Music Curriculum

What's happening?

Year 1

Rhythm in the Way We Walk and Banana Rap 

All the learning in this unit is focused around two songs: Rhythm In The Way We Walk is in a Reggae style and Banana Rap is in a Hip Hop style. The children listen to other styles of music, from earlier pieces such as Mars from the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst, to more modern pieces such as Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, Happy by Pharrell Williams and When I’m 64 by The Beatles.  They will appraise these varied pieces, building up through discussion some awareness of the interrelated dimensions of music, such as pulse, texture, tempo and dynamics.  They will listen for a hook in songs, and consider how verses are part of song structure.

In the Groove
Children are introduced to a specially written song in the groove style, which they learn to sing. Each week they also listen to, and appraise, a piece of music in another style; Blues, Baroque, Latin, Bhangra, Folk and Funk.

Round and Round

Children also learn to sing and play along to a Bossa Nova Latin style song called Round and Round.  They also listen to Film music, Big Band Jazz, Mash-up and Latin fusion music.


Year 2

Hands, Feet, Heart

Hands, Feet, Heart is a song written for children to celebrate and learn about South African Music. Other songs they will learn about are The Click Song sung by Miriam Makeba, The Lion Sleeps Tonight sung by Soweto Gospel Choir,  Bring Him Back Home by Hugh Masekela, You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon and Hlokoloza by Arthur Mofokate.  They will find the pulse as they dance, clap back and compose rhythms and they will sing in groups and as a class.

I Wanna play in a Band

The children learn a specially written song called I Wanna Play in a Band, in which they sing about different instruments they could perform.

Friendship Song

The learning in this unit is focused around The Friendship Song by Joanna Mangona and Pete Readman. Children will also listen to Count On Me by Bruno Mars and You Give a Little Love from Bugsy Malone. Other songs they will appraise are We Go Together (from Grease soundtrack), You’ve Got A Friend In Me by Randy Newman and That’s What Friends Are For by Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and Elton John. The children will play games to find the pulse as they march, sway or tap their knees as well as clapping back rhythm patterns.  All these skills build towards a class performance of the song.


Year 3


The children are introduced to the glockenspiel a note at a time, with backing tracks matching each note and supporting them in building up their understanding of musical notation as they play.  The children are introduced to different lengths of notes, and to where notes are placed on a treble stave. As with all units, there are also opportunities for improvisation and composition, and children with experience of other instruments have opportunities to participate using them.

Three Little Birds

This upbeat song by Bob Marley really gets the children's feet tapping and through the unit of learning, they are introduced to reggae music.

The Dragon Song 

In the Dragon Song, children learn to sing in two parts and they are also rehearsing lyrics about finding friendship and acceptance around the world.  Their appraisal covers a wide geographical range of music, such as traditional Chinese, Turkish, Indian, African and Polynesian music.  The Reflect, Rewind and Replay unit gives children the chance to revisit music they have enjoyed, and to learn more of music’s rich language and history.

Year 4

Ukuleles - Wider Opportunities instrument lessons

In the Autumn term, Trafford Music Hub provide us with a set of instruments on loan and a specialist teacher who leads ten lessons.  We then enjoy a concert in which Year 4 show all they have learned to their parents and to Year 3, including many tunes, and also rhythm skills and singing. 


This song by Paul McCartney is taught to the children alongside other Beatles tracks and allows children to build on their understanding of  notation learned in their ukuleles lessons. 

Lean on Me 

The children learn a Gospel song, Lean on Me by Bill Withers, which they place in its historical context, from the music of Beethoven to slavery, from Elvis to the Urban Gospel of Beyonce.  They also analyse these various performances.


Year 5

Livin' On A Prayer 

As well as learning to sing, play, improvise and compose with Living’ on a Prayer, children will listen and appraise other classic rock songs - We Will Rock You By Queen, Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple, Rockin’ All Over The World by Status Quo, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry and I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles.  They will practise singing with instrumental parts, ready for a class performance.  

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

When learning the hip-hop song Fresh Prince of Bel Air, children compose their own raps and put hip-hop in the context of 80s culture.

Dancing in the Street 

All the learning in this unit is focused around one song: Dancing in The Street by Martha And The Vandellas. Children will also hear about the history and importance of Motown in the development of Popular music. Songs learned include I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) sung by The Four Tops and I Heard It Through The Grapevine sung by Marvin Gaye. Children will be encouraged to think about the tempo and dynamics in the songs and will also identify which instruments and voices they hear. The class will learn to sing lead and backing vocals, to play instruments, and to add their own improvisations and compositions. 


Year 6


In this unit, children learn to sing the pop song Happy by Pharrell Williams – including rhythm and pulse games, singing and playing instruments.  They also appraise Top Of The World by The Carpenters, Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin and Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And The Waves.  

You’ve Got a Friend

In the lessons about You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King, they consolidate many rhythm and pulse, singing and instrument playing skills, linking her music to modern popular female composers such as Adele.

Reflect, Rewind, Replay

While the Reflect, Rewind, Replay unit allows pupils to look back on many units of musical learning and explore their understanding of a wide history of music, particularly Western Classical music, it is the Production that lets them stretch their performance skills.  St Hugh’s School has a long and proud tradition of producing some top quality performances, both in acting and music, from our talented pupils.