We actively promote and foster a musical culture at Uplands with a curriculum that aims to stimulate, engage and inspire every child to develop a love of music, whilst increasing the confidence they have in their talents as musicians. It is a curriculum that is continually evolving, in order to embrace and reflect changes in musical culture. For this reason, the children’s ideas and input are actively encouraged, in order that they are engaged in helping to create, adapt and shape a curriculum that is exciting, current and relevant to them.
At Uplands, the children come to school to enjoy learning, whilst also respecting each other’s differences and enjoying their rights. This policy has also been written with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: article 12 (respect for the views of the child), article 23 (children with disability), article 28 (right to education) and article 29 (goals of education).
It is therefore important that we allow the children to not only develop their musical talents, and to play to their strengths, but to help them explore their goals and aspirations, by providing them with a variety of exciting, new, musical experiences.
Musical skills are taught progressively through a combination of creative music lessons, and discrete weekly singing lessons. The Charanga scheme of work is used for teaching creative music from Years 3 – 6; it ensures exposure to a wide variety of different musical genres, with lots of practical opportunities for the children to explore and develop as musicians and singers.
A variety of cross-curricular links also ensure that music is woven into Uplands’ wider curriculum and take many forms. These range from school based activities, workshops and extra-curricular activities, to developing projects with professional companies and music artists. We have also taken singing beyond the classroom and have become a Singing Playgrounds school: our song leaders are helping to build an inclusive, child-led singing culture at Uplands, encouraging children to have fun with sharing and adapting singing games. School also takes part in the Birmingham Young Voices singing event, as well as identifying additional performance opportunities throughout the school year.
In connection with our Art of Brilliance project, we have explored the link between singing and wellbeing, recognising its positive impact. For this reason, we extended an invitation to the soul singer Beverley Knight, due to the fact that her career path echoes our wellbeing message. As a result, during the Summer Term of 2019, Uplands was lucky enough to receive a visit from Beverley, where she shared with them both her love of music and how hard work and focus makes it possible to achieve what you set your mind to, if you believe in yourself, your skills and your talents.
Uplands has a history of choral performance, striving to develop and enhance singing skills, not only within singing lessons but also through membership of the school choir. We try to ensure that our song choices are varied; that they foster our core values and respect for all ethos, and that they are songs with positive messages which reinforce the Art of Brilliance principles such as resilience, kindness and personal responsibility. As a school community therefore, music unites both staff and pupils: the musical repertoire is specifically chosen to support our weekly assembly themes, termly wellbeing song focus and hymn practice song selections.
The school is also able to offer the children the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. Whole Class Instrument Tuition is offered in Year 4 and delivered by Wolverhampton Music Hub staff, whilst our peripatetic music staff provide a variety of woodwind, brass and string instrumental tuition. The children learn in small groups, working towards music accreditation; they are also encouraged to develop and apply their skills by becoming members of the Uplands school orchestra.
Music at Uplands allows the children to discover their strengths as musicians, as well as those areas in which they might like to improve musically. It is important that they are able to celebrate their successes as musicians and performers. For this reason, we incorporate a variety of performance opportunities into the school calendar for showcasing musical skills, talents and achievements: class assemblies; Christmas and Leavers’ productions; celebration days; performances within the local community and also on a large scale where possible, allowing each child to demonstrate their abilities as a musician.