At Hamstead Junior School we aim to give the children an experience of learning to play a range of musical instruments that they can learn and develop further if they choose to. We also believe it is important to give them performance opportunities both in and out of school.
Our commitment to music has been recognised nationally and we have been awarded the 'Music Mark' for three consecutive years. As a school, we are now working towards achieving 'Arts Mark' which recognises our commitment to not only music but also dance, drama and art.
Weekly Instrument lessons
At HJS, we are keen to give the children the experience of trying different instruments so they can find their preferred instrument or hidden talent. It is normal practice that in Year 3, all children get to learn how to play the Ukulele and start to get an understanding of chords and basic rhythm patterns. During Year 4, children have the opportunity to learn how to play the recorder where they play single notes that form a tune. This is developed further when they get into year 5 as they then apply these skills to the clarinet where they are able to play a wider range of notes and rhythmic patterns. Year 6 children have the opportunity to play in a school rock band. Rock band gives the children the opportunity to each play different instruments and learn how to play as part of an ensemble. Rock band teaches children to listen to each other and keep in time with a given beat whilst all playing different rhythms and notes.
The restrictions placed upon music delivery by Covid 19 mean that in 2020-2012 this has been adapted so that:
Year 3 will play the ukulele during the Spring and Summer Terms.
Year 4 will complete the ukulele experience, halted in March by lockdown.
Year 5 will continue to develop their musical knowledge by learning the clarinet.
Year 6 Rock band has been adapted so that Year 6 are receiving curriculum support aimed at preparing them for Rock Band, developing body percussion and reading music.
Every week, our children experience a singing assembly where they recap old school favourites or are taught how to sing a new song. Songs vary in traditional school assembly music, songs from musicals or films to songs that are in the charts that have a message for us to learn or sing about.
COVID UPDATE: At the moment guidelines do not allow singing, so the emphasis is on listening to pieces of music by identified composers.
Extra-curricular activities – Choir
Children who enjoy music have the opportunity to join and develop their music understanding further in years 5 and 6 by joining the school choir. This is an extra-curricular club where music is either selected by the teachers for a particular performance or by the children themselves. The children who perform in the choir get to perform during our special school assemblies (such as Christmas candlelight assembly, awards ceremony and leavers) and also get to perform outside of school at special celebration concerts (such as Lest Us Forget at the NEC in 2018) and at the RSPB centre in Sandwell Valley. We are lucky to have a good relationship with the RSPB centre that they invite us to perform in their yearly Christmas concert and music festival.
COVID UPDATE: Choir will be resumed when guidelines state it is safe to do so.
With every year group learning different instruments, children participate in two performances (or concerts) a year. The first one is always at Christmas followed by one in the summer. In addition to the instrumental performances, selected children are also given the opportunity to perform their instrument as children are walking into or out of assembly. At Christmas, we hold a ‘Candlelight Assembly’ where children sing as a school whilst some children perform as either a choir or a small instrumental group.
COVID UPDATE: Performances will resume when safe to do so, as current guidelines would not permit audiences. Where possible some music videos will be posted to the school website in order to entertain parents.
At HJS, we believe music is important for three reasons:
1. It develops an understanding in a subject that children can create a wonderful career from.
2. It allows children to grow in confidence and can sometimes give even the quietest of pupils a chance to shine.
3. Music is great for helping people with their mental health by enabling them to relax or just have fun whether listening to or playing music.
“Well done to all. The concert was amazing! I was surprised at how much you’ve all learnt in such a short amount of time.” – Year 3 Parent
“An amazing clarinet concert. The children have all worked very hard learning the music in such a short space of time. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to seeing some more performances!” – Year 5 Parent.