Music education at Deer Park School aims to provide our pupils with the knowledge to develop a purposeful musical understanding. Music is taught through the three pillars of musical knowledge: technical, constructive and expressive, which combine and interrelate into a rich knowledge of musicianship. We aim to provide a breadth of engaging musical experiences in which pupils listen, compose, and perform, while gaining knowledge of musical cultures and repertoires. In order to ensure that the knowledge gained is meaningful and remembered, the content of the curriculum is carefully and deliberately selected to focus on specific genres, instruments and cultures. We aim for the provision of music to support our pupils in the building of self-esteem, confidence and formative self-expression.
Our pedagogy of explicit teaching provides pupils with the procedural (know-how) and declarative (know what) knowledge to form a strong musical understanding. The Deer Park curriculum is conjoined with teaching materials from Charanga, and with specialist teaching in specific genres—such as samba— to ensure that pupils have the opportunity for regular and sustained practice in the instruments and genres selected. The sequencing of the curriculum allows opportunities for pupils to revisit and consolidate short-term learning, and to develop their technical competence over a longer time span on specific instruments, rather than shallower learning on a wider range. In this way, pupils are taught progressively more advanced techniques, instrument-specific fine-motor skills, and develop gradually increasing control over sound within a consistent medium. Repetition of key curricular content allows the gradual introduction of new ideas, methods and concepts, so that our pupils develop a deeper competence over time.
As a result of the provision’s careful curriculum choices and delivery, pupils create an extensive range of domain-specific musical knowledge that they revisit and retain over time. Pupils perform in solo and ensemble contexts, listen to and appreciate a range of high quality music, and show increasing fluency of controlled expression in playing musical instruments. Many pupils are inspired to take up individual instrumental tuition, and all pupils eligible for the pupil premium grant receive free music lessons. Two active choirs, school bands, music tuition, and a wide variety of plays and musical performances mean that pupils have plentiful opportunities to engage beyond the curriculum.