MUSIC PROGRAMME IN MILFORD N.S.
At Milford National School, we are committed to instilling within each child an understanding, appreciation and love for music. We believe music is an essential component of education for all children. The study of music provides children with the skills necessary to use their minds creatively and intellectually. Our aspiration at Milford National School is that children may gain delight, enjoyment and satisfaction from music by becoming involved in it through performance and listening and by developing critical thinking skills. This is achieved through activities and increased involvement in listening, composing and performing. Children are encouraged to appreciate that music is for all and that music making is fun.
Music in the context of Milford N.S.
Milford N.S. has close links with the Salesian Community of Milford Parish and with the University of Limerick, which is right beside us. Teachers and children, together with the Salesian Community are involved in preparing the Infant Pageant, the Christmas Choral recital and the Senior Christmas Pageant every Christmas Eve in Milford Church. The school also prepares children for seasonal Sunday children’s masses and school masses. We are closely linked to the University of Limerick where we have staged three school productions in UCH, The School Around the Corner is to Blame for 21 years, Silver Linings and Diamond and Pearls. . We attend the ‘Music in the Classroom’ concert in January every year in conjunction with the RTE Concert Orchestra where children are given the opportunity to listen to and appreciate music. We are invited to attend the Lunchtime Concerts where the children are exposed to a wide variety of musicians and dancers studying at the University.
We have visits from musicians and musical groups from the University during Seachtain na Gaeilge, particularly through our links with the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Through their regular visits to the school, the children’s appreciation and experience various forms of music is deepened.
Children can avail of extra tuition after school by our specialist music teachers, all of whom are teachers in the school. Children have the opportunity of learning the violin, recorder, accordion, tin whistle and guitar. A drama group has also been initiated after school which encompasses singing, dancing and acting.
One of our 5th classes was also recently involved in ‘Up the Tempo’ Music Programme for Primary Schools. The class was involved in a week long project during which they composed a piece of music, with support from the ‘Learn and Explore’ musicians. They were also invited to perform in a special Grand Finale Concert at the National Concert Hall.
We are closely linked to Knockanean National School and Ennis National School. For the past four years, our School Bands have performed for each other at venues alternating between Clare and Limerick. It is a terrific opportunity for parents, teachers and children to come together and share and recognise each other’s talents.
Milford School Band
The Music Curriculum comprises the inter-related concepts of Listening and Responding, Performing and Composing activities.
In the Listening and Responding strand, new emphasis is placed on the range and depth of experiences in listening to music, and on becoming and ‘active listener’.
The Performing strand emphasises the importance of active music making, beginning with the voice and later including instruments as a means of developing musical understanding. The importance of developing the child’s own creativity through music making is central to the Composing strand.
Milford School Choir
At Milford School, we aim to work together as a community to provide a happy, secure and stimulating environment where children are motivated to learn, are valued as individuals and encouraged to reach their full potential.
Vision and Aims
We believe that music is a very important part of our Irish Musical heritage. We are committed to providing an opportunity for children to experience the three strands of the music curriculum at an age appropriate level. We aspire towards instilling in our pupils, a life long love for music. It is our vision that our children be stimulated and developed through their all round participation in our School’s Music Programme. Upon leaving Milford National School, we hope the children will have great memories of the musical experiences they had in our school
The aims of the music curriculum are
to enable the child to enjoy and understand music and to appreciate it critically
to develop the child’s openness to, awareness of and response to a wide range of musical genres, including Irish music
to develop the child’s capacity to express ideas, feelings and experiences through music as an individual and in collaboration with others
to enable the child to develop his/her musical potential and to experience the excitement and satisfaction of being actively engaged in musical creativity
to nurture the child’s self-esteem and self-confidence through participation in musical performance
to foster higher-order thinking and lifelong learning through the acquisition of musical knowledge, skills, concepts and values
to enhance the quality of the child’s life through aesthetic musical experience.
to encourage participation in the School Band.
to encourage participation in the School Choir.
to develop skill and competence in musical literacy.
to become musically competent in playing an instrument i.e. Tin Whistle
an appreciation and awareness of different genres of musical compositions and composers.
