Links to the Music Curriculum

The following tables serve to demonstrate how A Common Approach covers the subject content for music in the National Curriculum in England, the Curriculum for Wales, the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum. The referenced curricula are those for Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second Level in Scotland, as these are the stages at which whole-class vocal and whole-class instrumental programmes are usually targeted.

In some schools, whole-class vocal or instrumental teaching is designed to cover the requirements for curriculum music. In some cases these lessons are the only music teaching that a class will receive during the course of the week. In other schools, whole-class vocal or whole-class instrumental teaching sits alongside separate curriculum music lessons, and therefore the requirement for curriculum coverage does not rest solely with the whole-class teaching.

Regardless of whether whole-class vocal or whole-class instrumental teaching has curriculum coverage as a prime purpose, planning lessons based on A Common Approach’s six areas of interrelated musical experience will embrace all areas of the music curriculum. The same applies to individual and small-group teaching, and therefore the music curriculum can be enhanced by the extra opportunities that such lessons provide.

It is also important to note that, in cases where whole-class vocal or whole-class instrumental teaching is responsible for curriculum delivery, the length of the lesson can impact upon the ability to ensure complete coverage. The Model Music Curriculum in England states that at Key Stages 1 and 2, pupils should receive a minimum of one hour of music teaching a week. Where whole-class lessons are shorter than this, some areas of the curriculum may need to be covered separately in additional timetabled music sessions.

A - Listening and internalising

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3)Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

– Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory

– Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians

– Develop an understanding of the history of music
Statement of What Matters:

Exploring the expressive arts is essential to developing artistic skills and knowledge and it enables learners to become curious and creative individuals.

– I can explore how creative work can represent, document, share and celebrate personal, social and cultural identities.

– I can explore and describe how artists and creative work communicate mood, feelings and ideas and the impact they have on an audience.

Statement of What Matters:

Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.

– I can apply knowledge and understanding of context, and make connections between my own creative work and creative work by other people and from other places and times.

– I can reflect upon how artists have achieved effects or communicated moods, emotions and ideas in their work.
Experiences and Outcomes:

I have listened to a range of music and can respond by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work.

EXA 2-19a

Benchmarks:

Explains preference for music pieces listened to, live and/or recorded, using appropriate musical concepts.

Recognises a range of music styles and identifies some of the main instruments used in, for example, classical music, jazz music, rock and pop music.

Explains, with supporting reasons, what works well and what could be improved in their own and others’ work, using appropriate musical vocabulary.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Listen and respond to their own and others’ music-making, thinking about, talking about and discussing a variety of characteristics within music that they create, perform or listen to, for example:

– discuss and make suggestions about their own and others’ music-making;

– respond imaginatively, for example, through movement, drama, dance, to a wider range of music in variety of styles and media;

– think and talk about the sound characteristics of some common instruments and the kinds of music they play;

– think and talk about the elements of music and how they are used in music from different styles and cultures.

B - Making and controlling musical sounds : Developing technique

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3)Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
Statement of What Matters:

Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.

– I can draw upon my familiarity with a range of discipline-specific techniques in my creative work.

– I can identify and respond creatively to challenges with resilience and flexibility.
Experiences and Outcomes:

I can sing and play music from a range of styles and cultures, showing skill and using performance directions, and/or musical notation.

EXA 2-16a

Benchmarks:

Performs songs in unison and in parts, individually or as a part of a group, and communicates the mood and character of songs from a range of styles and cultures, such as folk songs or songs from musicals, using appropriate performance directions, for example, gradually getting louder/quieter, and/or musical notation.

Performs on instruments, individually or as part of a group, to communicate the mood and character of a piece of music through, for example, the use of appropriate dynamics and expression.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Sing and perform with simple instruments from memory, by ear or from notation to develop vocal and instrumental skills, for example:

– sing a variety of songs and simple rounds, for example, songs from different countries and cultures;

– develop performing skills on a wider range of instruments and play simple accompaniments to songs;

– play from memory, by ear or from notation.

C - Creating and developing musical ideas

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3) Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the interrelated dimensions of music
Statement of What Matters:

Exploring the expressive arts is essential to developing artistic skills and knowledge and it enables learners to become curious and creative individuals.

– I can explore and experiment independently and demonstrate technical control with a range of creative materials, processes, resources, tools and technologies showing innovation and resilience.

– I can explore the effects that a range of creative techniques, materials, processes, resources, tools and technologies have on my own and others’ creative work.

– I can explore how creative work can represent, document, share and celebrate personal, social and cultural identities.

Statement of What Matters:

Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.

– I can apply knowledge and understanding of context, and make connections between my own creative work and creative work by other people and from other places and times.

Statement of What Matters:

Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.

– I can combine my knowledge, experience and understanding to plan and communicate my creative work for a range of different audiences, purposes and outcomes.

– I can draw upon my design knowledge and make connections with greater independence to modify and develop my creative designs.

– I can safely choose and use the correct creative tools and materials with some consideration for others.
Experiences and Outcomes:

Inspired by a range of stimuli, and working on my own and/or with others, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through musical activities.

