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Through our St Mary’s Music Curriculum, we believe that, in every child (regardless of starting point - including the more able and those with SEND), there can be fostered a love and understanding of music.  Music is a unique and powerful form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. Through our teaching, children can increase their self-confidence, creativity, and imagination, and have opportunities for self-expression and a sense of personal achievement, allowing them to shine as lights in the world.


St Mary’s is fortunate in having a number of teachers who are able and confident musicians themselves and can incorporate their own ideas, knowledge and musical skills into lessons.  In order to support both these staff and non-specialist staff, we use Charanga for lesson resources and planning alongside Karate Recorder, BBC Ten Pieces and some units from Musical Express.  In April last year, the government published the Model Music Curriculum with guidance and support on how to interpret the National Curriculum for Music throughout all key stages.  We use this document to help our planning of lessons.  

All children in the school receive a weekly Music lesson.  These take a whole class approach, where children respond collectively or as individuals, as well as pair and group work. 

The fundamental approach to Music at St Mary’s is that all children can learn to sing in tune with a well-produced and relaxed tone.  An essential element of our lessons is to build on vocal technique through the learning of songs, during which opportunities can be taken to intervene and support those children with specific challenges. A range of choral works are prepared, from simple unison songs with the youngest classes, moving toward multi-part (polyphonic) music as the children progress in ability and confidence, and opportunities are regularly provided for presentation and performance. 

Singing is complemented by instrumental work and listening to music.  All children are involved in practical music making, learning the techniques to play a range of classroom instruments including: tuned and untuned percussion (including African drums and Samba drums); Recorders (with Doods and Toots – beginner clarinets and flutes – being offered to higher achieving pupils); Ocarina; Glockenspiel; Ukulele and Electronic Keyboards.  Importantly, children are also encouraged to explore new musical ideas and compose their own pieces, enabling them to experiment creatively and communicate through the medium of music.

Through singing and instrumental teaching, children learn how sounds are organised into musical structures by understanding the ‘elements’ of music, as well as developing knowledge of and fluency in reading standard musical notation.  Encountering music from different times and regions of the world, the children learn the impact that history, culture and context have on musical styles and can link this to other areas of the curriculum. 

Listening to music is fundamental to musical understanding. By learning to listen critically, pupils will not only expand their musical horizons but also gain a deeper understanding of how music is constructed and the impact it can have on the listener. Listening to a broad range of music also helps develop other areas of musical activity, including composing and performing.  The Model Music Curriculum suggests a list of pieces, for KS1 and 2 children, to ensure that pupils gain a broad aural knowledge of Western Classical Music, Popular Music (defined broadly) and Traditional Music from around the world. 


Participation in music develops well-being, promotes listening and develops concentration. We want to ensure that music is loved by teachers and pupils across school, encouraging them to want to building on this wealth of musical ability, now and in the future.

We measure the impact of our Music curriculum through the following methods:

  • observing of pupils in lessons;
  • observations of performances in small groups or individuals;
  • listening to pupil feedback from observing others
  • listening to pupils’ reflections of own abilities
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice)
  • Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum to parents.
  • Subject tracking.
  • Music specialists report back to class teachers on the competencies achieved within each unit covered

St Mary's Music Curriculum


Whole School Music Listening Collective Worships

Listen to us sing!



Recorded by all of the pupils and staff of St Mary's School, Reception to Year 6. March 2020

Credit: There's a power in the music - Words and Music by Lin Marsh, Sing Up Day 2020.

Instrumental Tuition

As well as every child receiving a weekly music lesson, at St Mary's, pupils also have an opportunity to learn a range of instruments taught by visiting peripatetic staff.  Your child can receive lessons through Buckinghamshire Music Trust – see the application form and other information below.  This can be on a wide variety of instruments and doesn’t need to be one already taught in school.  It is done through liaison direct with the trust, but the school is the venue for the lesson.Buckinghamshire Music Trust has a number of subsidies available to help promote music tuition available for all.  These include a sibling discount and discounts for those eligible for free school meals.  Please see the information on their website for further details.

We also have private providers for Guitar as well as for Piano, Drumming and Singing.  See the information below.

The Joyce Trust

The Joyce Trust exists to promote the education at St Mary’s School by providing financial assistance for those parents who might be experiencing financial difficulties for school trips, music lessons and the hiring of musical instruments. The application form can be downloaded below.

This registered charity is in memory of Mrs. Joyce Husk, a past Headteacher of St Mary’s. Mrs Husk was passionate about giving all children access to music and outside experiences.

Parents can apply for funding to the Joyce Trust using the Joyce Trust application form. All requests are treated with the highest confidentiality.

Piano and Singing Lessons

These are taught by Mrs Dallas.  Please contact her via email for more information and availability.

Guitar and Drum Lessons

Our guitar lessons are tutored by Guitar in Schools who have successfully worked with the school for the last few years.  Drum lessons are taught by Drums in Schools.

  • Lessons are open to year 2 - 6 pupils
  • Children receive 30 lessons (20 minutes) throughout the year plus 3 rehearsals/guitar assemblies led by the guitar tutor.
  • Fees are invoiced directly to parents in July and monthly payments start form August
  • All enrollment must be done via
  • For more information and prices please visit for guitar lessons and for drum lessons. 

See below for documents providing further information. 

Buckinghamshire Music Trust