We endorse the above aims of the Primary School Curriculum for music with particular emphasis to instilling within each child an understanding, appreciation and love for music.
When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances, the music curriculum should enable the child to
explore the expressive possibilities of a variety of sound sources, including the voice and home-made and manufactured instruments
listen to, enjoy and respond to a wide range of music, including various genres and styles from different periods, cultures and ethnic groups, both live and recorded
develop sensitivity to music through making physical, verbal, emotional or cognitive responses
demonstrate and describe differences between sounds and silences, showing a sense of pulse, tempo, duration, pitch, dynamics, structure, timbre, texture and style
perform, vocally and instrumentally, from a range of musical styles and traditions relevant to the class level, with particular emphasis on Irish music
acquire the musical skills that enrich musical understanding and are necessary for creative expression
imitate with accuracy rhythmic and melodic patterns using the voice, gestures (hand signs), body percussion and manufactured and homemade instruments
recall and perform expressively musical phrases and pieces, using tuned and untuned percussion or melodic instruments, from memory or from notation, as appropriate
develop confidence and independence through taking the initiative, making decisions and accepting responsibility for learning, individually and as a member of a group, through composing activities
select and structure sounds to create his/her musical ideas
improvise rhythmic and melodic patterns in response to music, movement, ideas, poems, stories and art work
devise and use a range of graphic and standard notations
record compositions using electronic media.
Curriculum Planning (to view the full school plan ask at the office)
Strand and Strand Units
The following is an overview of the broad content of each strand.
Strand: Listening and Responding
This strand will encourage the child to explore and listen to a range of sound sources, from ordinary household sounds to a variety of percussion and melodic instruments, as well as music in different styles and traditions. While younger children respond instinctively through movement, the importance of a movement response is encouraged at all class levels. Children will be helped to respond to music in other ways, e.g. responding through Drama, Art, Dance or just talking about the music. Children from the younger classes enjoy Music in the Classroom which takes place in the University Concert Hall each year. This wonderful event affords them the opportunity of participating with the R.T.E. Concert Orchestra, which is a great learning experience for the children. All classes have the privilege of attending the many Lunchtime Concerts, also held in the University
This strand encourages children to use their voice and later an opportunity to play an instrument. All pupils from First to Sixth Classes learn to play the Tin Whistle. Children from Fourth Class have the opportunity to audition and be part of our School Band. Pupils play a wide range of instruments which include violin, keyboard, glockenspeil, accordion, guitar, saxophone, recorder, tin whistle and percussion. We are interested in a broad range of musical genres from Traditional Irish Melodies to Contemporary Chart music. Children perform at School Masses, Christmas Pageants, Seachtain na Gaeilge and ‘The Band Spectacular’. Our School Choir, which welcomes singers from Fourth Class to Sixth Class, participates in such events as the annual Limerick Choral Festival, Christmas Choral Recital, the Outreach Programme in Milford Hostel, and in concerts such The Three Tenors in the Lime Tree Theatre. The choir never fails to enhance and enrich the choral sound at our school masses.
Through the process of composing, the children are given the opportunity to improvise and create their own music. Children’s creativity is encouraged and their ideas and musicality embraced. Children are given the opportunity to explore new ideas, review and evaluate their own compositions and record their own music.
We aim to make music enjoyable and accessible to all pupils. Children are always encouraged to have an active engagement with music, including singing, playing instruments and improvisation.
Children at Milford School become involved in many musical experiences throughout the year, which include The School Band, Junior and Senior Christmas Pageants, Seachtain na Gaeilge concerts, Music in the Classroom, Band Spectacular, Children’s Masses, Limerick Choral Festival, Milford School Choir and School Anniversary Concerts in The University Concert Hall.
Music tuition is very strong in Milford N.S. The accordion, violin, recorder, tin whistle and guitar are all taught after school. Through music in the school, the child’s self esteem and self confidence is nurtured and the quality of the child’s life is enhanced through aesthetic musical experience.
