad and balanced curriculum ensures that music is valued as a subject.  Music begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Children develop their communication and language skills, physical development and explore the expressive arts through exposure to sounds, rhymes and songs.  Music learning at KS1 and KS2 continues to be practical; our children are taught to understand and appreciate music through listening, singing, playing, performing and composing. Through regular, active and practical engagement in music learning, our children develop musical understanding and fluency.

Learning an Instrument
Our music offer at Smarden enables all pupils to experience learning an instrument.  As part of our curriculum, whole class instrument teaching begins in Year 1 with the Ocarina.  From Year 2, Recorder lessons are delivered for every pupil for one term/year.  Children are able to borrow a school recorder to take home for practise.

In Year 3, children have the opportunity to learn the Ukulele. Lessons are delivered by a specialist Music Teacher and are part funded by the Music Plus Scheme.  The class receives a 60-minute lesson per week for most of the academic year.
The lessons develop children’s musicianship skills as well as their confidence in playing and performing together.
Children are able to borrow a Ukulele for their lessons. The year’s programme will culminate in an end of year performance to parents to celebrate progress.

Co-curricular Music Offer
All children from year 1 to 6 have the opportunity to learn a range of instruments as part of the school’s co-curricular offer.  Lessons are delivered by independent peripatetic tutors and take place during the school day.  The tutors liaise with class teachers and try to rotate lesson times each term to avoid children missing the same subjects.  Children can choose to learn the piano, electric guitar, classical guitar, have individual voice lessons or continue with the violin. Children can also join the lunchtime 'Rock Band Club' selecting either drums, keyboard, lead guitar, bass guitar or vocals.  We are committed to enabling all pupils to take advantage of music lessons at Smarden and offer a 50% discount to pupils in receipt of Free School Meals or Pupil Premium pupils. We also support parents to apply for funding through Kent Music School.

For more information about how your child can learn these instruments, you can contact our peripatetic music tutors via the school office.

Smarden School Choir
Smarden Choir love to perform!  Children from Year R to Year 6 meet every Friday lunchtime led by our parent volunteer, Mrs Tucker, and enjoy singing a broad range of classical, pop and rock songs. Children perform confidently and enthusiastically.

Singing Assembly

In addition to taught Music lessons in class, ‘Singing’ assembly (once per week – approx. 20 minutes) is used to enhance the children’s singing abilities, provide them with the opportunity to sing in a larger group and perform to others. Musical Productions/Services are also integrated into each year group across the school, enabling all pupils to take part in a bigger performance/show every year.

The Music Curriculum at Smarden

We follow the Model Music Curriculum (MMC) at Smarden. The MMC is a non-statutory resource that provides a practical framework through which the statutory requirements of the curriculum can be met. The MMC sets out sequences of learning in the following key areas which, when taken together, all contribute towards the steadily increasing development of musicianship:

• Singing
• Listening
• Composing
• Performing/Instrumental Performance

We have identified the key concepts in music and have developed a progression of knowledge and skills document.  This is the basis for all planning.  Teachers use 'Charanga Music' as their main resource for music lessons at Smarden, although this is supplemented by Classroom 200 and Minute of Listening.  Charanga is a structured Music development programme. This is used to support teaching music progressively, and building knowledge and skills across and within year groups. It is designed to support specialist and non-specialist teachers and comes with a wide range of supporting resources so that all staff are able to teach it. It includes knowledge organisers in KS2 and vocabulary lists for all year groups. Links are made to previous learning and also to other areas across the curriculum. The online resources provide access to a wide variety of Music and teaching resources.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

The MMC takes as its starting point the ambition that every young person should be able to experience music and to make progress. It is founded on the belief that music enriches individual lives as well as a school’s wider community.

Music has a rare and unique ability to bring people together; music making can make a whole class, school and community feel connected to others and part of something bigger. This MMC celebrates the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities as it does the leaps in technology that have made available new tools and adapted instruments, leading to improved access and greater choice for all pupils to realise their creative potential.

The National Curriculum Inclusion Statement states that teachers should set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement.


The Model Music Curriculum

Smarden's Progression of Knowledge and Skills Document 2023

Theory Guide 


MMC Musical Elements

MMC Musical Styles






Here are 5 ways you can promote and support Music learning at home with your children:


1 - Create homemade instruments with household items

Creating instruments together can be a fun activity and the instruments can then be used to explore different aspects of music.

Try creating shakers by using pasta and rice in empty bottles.

You could also try using bottles either with filled with varying degrees of water or empty and scraping them with spoons or twigs to make sounds, or just upturned pans and colanders.


2 - Make your own simple guitar

Using tissue boxes, shoe boxes without the lids or fruit punnets you can create a string-type instrument.

Use the box for the base of the instrument and take four to six rubber bands. Wrap the rubber bands around the base, the long way, and make sure there is space between the rubber bands. Experiment with ways of making sounds with the bands.

Also try using small pieces of sandpaper wound round a finger of each hand to rub together and create sounds.

Try using household items to make other instruments!


3 - Think about and use the sounds of daily life

Together with your child you could explore the sounds heard on different journeys.

For example:

  • What does the journey to the park sound like – what may we hear on the way?
  • A journey around a supermarket will involve a range of different sounds.
  • A journey to school, whether by foot, by bus or in a car will also involve a range of sounds.

Listen out for sounds on journeys with your child and think about how these sounds could be recreated at home?

You could make a piece of music together that represents different types of journeys that you make.

Are there any surprises on your journey and what may this sound like?

Invite your child to draw a journey and then play this journey by using body percussion, vocals and sound makers in the home.


This activity will also support your child with their Phonics learning, exploring environmental sounds which will, in turn, support your child with learning to read.


4 - Use drawing to think about music

Drawing to sounds and music can be a lovely listening activity, you can invite your child to ‘dance with their hands’ whilst using their crayons, pencils, felt tips, paint brushes, encouraging them to listen to the music and respond to the music through their visual art.

You can explore this with different types of music – watch your child, do the contrasting sections affect how they draw or paint?

Experiment with different types of music, does your child have a preference for pieces of music to draw/paint to?


5 - Build on the anticipation in songs

Anticipation can be a key aspect in music, for example listening to hear what is going to happen next as a piece of music builds.

Examples of building anticipation musically with children are apparent in many traditional songs and games such as peepo songs and Round and Round the Garden - the anticipation is created by slowly speaking the words "one step, two steps" accompanied with the activity ending with the tickling given by the adult.

You can explore anticipation by playing vocally with your child and use movement to accompany this, e.g., start with your hands together and gradually move them apart whilst accompanying this movement with a vocal sound, keep moving the vocals as you move your hands apart and end this game by bringing your hands back together to clap.

Once you have introduced this you can then wait for your child to clap and end the game so that they have the power to build up and release the tension, building excitement and anticipation.

All of this can be done through the use of sound and without the need to speak or use words.