At St Elizabeth’s, we aim for children to have acquired the essential characteristics of Musicians:

  • A rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work.
  • A musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise.
  • Very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres.
  • An excellent understanding of how musical provenance – the historical, social and cultural origins of music – contributes to the diversity of musical styles.
  • The ability to give precise written and verbal explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately.
  • A passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities.


Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth in music. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. Our curriculum drivers are community, spirituality, culture, democracy and possibilities.

Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.

Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied.

Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

In Music, these threshold concepts are;

  • Describing
  • Composing
  • Transcribing
  • Performing

Knowledge categories

These categories help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

In Music these knowledge categories include:

  • Instrumental and Vocal Technique
  • Composers
  • Genres
  • Cultural Traditions
  • Performers
  • Standard and Graphic Notation
  • Timbre
  • Texture
  • Harmony
  • Processes

Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which taken time.


For each of the threshold concepts three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and Knowledge categories in each subject give students a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts. Milestone 1 is taught across Years 1 and 2, milestone 2 is taught across Year 3 and 4 and milestone 3 is taught across Year 5 and Year 6.

Cognitive Domains

Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage.

Our Music Curriculum

At St Elizabeth’s we use the Charanga music scheme.

Children learn to play the recorder in Year 3 and learn to play a brass instrument in Years 4 and 5 with the option of continuing in Year 6 to form a Year 6 band.

In addition to this, we offer violin and guitar tuition during school hours.

We have opportunities to perform during brass assemblies, our annual Brass concert and at our annual talent show.

We also have a Key Stage 2 choir who perform at our school Christmas concert.