At Dame Dorothy Primary School we place a strong emphasis on music, believing that it is an essential and enriching element in the education and development of all children. Listening to music, performing and simply joining in with it, gives pleasure, lifts spirits and has an emotional dimension that children need to experience. We use musical activities to develop social and organisational skills, develop self-confidence and leadership qualities and aim to give children the best start in reaching their full musical potential.
Class Music Lessons
All children from Nursery to Year 6 participate in weekly music sessions which are planned in line with the New National Curriculum. Due to the implementation of the Wider Opportunities government initiative, designed to give all KS2 children the chance to play an instrument as an integral part of National Curriculum music lessons, all children learn to play the recorder in year 3 and year 4. Lessons include a range of activities, including listening, evaluating, composing and performing. Everyone listens and discusses our “Music of the Month” – for example the music of Handel, the Beatles, Mussorgsky, David Bowie and also different genres – brass band music, country and western etc.
Children who have shown keenness and musical potential are then given the opportunity to participate in specialist instrumental tuition from Year 5 where they can learn to play the flute, Bb clarinet, saxophone or keyboard. Children work towards participating in graded examinations.
Within timetabled class music lessons, there are also opportunities for children learn to play ocarina and tuned percussion. In Y3 and 4 all children have recorder tuition. Our wonderful musicians are given the chance to perform in the school’s music concerts.
Singing is important within our music curriculum. Y2 to Y6 singing sessions are planned to provide a fun and stimulating lesson – encouraging children to enjoy singing, but attention is also given to developing singing technique. Whole school singing gives children the chance to sing in a large ensemble and to sing rounds and more complicated pieces. Children from Year 3 upwards are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular choir sessions led by Mrs Ireland. The choir enjoy learning songs from the past and present, in many different styles and from different cultures. In 2015 the choir and some of Y5 participated in the Durham Cathedral Choir Outreach programme. This culminated in a performance in the cathedral alongside other schools and the choristers. In the Spring term the choir took part in the “Sunderland Singing Festival”. They performed 2 songs to an audience of children from other schools and achieved a silver award.
Beyond the boundaries….
In the spring term of 2017 ,children in Year 5 had an amazing experience with Opera North. Two artists from the company visited school and ran a workshop based on the opera “Hansel and Gretel”. The following day the children attended a full performance of the opera at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. The performance was sung in English and thanks to the preceding workshop the children followed the story really closely.
In March 2017 Year 6 attended a concert given by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Empire Theatre Sunderland. This special schools performance was narrated by young people from Sunderland. The pieces played were familiar classical music and film themes. The orchestra instroduced the children to the oboe, the trombone and the cor anglais. It was an exciting introduction to live orchestral music.
In addition to the wood wind and keyboard lessons provided by Mr Brown and choir, Y5 and Y6 children have begun to learn to play ukulele. During the last academic year, some of the children received their red and yellow awards for ukulele. In 2016/17 the school will hopefully have an advanced and beginners ukulele group.
Dame Dorothy’s Choir performance at the Sunderland School Singing Festival – they were awarded a SILVER medal