The following strategies are used by each class to develop the child’s musical concepts as he/she engages in musical activities:
The musical elements
Pulse is the underlying ‘throb’ in music, which may be felt throughout any music with a strong beat, such as a march or a jig. Beats may be strong or weak, or grouped together, for example in threes or fours.
Duration is concerned with the length of a sound, whether long or short. A resonating instrument such as a gong makes a long sound, while wood blocks produce short sounds. Long and short sounds (and even long and short silences) may be combined in a pattern to make rhythm.
Tempo refers to the speed or pace of music. It is determined by the nature of the music, the dexterity of the player, and the complexity of the instruments. Selective use of tempo can create impressions of fear, excitement or calm.
Pitch is concerned with the height and depth of sound and the arrangement of sounds, which produces melody. The concept of pitch, of ‘higher than’ and ‘lower than’, is one that will take time to absorb.
Dynamics is concerned with the level of sound, loud or soft. It can be determined by the number of players or singers involved and by the degree of energy that is used. Use of the full range of dynamics requires considerable control, but selective use of dynamics can contribute to an expressive performance.
Structure refers to how a piece of music is organised. Young children become aware of structure from an early age through listening to stories, solving mathematical problems or simply arranging their toys in a certain order. In music, structure is achieved through the use of repetition, pattern and contrast.
Timbre (also known as tone colour) refers to the quality and variability of sound. Instruments produce different sounds, and voices do not sound identical, even when the same words are spoken or sung. The way in which a voice or an instrument is used affects the characteristic tone and produces differing responses in the hearer.
Texture is concerned with layers of sound and with how sounds are put together, ranging from a solo instrument to several sound sources together.
Style is the application of all other musical elements: the selection of instruments (timbre), the combination of sounds (texture), the speed (tempo) and degree of loudness (dynamics) with which they are played, the melodic (pitch) and rhythmic patterns (duration, pulse) and the manner in which the music is organised (structure).
Approaches and Methodologies
Listening and Responding:
In our approach to the teaching of music, we believe in fostering enjoyment in music making. We seek to develop the skills, understanding, knowledge and attitudes of the child. We allow for musical growth and the development of creativity in the child.
Children are given opportunities to listen and respond to music by experiencing a wide variety of musical styles, traditions and cultures.
Children can respond to music they listen to in a variety of ways, by moving, talking, writing, dancing, singing or composing.
The teacher can provide opportunities for active listening and responding through questioning and prompting.
When choosing musical excerpts, we try to select a wide range of listening materials, which will serve as starting points for musical exploration. We aim to select music which is accessible and enjoyable for children.
When choosing recorded music, listening excerpts should be short so that children can listen several times over.
The children in Milford School are given opportunities throughout the year of listening to a variety of live performances. These are as follows:
Children enjoy the performances of the Infant Nativity services, the Carol Singing and the Christmas Eve Pageant.
Children are exposed to a wide range of musical genres, performed by our School Band at different times of the year, i.e. Junior and Senior Christmas Pageants, Communion and Confirmation services, Seachtain na Gaeilge, Children’s Masses and Band Spectacular.
Children have the opportunity of being part of an audience at the ‘Lunchtime Concerts’ in the University.
Children actively participate with the R.T.E Concert Orchestra during the Music in the Classroom performance held at the University Concert Hall.
Children enjoy listening to classes from Juniors to Sixth perform during ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge.
Children listen to and enjoy the musical talent of many of our school teachers.
Milford N.S. Band, Oige le Ceol, together with School Bands from Ennis N.S. and Knockanean N.S come together every year to perform lively and entertaining repertoires. The most recent events have taken place in Bunratty Folk Park and Thomond Park. It is a great opportunity for everyone to share and enjoy their musical experiences.
Children from Third to Fifth classes enjoyed performing as a Choral Group as part of our Christmas celebrations. The children sang a repertoire of songs, ranging from Traditional Irish melodies to Contemporary Chart Music.
