Quick Links

Quick Links

Hollymount Primary School

Our approach to Music

Intent behind curriculum delivery

At Hollymount the music curriculum enables our children to feel that they are musical and to develop a life-long love of music. We focus on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding that children need to become confident performers, composers, and listeners. Our curriculum introduces children to music from all around the world and across generations, teaching children to respect and appreciate the music of all traditions and communities.

  • - Inter-dimensional key words focused on throughout the curriculum:
    • Timbre - Timbre (Pronounced Tam-ber) is the quality of a musical note. It is what makes a musical note sound different from another one. Words like round, brassy, sharp, or bright can be used to describe the timbre of a sound.
    • Tone - tone is a vocal or instrumental sound that denotes its pitch, relevant to where it is on the musical scale.
    • Pitch - how high or low the sound is.
    • Dynamics – how quietly or loudly a piece of music should be played.
    • Duration - the length of time each note is played for.
    • Tempo - the rate of speed of a musical piece
    • Texture - Texture describes how layers of sound within a piece of music interact
    • Structure - Structure is the order that different parts of the song are played in
    • Musical notation - Music notation are the symbols used in written music. Music notation, or music notes, lets players know which note to play and how long to play it for.

Curriculum Overview

Progression/Links from Early Years Curriculum into KS1

Early Years have a “Topic led” curriculum which is an approach that works well for the “Development Matters EYFS, Non-Statutory Curriculum Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage.” This includes the 7 Key Features of Effective Practice, The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning and the 7 learning areas for the EYFS.  Below is an example of the topics taught in Reception and also links to how Reception’s teaching and learning, through lessons and continuous provision, ensures that knowledge and skills taught, progress well into Year 1.  

Reception Links to Year 1 for Music

Skills and knowledge taught in Reception

Where this links to the Year 1 curriculum


·         Responding to music through movement, altering movement to reflect the tempo, dynamics or pitch of the music.

·         Exploring lyrics by suggesting appropriate actions.

·         Exploring the story behind the lyrics or music.

·         Listening to and following a beat using body percussion and instruments.

·         Considering whether a piece of music has a fast, moderate or slow tempo.

·         Listening to sounds and matching them to the object or instrument.

·         Listening to sounds and identifying high and low pitch.

·         Listening to and repeating a simple rhythm.

·         Listening to and repeating simple lyrics.

·         Understanding that different instruments make different sounds and grouping them accordingly.

o   Exploring Sound unit of work


·         Recognising and understanding the difference between pulse and rhythm.

·         Understanding that different types of sounds are called timbres.

·         Recognising basic tempo, dynamic and pitch changes (faster/slower, louder/quieter and higher/lower).

·         Describing the character, mood, or ‘story’ of music they listen to, both verbally and through movement.

·         Describing the differences between two pieces of music.

·         Expressing a basic opinion about music (like/dislike).

·         Listening to and repeating short, simple rhythmic patterns.

·         Listening and responding to other performers by playing as part of a group.




·         Playing untuned percussion ‘in time’ with a piece of music.

·         Selecting classroom objects to use as instruments.

·         Experimenting with body percussion and vocal sounds to respond to music.

·         Selecting appropriate instruments to represent action and mood.

·         Experimenting with playing instruments in different ways.



·         Selecting and creating short sequences of sound with voices or instruments to represent a given idea or character.

·         Combining instrumental and vocal sounds within a given structure. Creating simple melodies using a few notes.

·         Choosing dynamics, tempo and timbre for a piece of music.

·         Creating a simple graphic score to represent a composition.

·         Beginning to make improvements to their work as suggested by the teacher.




·         Using their voices to join in with well-known songs from memory.

·         Remembering and maintaining their role within a group performance.

·         Moving to music with instruction to perform actions.

·         Participating in performances to a small audience.

o   Music and movement unit of work

·        Stopping and starting playing at the right time




·         Using their voices expressively to speak and chant.

·         Singing short songs from memory, maintaining the overall shape of the melody and keeping in time.

·         Maintaining the pulse (play on the beat) using hands, and tuned and untuned instruments.

·         Copying back short rhythmic and melodic phrases on percussion instruments.

o   Pulse and rhythm (Theme: All about me) unit of work

·         Responding to simple musical instructions such as tempo and dynamic changes as part of a class performance.

·         Performing from graphic notation.

o   Under the Sea unit of work

Inter-related dimensions of Music

Pitch: To understand that what ‘high’ and ‘ low’ notes are.

Pitch: To understand that pitch means how high or low a note sounds. To understand that 'tuned' instruments play more than one pitch of notes. E.g. Musical vocabulary (Under the sea) 

Duration: To recognise that different sounds can be long or short.

Duration: To know that rhythm means a pattern of long and short notes.

Dynamics: To understand that instruments can be played loudly or softly. E.g. Exploring sound

Dynamics: To know that dynamics means how loud or soft a sound is. To understand that sounds can be adapted to change their mood, eg through dynamics.

Tempo: To recognise music that is ‘fast’ or ‘slow’. To understand that we can match our body movements to the speed (tempo) or pulse (beat) of music.

Tempo: To know that the ‘pulse’ is the steady beat that goes through music. To know that tempo is the speed of the music.

Timbre: To know that different instruments can sound like a particular character. To recognise that voices and instruments can imitate sounds from the world around us (eg. vehicles).

Timbre: To know that 'timbre' means the quality of a sound; eg that different instruments would sound different playing a note of the same pitch. To know that my voice can create different timbres to help tell a story.

Texture: To know that music often has more than one instrument being played at a time.

Texture: To know that music has layers called 'texture'.

Structure: To recognise the chorus in a familiar song

Structure: To know that a piece of music can have more than one section, eg a versed and a chorus.

Notation: To know that signals can tell us when to start or stop playing.

Notation: To understand that music can be represented by pictures or symbols.



Curriculum Map - Units of work and intended learning 

music curriculum map knowledge skills and topics 2 .pdf