Music plays an extremely important part of life at St Faith’s, and is taught to a level that few other primary schools can match. Our very youngest children are taught a love of music and this is nurtured as they move through the school. By the time our children leave us after Year 6, they are all able to play an instrument and will have performed in a school concert.
The benefits of learning music are wide-ranging, and include improved self-confidence, time management, memory and creativity. It also supports mental health and is great fun!
Our children’s achievements
In recent years, our children have regularly been offered Music scholarships to local independent schools and achieving Grade 5 in music examinations is becoming increasingly commonplace. We currently have five pupils who have attained Grade 5 in an ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) examination, and we expect this number to grow before the end of the academic year. In September 2023, two former St Faithians took up major music scholarships in Year 7 at an independent school in Canterbury. Both left St Faith’s with a hugely impressive collection of examination results – one with Grade 7 in Musical Theatre and the other having achieved Grade 8 on the flute.
All our children have a weekly class music lesson with Mr Ainsworth, our Head of Music. Children in our Nursery and Reception classes are taught using elements of the Kodaly Method and their lessons include singing, instrumental playing, listening and movement. When children enter Year 1, they are introduced to formal musical notation, theory, composition, singing and instrumental playing, and from Year 3 the History of Music is also taught. Instrumental playing is a key part of lessons and all children from Years 1 to 6 learn to play a musical instrument. Years 1 and 2 learn the recorder, Years 3 and 4 the violin while Years 5 and 6 are taught to play the trumpet.
Music for All!
This attitude sums up our philosophy perfectly! All children are exposed to music, right from their days in Lower Nursery. Music is played at the start of our Friday Celebration Assemblies, giving children the chance to reflect while listening to a wide range of genres from Beethoven, Bach and Clara Schumann right through to Fats Domino, Oasis and Bob Marley. Our annual House Music Competition provides a chance for children from Years 1 to 6 to prepare and perform a song in groups of mixed ages, working together to rehearse and deliver a performance to the whole school. You can read about this year’s House Music Competition here. Recent themes have included ABBA, Disney, musicals, Queen – whatever theme is chosen, the competition is always a joyous, inclusive occasion.
Every week, over 200 individual music lessons are taught at St Faith’s, with more than 70% of children in Reception to Year 6 having at least one lesson. Our team of peripatetic music teachers deliver a wide range of one-to-one lessons in woodwind, strings, brass, piano, music theory, guitar, ukulele, drumming, singing and musical theatre. In addition, two children are currently taking private harp lessons. Our children learn the importance of regular practice, and find that playing a musical instrument can help their progress across the rest of the school curriculum. Music lessons also help to nurture self-confidence, positivity and creativity. When they are ready, children can choose to be prepared for exams through ABRSM, MTB, Trinity or Rockschool. We often host exams here at school, meaning that parents do not have to take time off work in order to transport their children to an exam, and that our children are sitting their exams in a familiar environment.
Aside from the high quality of their curriculum musical education, the children are given regular opportunities to perform in front of an audience. This begins with Class Performances, which take place six times a year and involve performing to an audience of the children’s class or year group. These are a great chance for children to polish a piece they are working on for an exam or more formal concert, but also offer an opportunity to improvise and experiment on guitar, trumpet, piano, drums or even cello. They are a great gateway to discovering a desire to learn an instrument and many of our children have progressed to regular, weekly lessons following Class Performances.
Year Group concerts take place each year, providing a chance for each class to perform on recorder, violin or trumpet, depending on what they have been learning. There are also vocal performances and solo opportunities. There is even an Early Years concert, which sees our two-year olds on the big stage, joining in and taking their first steps towards musical performances! In addition, we have Speech Day, Nativity plays, the Summer Concert, Grandparents’ Afternoon and our Twilight Concerts, which are arranged throughout the year.
In recent years our children have appeared at Young Voices in London’s O2, the Canterbury Big Sing at the Marlowe Theatre, Thanet Music and Drama Festival and the Folk and Ale Festival in Sandwich. Our pupils also work with groups run by Kent Music and the East Kent Children’s Orchestra.
We have numerous musical ensembles which meet each week. Our Choir is for children in Years 4 to 6, and meets weekly to sing music from a wide range of genres. We perform in school concerts, services and Open Days. There is a separate Year 3 Choir, and also a Singing Club for the younger children, which means that there is something for every child to get involved in.
Our Orchestra comprises over 30 children, many of whom are our more able and experienced musicians. We meet each week on Friday afternoons and perform in the Summer Concert and at Twilight Concerts. We also have a Wind Orchestra and a String Orchestra which meet on Friday mornings, and which often regularly perform in concerts. Members of our Orchestras learn important skills such as following a beat, being mindful of other children’s playing, staying in tune and not least the all-important skill of playing the right notes at the right time! In addition, we have a string trio comprising three Year 6 girls who have all recently achieved Grade 4 on violin and cello. We also have three Recorder Clubs, open to all year groups, and providing yet another opportunity for our children to experience the joy of making music together.
Want to know more?
We are very proud of our thriving music department. If you would like any further information, please contact our Head of Music, Mr Paul Ainsworth at school or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org