Introduction to the new curriculum & these materials

Music is a unique subject as it uses sound in a largely non-verbal, but most expressive way. As an art form it has creators, performers and listeners, sometimes as separate people, sometimes as combined roles, and sometimes with technology. We live in a world where music from any time and place can be heard at the touch of a button, and most pupils listen to music many hours a day. We now have the technology to enable us to experiment with, create, edit and record sounds and music, in and out of the classroom.

Music education in school gives opportunities to make and listen to music for all pupils in partnership and with guidance from their teacher. Some pupils may opt to participate in other formal music making opportunities in school. Some also are involved with similar and different types of music making outside school ranging, for example, from orchestras and bands, to individual composing with free tablet technology, and to singing or playing in large festivals. Most schools are in neighbourhoods with local music groups and your local Music Education Hub* has responsibility for providing information and funding to support music-making activities for young people.

Music is used throughout the school. It can bring meaning and enrichment to learning in other subject areas and is a medium for celebration, a way of nurturing school identity and ethos, and a means of reaching out to the local community and beyond.

Music education in schools is delivered by a wide range of professional staff, including class teachers, music teachers, instrumental tutors, and facilitators from music and arts organisations. As pupils become more confident and expert themselves, peer led music-making can be encouraged where appropriate. The statutory music curriculum is the one opportunity for all pupils to develop musical competence and creativity, and to fulfil their aspirations in and zest for this most powerful art form.

The guidance provided here offers explanatory texts for key elements in the new curriculum. It also highlights points for consideration by teachers when reviewing and planning their own curriculum. The new curriculum gives the foundations for this work and there is substantial room for teachers to bring their own ideas, interests and musical content into the frame. The guidance also offers more specific practical suggestions for approaches to teaching and types of activities.

We hope that teachers will appreciate the attempt to indicate the broad scope of possibilities while at the same time showing that the good practice already established in schools can continue to flourish.

Primary teachers will find further resources and guidance in the Primary Music ITT section of


Subpages (1): Credits