At Grimsdell we love to sing: we sing in class, between activities, when we are lining up and when we leave assembly and music is played each morning as the children enter school.
Music at Grimsdell is taught by a specialist teacher. Each child has a music lesson once a week as well as a Year Group singing session. Music is also part of the children’s task time giving them access to an extra music session which is always linked to their topic.
Learning music should be a pleasure and our voices are the most accessible universal instrument. Therefore, Music is taught using the Kodaly and Dalcroze methods. Kodaly’s method offers a way of naming sounds (relative solfa), using simple language to discuss and understand musical structure. Dalcroze developed a system of teaching rhythm called ‘Eurythmics’ using gesture and movement. This helps the children to be expressive musicians using their body, heart and mind. It is a quick and fun way to learn how rhythm is constructed, combining the physical movement with the visual and aural. We are not just telling them, but giving them an experience. The children are engaged all of the time because their whole body is constantly engaged in what they are doing.
This approach is accessible to everyone and also enables us to stretch children who are already learning an instrument. The children participate in ‘singing circles’, using a wide range of simple songs. They work on pulse and rhythm, call and response songs and create accompaniments using percussion instruments. They develop their ability to read and understand rhythmic notation, using a variety of games and movement work. They also work on their singing and performance skills using a wide range of repertoire singing in parts and rounds.
We also embed PSHE values through music with an initiate called ‘Musical Dots’. Their chart quality music with themes for children is led by lovable musical characters whose names and personalities teach music terminology and unlock potential in all personality types.
We have a choir called The Toffee Bear Choir for children in Years 1 and 2. This choir is open to all children who love to sing and they have many performance opportunities throughout the year.
If children wish to try an instrument in small groups we currently offer Cello, Ukulele and Keyboard club to children in Year 2. These take place before and after school. The clubs that are offered are fluid and catered to need. The clubs have the opportunity to showcase what they been learning in assemblies to the rest of the school and to parents.
Throughout the year, all of the children have the opportunity to perform in excellent productions: A whole school Nativity play at Christmas in ‘The Large’ at Mill Hill School which is led by Year 2 and a whole school Christingle service in The Chapel. Reception and Year 1 each perform in their own productions later in the year and these are linked to the topic. All productions are put on to a very high standard and include singing, dance and the opportunity for every child to act with speaking parts for all children. These are performed in the theatre at Mill Hill School on a wonderful stage with lights, music, costumes and scenery. It is a fantastic experience for the children and parents!
Grimsdell has a strong connection with the local community and we enjoy performing for the members of the Good Neighbours scheme; a charity who give support to older, less mobile and isolated people in the area. It is lovely to be able to connect the two generations through music. The children also take part in the Infant Music Festival once a year at a local primary school in the borough. It gives KS1 children an opportunity to share music with children from other local schools and to give a performance of their own.
The children at Grimsdell have cross foundation links with Belmont and Mill Hill School and enjoy watching the Year 3 Nativity at Belmont every year and performing with the other foundation choirs on Fireworks night and during assemblies. It is always encouraging for the children to have the older children visit Grimsdell and play their instruments for us.
Trips are organised throughout the year to inspire and further enrich the children’s knowledge by seeing and hearing live instruments and becoming accustomed to theatre etiquette.