Pupils at Bishop’s Primary School enjoy a varied and engaging music education through specialist curriculum lessons and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

Each campus has an instrumental specialism through which music theory and practical learning is delivered to our pupils. (Grace Darling – Brass, James Knott, Thomas Bewick & William Leech – Woodwind, Josephine Butler – String)

The music team is staffed and supported by both classroom teachers and specialist instrumental teachers, which are coordinated by our Head of Music Development.  Instrumental staff teach Years 4, 5 and 6 aswell as providing support to teachers in other year groups and running extra=curricular activities.

Many of our instrumental teachers also deliver 1-2-1 and small group lessons to pupils once they move up into Dukes Secondary School, which has had a positive impact on transition and has enabled more pupils to continue playing once in secondary education.

National Curriculum for Music

During Key Stage 1, pupils will have had numerous opportunities to sing, play, listen and compose both in class and extracurricular activities.

During Key Stage 2, pupils will have regular opportunities to sing, play, listen and compose both in class and extracurricular activities. Through different mediums they will increase their knowledge by delving deeper into the theory behind performance skills.

As part of classroom music lessons, pupils complete a Musical Futures ‘Funky Jam’ project in both year 4 and year 5 to enhance their ensemble and performance skills. These projects enable pupils to think like musicians rather than pupils of music. Each week, pupils face a new challenge with the ultimate goal: to record music and publish it on Soundcloud.

In classroom music lessons, pupils spend time in the Autumn Term making their own Horrible Music Histories episode. Pupils research the musical timeline before working together in teams to specialise in periods of musical history. (The Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical & Romantic periods.) Pupils analyse the lives of composers, instruments common to the period, use of music in society and the development of music from the Medieval period to now. Sketches are recorded and performed to the rest of the class in the final lesson.


As part of their classroom music lessons in Year 3, pupils take part in an engaging ‘Recorder Karate’ project; taught by our Head of Music Development, where they are able to earn coloured belts as they make progress on the recorder. As well as practical technique and performance skills, pupils are taught to recognise notes on the stave, to recognise note values and to understand musical vocabulary such as pitch, rhythm and tone. Pupils will perform as a whole class ensemble in their campus Easter Music Showcase at the end of the project, and they will have the opportunity to purchase their recorder if they would like to. After this project, pupils are invited to join their campus recorder group which will enable them to continue working towards their ultimate goal: Black Belt.

Instrument Lessons

Every child is issued their own instrument, which they can learn on both at home and at school. Through practical lessons and performance opportunities, pupils are taught the not only holistic musical knowledge and understanding, but also skills unique to their instrument.

Research has shown that learning how to play an instrument can help children with numeracy and literacy skills, as well as helping them become confident, independent and resilient learners. This is recognised by staff at NCEAT, and pupils are encouraged and supported to attend extra-curricular music groups. Through these groups we are able to support our weaker pupils and push our most able instrumentalists and singers.

Year 4 pupils benefit from whole class instrumental lessons, pupils are taught the specifics of their instrument, and the role it plays within ensembles by an instrumental specialist. Pupils receive 30 x one hour long sessions over the course of a year, and are able to attend extra-curricular groups to support their learning.

Pupils continue to benefit from instrumental tuition in year 5 and 6, either in half class instrumental tuition or small group tuition to maximise progress. At this point, pupils are encouraged to take their instruments home so that they can practise in between lessons. After earning their black belts, pupils move on to completing ABRSM Grade 1 one their chosen instrument at the end of the summer term. Pupils are able to purchase their instrument in year 6 through NCEAT’s ‘instrumental rent to buy’ scheme.


Assessment in music is completed through both observations and marking of performances and practical work throughout each project.

Final performance recordings are shared on Soundcloud, with children being encouraged to listen to and share their music at home. Where possible, pupils perform to a live audience such as in Music Showcases, assemblies or external music competitions.