At Milford N.S., the emphasis is always placed on the joy of singing. Song singing is the ideal way of engaging large groups in enjoyable and fulfilling music making. In the Performing strand, we note the following:
All children enjoy and are actively engaged in song singing.
Children learn first to perform simple songs through listening and imitating others.
The child’s repertoire will be expanded to include songs and tunes from different cultures.
As the child’s musical knowledge and experience develops, he/she will enjoy the experience of simple part work.
The choice of song should appeal to the teacher and children. The words should be age appropriate to the child’s stage of development.
The development of musical literacy is closely linked to song singing. Children will have a basic knowledge of the rudiments of music by introducing them to the pentatonic scale. This is done informally at Infant level through teaching simple songs. As the children progress through the school, they become aware of each musical element. Rhythm and Pitch are the two main components of literacy. These two main components are explored with songs from the Singing Programme, ‘The Right Note’.
The children in our school are involved in musical productions throughout the school year which include our Junior and Senior Christmas Pageants, Seachtain na Gaeilge Concerts, School Anniversary Concerts.
The process of composing engages the children in learning that requires both co-operation and collaboration. In the classroom the spirit of discovery is built upon in each strand of the curriculum and at all levels. In many ways the Composing strand could be considered the ideal listening response and the best way of gaining an understanding of performing activities.
Improvising and Creating:
Children are encouraged to become involved in creating music. They are encouraged to listen, explore new ideas and evaluate their music compositions. Musical creativity is for all pupils and developing their creativity is essential. Children are guided in composing accompaniments to songs, creating sound pictures and sound effects to a variety of stimuli. These could include pictures, stories and poems. Compositions are subsequently recorded.
Linkage and Integration
The three strands of the curriculum, Listening and Responding, Performing and Composing are interrelated by their very nature. They lend themselves readily to integrated learning. Music is an integral part of the curriculum and is closely linked across all curricular subjects.
Music is an essential component of education for all children. It provides an outlet for creativity, self expression and individual uniqueness. Music crosses over into many other subjects; Art (listening and responding to music through artistic expression), Drama, Geography (learning where different styles of music come from), English (learning lyrics enriches the language skills of the child), History famous composers), RE and SPHE.
The integration of music into the teaching of Irish will benefit children in achieving fluency and confidence in their every day use of the language. Children can enjoy singing Irish songs and listening to Traditional Irish melodies, leading to a stronger appreciation and understanding of their Cultural Heritage.
It is therefore important to look at music as a subject that enhances other parts of the curriculum. Music encourages co-operation, communication and participation, enabling children to enjoy and appreciate music throughout the curriculum.
Assessment and Record Keeping
Assessment forms an integral part of the teaching and learning of music. Teachers assess children’s progress informally during the lessons, evaluating progress against the inter-related strands of Listening and Responding, Performing and Composing. Teachers also monitor children’s understanding of the integrated musical elements (pulse, duration, tempo, pitch, dynamics, structure, timbre, texture and style).
The following assessment tools and techniques are used in the assessment of music:
Teacher observations – pupils may be observed working in groups or as individuals in the following contexts:
Listening attentively to music
Talking about what has been heard as part of a class discussion
Illustrating or writing about what has been heard
Listening to the responses of others
Moving to music
Singing a favourite song
Playing an instrument
Reading a simple rhythmic or melodic pattern
Sharing ideas for a composing activity
Selecting and organising instruments
Rehearsing a performance
Attempting to record compositions, either on tape or through invented graphic notation or standard notation.
Teacher designed tasks and activities
Questioning and discussion
Projects- pupils have the opportunity of working individually or collaboratively to broaden their experience and learning of music:
Composing music to tell or accompany a story
Playing a tune from memory
Composing a song
Inventing a form of notation
Composing a dance sequence
Selecting and listening to a number of pieces to compare and contrast
The information attained through assessment will serve to give a clear profile of the child’s achievements in music as well as his/her future learning needs.