EXA 2-18a

I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to experiment with sounds, pitch, melody, rhythm, timbre and dynamics. EXA 2-17a

Benchmarks:

Uses voice, instruments and technology to create music, experimenting with timbre, for example, uses tuned/untuned percussion instruments to create simple melodies and rhythms.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Work creatively with sound by creating musical stories, pictures, patterns, conversations, accompaniments and by investigating ways of preserving the music they have created, for example:

– create stories and pictures through sound, for example, using voices, instruments and other sound sources, including available musical technology;

– create short musical patterns or musical conversations, for example, between two instruments, and accompaniments, for example, to accompany singing or as a basis for drama and dance activities;

– investigate ways of preserving the music they have created, for example, by developing graphic scores or using recording technology.

D - Singing/playing music

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3) Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression

Use and understand staff and other musical notations
Statement of What Matters:

Exploring the expressive arts is essential to developing artistic skills and knowledge and it enables learners to become curious and creative individuals.

– I can explore and experiment independently and demonstrate technical control with a range of creative materials, processes, resources, tools and technologies showing innovation and resilience.

– I can explore the effects that a range of creative techniques, materials, processes, resources, tools and technologies have on my own and others’ creative work.

– I can explore and describe how artists and creative work communicate mood, feelings and ideas and the impact they have on an audience.

Statement of What Matters:

Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.

– I can apply knowledge and understanding of context, and make connections between my own creative work and creative work by other people and from other places and times.

Statement of What Matters:

Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.

– I can draw upon my familiarity with a range of discipline-specific techniques in my creative work.
Experiences and Outcomes:

I can sing and play music from a range of styles and cultures, showing skill and using performance directions, and/or musical notation.

EXA 2-16a

Benchmarks:

Performs songs in unison and in parts, individually or as a part of a group, and communicates the mood and character of songs from a range of styles and cultures, such as folk songs or songs from musicals, using appropriate performance directions, for example, gradually getting louder/quieter, and/or musical notation.

Performs on instruments, individually or as part of a group, to communicate the mood and character of a piece of music through, for example, the use of appropriate dynamics and expression.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Sing and perform with simple instruments from memory, by ear or from notation to develop vocal and instrumental skills, for example:

– sing a variety of songs and simple rounds, for example, songs from different countries and cultures;

– develop performing skills on a wider range of instruments and play simple accompaniments to songs;

– play from memory, by ear or from notation.

E - Singing/playing music with others

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3) Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
Statement of What Matters:

Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.

– I can give and consider constructive feedback about my own creative work and that of others, reflecting on it and making improvements where necessary.

Statement of What Matters:

Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.

– I can identify and respond creatively to challenges with resilience and flexibility.

– I can safely choose and use the correct creative tools and materials with some consideration for others.
Experiences and Outcomes:

I can sing and play music from a range of styles and cultures, showing skill and using performance directions, and/or musical notation.

EXA 2-16a

Benchmarks:

Performs songs in unison and in parts, individually or as a part of a group, and communicates the mood and character of songs from a range of styles and cultures, such as folk songs or songs from musicals, using appropriate performance directions, for example, gradually getting louder/quieter, and/or musical notation.

Performs on instruments, individually or as part of a group, to communicate the mood and character of a piece of music through, for example, the use of appropriate dynamics and expression.

Applies verbal and non-verbal techniques whilst giving and/or following performance directions, for example, eye contact and/or body language.

Explains, with supporting reasons, what works well and what could be improved in their own and others’ work, using appropriate musical vocabulary.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Sing and perform with simple instruments from memory, by ear or from notation to develop vocal and instrumental skills, for example:

– sing a variety of songs and simple rounds, for example, songs from different countries and cultures;

– develop performing skills on a wider range of instruments and play simple accompaniments to songs;

– play from memory, by ear or from notation.

F - Performing and communicating

National Curriculum in England
(Key Stage 2)
Curriculum for Wales: Expressive Arts (Progression Step 3)Scotland Curriculum for Excellence
(Second Level)
Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum
(Key Stage 2)
Pupils should be taught to:

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
Statement of What Matters:

Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.

– I can give and consider constructive feedback about my own creative work and that of others, reflecting on it and making improvements where necessary.

Statement of What Matters:

Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.

– I can combine my knowledge, experience and understanding to plan and communicate my creative work for a range of different audiences, purposes and outcomes.

– I can perform, produce, design, exhibit and share my creative work in formal and non-formal contexts, considering the impact of my creative work on the audience.
Experiences and Outcomes:

I can sing and play music from a range of styles and cultures, showing skill and using performance directions, and/or musical notation.

EXA 2-16a

Benchmarks:

Performs songs in unison and in parts, individually or as a part of a group, and communicates the mood and character of songs from a range of styles and cultures, such as folk songs or songs from musicals, using appropriate performance directions, for example, gradually getting louder/quieter, and/or musical notation.

Performs on instruments, individually or as part of a group, to communicate the mood and character of a piece of music through, for example, the use of appropriate dynamics and expression.

Explains, with supporting reasons, what works well and what could be improved in their own and others’ work, using appropriate musical vocabulary.
Pupils should be enabled to:

Sing and perform with simple instruments from memory, by ear or from notation to develop vocal and instrumental skills, for example:

– sing a variety of songs and simple rounds, for example, songs from different countries and cultures;

– develop performing skills on a wider range of instruments and play simple accompaniments to songs;

– play from memory, by ear or from notation.