How Music Playtime Supports Teaching & Learning

Music Playtime supports:

  • EYFS (covering age 3-4 and Reception) & Key Stage 1, England
  • Foundation, Wales
  • Early Years & Foundation Key Stage 1, Northern Ireland
  • Early & First Level, Scotland

Music is a 'spiral' curriculum through which children consolidate and extend their knowledge and skills as musical elements and concepts are revisited and reinforced. Music is a kind of language and, when we learn to speak any language, we internalise new words and phrases by hearing them and speaking them in a whole range of situations before, later, reading language too. The topic-based structure of Music Playtime facilitates revisiting musical concepts and skills in different contexts using songs, games, movement, creativity and listening. The activities that introduce the use of simple symbols to represent sounds lay a foundation for later work involving musical notation.

Development Matters 2020 EYFS

Music Playtime covers all requirements for music education listed in Development Matters - non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage September 2020.

Age 3-4 - children should:

  • Listen with increased attention to sounds √
  • Respond to what they have heard, expressing their thoughts and feelings √
  • Remember and sing entire songs √
  • Sing the pitch of a tone sung by another person (‘pitch match’) √
  • Sing the melodic shape (moving melody, eg up & down, down & up) of familiar songs √
  • Create their own songs, or improvise a song around one they know √
  • Play instruments with increasing control to express their feelings and ideas √

Reception - children should:

  • Listen attentively, move to & talk about music, expressing their feelings & responses √
  • Watch & talk about dance & performance art, expressing their feelings & responses √
  • Sing in a group or on their own, increasingly matching the pitch & following the melody √
  • Explore & engage in music making & dance, performing solo or in groups √
Clapping Eyfs

Key Stage 1

The tiered structure of Music Playtime - Early Years/Reception material followed by Key Stage 1 - provides a smooth transition from Reception to Year 1. Music Playtime fulfils The National Curriculum in England music programme of study: at Key Stage 1, children should be taught to:

  • use their voices expressively & creatively by singing songs & speaking chants & rhymes √
  • play tuned and untuned instruments musically √
  • listen with concentration & understanding to a range of high-quality recorded music √ and live music (live music is not possible within any music scheme!)
  • experiment with, create, select & combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music √

The UK music teaching curriculum is historically founded on the musically and educationally sound, 'Compose, Listen and Appraise, and Perform' model put forward in 1979 by Keith Swanwick, which continues to inform the broad basis of the six musical learning strands recommended in a recent Incorporated Society of Musicians revised framework for primary music teaching.

  • Singing
  • Playing
  • Composing
  • Improvising
  • Listening with Critical Engagement
  • Social, moral, spiritual and cultural

Music Playtime is an ideal way to introduce these strands - all six are meticulously integrated into the scheme, with an emphasis on practical music-making using a mixture of voices, instruments, 'body sounds' and 'found sounds'. Each unit contains:

  • Introductory Activities
  • Songs and Chants
  • Skills and Games
  • Creative Music (exploring and making up music)
  • Listening, Appraising and Movement
  • Cross-curricular Activities

Supporting SEND

A few points to bear in mind for SEND music lessons:

  • Consider the whole child and complete learning experience in your planning. Music Playtime's topic-based, creative approach in which the teacher plays an active part in the music is especially useful in this respect.
  • Music Playtime helps you to ensure breadth, balance and also an appropriate degree of repetition. Pulse is an especially important element of music in SEND lessons so look out for the activities that are labelled as being useful for developing this.
  • Pay prior attention to the environment, behaviour management and arranging any extra support you might need.
  • Have contingency plans in place - imagine the unexpected before it happens. Consider how you will keep a calm, positive atmosphere.
  • Rehearse your lessons, making sure you thoroughly know the words of songs. Anticipate how you hope to interact with the pupils. Arrange practical matters such as positioning of children, props and resources in advance.
  • Many children who find verbal communication difficult can vocalise creatively and expressively during music activities, including singing.
  • Use SEND-appropriate resources, including both traditional, brightly-coloured percussion instruments and technology-based instruments such as SKOOG, particularly where children have physical limitations.