Children with Different Needs
Milford National School recognises that all children have a wide range of musical ability. We strive to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children with differing needs. All teachers ensure full participation and engagement of children with special needs in the music programme. This is achieved through flexibility in planning and preparation and taking into consideration the varying abilities of the children in question.
Through our music teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We achieve this with the help of our Special Needs Assistants where applicable and by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s individual needs.
The more musically able child is given every opportunity to develop their skills and talent. We encourage our children to join our School band, ‘Oige le Ceol’, our School Choir and where possible, recommend they receive extra tuition outside of school hours.
We appreciate children from different cultural backgrounds needs to see his/her culture recognised and valued along with the music of the other children in the class.
Equality of Participation and Access
All children have equal access to music in Milford School. In our co-educational school, we are aware of maintaining a balance of both boys and girls when they are involved in song singing. Equally, both boys and girls have the same opportunities in playing a range of instruments.
The equality of participation is used to recognise and appreciate individual differences and rich ethnic diversity through the study of music.
We try to ensure equality and participation and access for children with special needs in our school. When parts are being chosen for school concerts, teachers exercise discretion by not always choosing the same children for main parts.
We have a general purposes room for music/drama equipped with stands for band practice. It is also available for individual classes to conduct a music lesson. Individual teachers have a selection of music books, CDs and percussion instruments in their classrooms. Resources for music are continuously being sourced by the staff. We have a gymnasium with a moveable stage, lighting and we recently invested in a state-of-the art sound system. We are near good theatres which our school visits regularly for musical performances e.g. UL Concert Hall and the Belltable Arts Theatre and LIT Millennium Theatre. A list of all available resources is attached to this plan.
The use of information and communication technologies supports the learning and teaching of music in the classroom. All classrooms have been equipped with an Interactive Whiteboard which is a highly motivating tool for use in the classroom and as an invaluable resource for teachers. Access for many useful sites will be available for teachers to support and enhance the Music Programme. Milford N.S. has its own website to present information on upcoming musical events or performances in the school. We have purchased adequate recording equipment for use within the school. This will prove useful when recording children’s compositions.
Many of our teachers in Milford N.S. are very talented musicians, with teaching qualifications in violin, accordion, piano, guitar, flute and harp, as well as vocal and choral proficiency. They share their talents very generously with the school, and as well as teaching also participate in school performances, such as school masses, pageants, shows, choral events et al. All teachers have access to reference books, resource materials, instruments and websites which deal with music. The co-ordinator for Music leads the development of music in the school and provide guidance of individual members of staff. She keeps up to date with local and national developments in Music and disseminates relevant information. The Music co-ordinator is responsible for the organisation and maintenance of music resources. She arranges in-service support and liases with outside agencies when purchasing new musical materials. The Limerick Education Centre in Dooradoyle often provides in-service courses which enriches staff development in the curricular area of music. The school also welcomes any PCSP support which is available. All teachers work very well together, sharing their musical talents, strengths and ideas at all times. Team teaching in Milford N.S comes in the form of big projects in the school such as school concerts, Seachtain na Gaeilge, Christmas Pageants, Christmas Choral Recital, monthly school masses, school choir as well as our annual Band Spectacular.
Parents can support their child in fostering an interest in music by:
Exposing their child to musical experiences from an early age.
Singing songs together learned at school or elsewhere.
Listen to a wide variety of music together.
Encourage positive attitudes and active participation in activities at school involving music.
Encourage and support their child if he/she takes up a musical instrument.
Encourage active listening.
Discuss attitude towards and taste in music.
Parents at Milford give valuable support to their children at all times. We have a very strong Parent’s Council who are consistently enthusiastic and supportive in all school based activities. Parents play a supporting role and are a very warm audience at our Christmas Pageants and School Concerts. Parents have always been helpful and supportive backstage during our previous School Anniversary Concerts in UL. Parents are generous with their time when helping out with the School Band, Communion and Confirmation ceremonies and our Monthly Children’s Masses.