Next up, we introduce music by a world famous film music composer from Germany, Hans Zimmer. Hans Zimmer has written the music for lots of films, The Lion King, Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean. Before he started composing music for films, he began his career as a musician, playing synthesizers and keyboards in lots of different bands. Then he gradually got into film and TV theme music (one for the parents - he wrote the theme for the TV show 'Going For Gold'!). He is very well known for using electronic sounds mixed in with the orchestra sound. He puts on these amazing live concerts and goes on tour with his orchestra - I have a dream that I'll be at one, one day. Hans Zimmer Live

The piece of music that Class 5Q have been learning about is called 'Earth' and Hans Zimmer wrote it especially for the BBC Ten Pieces Trailblazers project, in celebration of the planet we live on. You can find the videos we have watched by clicking on this link. HANS ZIMMER - EARTH. In the first video, he talks about music starting with just a short sequence of notes and you can hear how he uses the notes to build his piece of music. He also uses a children's choir which is really effective - he does this quite a lot in his music and talks in the video about this.

5Q have been using these ideas to help create their own pieces of music inspired by Hans Zimmer's work. They are using all of the instruments available to them in the room and are exploring the ways of making different sounds on these instruments. Some groups are using keyboards in their 'Earth' pieces and they are also having a go at using Garageband loops on the iPads as well (using amplifiers so they can hear the iPad sounds).


Time to introduce some beautiful music by a Russian composer named Igor Stravinsky. Both reception classes have been listening to this music. It is called 'The Firebird' and it is from a ballet by the same name. Lots of Russian composers wrote music for ballets (lots of you might have heard music from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, by Petr Tchaikovsky). The Firebird music featured in the very first Ten Pieces project and the music that the Reception classes have listened to is a shorter version of a longer piece (a bit like a chapter from a book). If you want to listen to the longer piece, this youTube link will take you there. The Firebird Suite - Igor Stravinsky. The bit that we have listened to in class starts at around 8 minutes and 40 seconds. I used to play in the Manx Youth Orchestra and we played this suite back in the 1990s. I think it's a stunning suite of music to listen to and play and it makes me think of all sorts of things.

Here is the Ten Pieces page for The Firebird music. BBC Ten Pieces - The Firebird. Reception have listened to the piece a few times and have used scarves to experiment with moving around to the music, matching the speed and also sounds that they hear in the music. With their class teachers, they have also created these wonderful Firebird collages, in response to the music.

In yesterday's lesson, both classes also listened to 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. This is another piece of musical storytelling that was featured in the first Ten Pieces project - a story of a young boy's adventures and meeting some mountain trolls! There were some wonderful verbal responses to the music, with the children giving really imaginative ideas as to what the music was about. I particularly liked 'it sounded like a tornado that starts small and gets bigger and bigger' and 'it sounds like a dragon is chasing someone at the end'. We were focusing on seeing if they could respond to changes of speed and volume in the music and they identified these changes really well. It is a piece of music that many of you will also have heard before as it is quite famous and has been used on lots of programmes. Have a listen to the excerpt that we listened to here. BBC TEN PIECES - IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING.


The next piece of music from our Ten Pieces project work to introduce is the music from Doctor Who! This is also featured in the 'Ten Pieces: Trailblazers' project. The theme tune to Doctor Who was composed by a man named Ron Grainer, but the reason that this music is included in the trailblazers project is because of Delia Derbyshire's pioneering work on arranging the music for the programme.

She had some amazing ideas and spent a lot of time creating and producing new sounds for the soundtrack, in a time before computers and synthesizers were invented. Nowadays, computers do a lot of the work for us (copying, pasting, drag and drop etc), but these things were not around in Delia Derbyshire's time. Think of it as a LOT of cutting up and sticking sounds in different places, by hand! And at the time, she wasn't acknowledged for the work by the BBC, as she was seen as just an assistant! Here is the link to the Ten Pieces videos - the first one has narrations on it and the second one is just the music. Delia Derbyshire/Ron Grainer - Doctor Who

Year 3 started by watching the first video explaining the work that went into creating the Doctor Who music and have learnt a little bit of information about Delia Derbyshire. They have also started using Garageband, which they will be using to create a piece of sci-fi music in the style of Doctor Who. So far they have just been finding their way around the app and the general commands that they need in order to create a piece of music. This includes how to find the music loops, how to select ones that they like, how to copy loops, how to split them up, how to add bars and make the music longer, how to record their voices into the iPad through Garageband. They have also had a go at using Garageband on the laptops as well.

I am also hoping that as well as the sounds in Garageband, we can use some of the sounds from the BBC sound effects library. They made their whole database of sound effects available online a couple of years ago and I would like to see if we can use some of them in their compositions. This involves the skill of searching the sounds, saving them to the desktop and then dragging them into their GarageBand piece, which will be easier on the laptops. Here is the sound database. BBC sound effects.


The BBC Ten Pieces project has been running for six years now. In 2014, the first list of '10 pieces' were released, along with resources and music to support teachers and pupils. There are now 4 sets of 'Ten Pieces', the latest project being entitled 'Ten Pieces: Trailblazers'. These are pieces written by composers past and present who are (or were) innovators of music.

One of those composers is a composer named Steve Reich, who composes in a style known as minimalism music. In a nutshell, this is a style of modern music that features lots of different repeated patterns. He likes experimenting a lot with patterns, both with instruments and also with all sorts of other things. Clapping Music is one of his most famous pieces.

The piece that has been chosen for the Ten Pieces:Trailblazers project is called 'Music For 18 Musicians'. The whole piece is actually around an hour long, so the music included here is just a short part of that. There is a link here to the videos we have watched in school, as well as some information about Steve Reich. Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians. We have all been very impressed by the musician playing the maracas, as he doesn't the same rhythm throughout the piece. It is important to note that nothing is helping them stay in time and there is no conductor. They are staying together by watching and more importantly, listening.

So far pupils have been split into small groups and they have come up with a short pattern of music within each group (each person in the group has the same instrument). Then we have discussed how to order the group patterns. From pupil responses and ideas, they have begun to put the patterns together in order to make their own piece of minimalism music, as a class. They have been using percussion instruments mainly, both tuned and untuned. Today we had a go at starting without anyone counting in or giving a beat. We tried it a few times today and because for their piece we are not writing the music down, it was different each time, as they wanted to change things each time.

This week, each group had one pattern each, so next week's job is to try and come up with a few different patterns that they can swap to whenever they want to. We will also aim to listen to one of the pieces from the very first Ten Pieces project - another piece of minimalism music by a composer called John Adams. The piece is called Short Ride In A Fast Machine.


I hope that the storm on Thursday night didn't scare too many people! I managed to get soaked taking photos on Peel Prom. 4W's piece of music from the BBC Ten Pieces is a piece of music written by Benjamin Britten aptly entitled 'Storm'! It is part of the 4 Sea Interludes from an opera that Benjamin Britten wrote, called 'Peter Grimes.

In their lesson on Thursday, 4W watched the first video in the link below from the Ten Pieces website. They then took some time to remind themselves of how to access the loops on Garageband, how to make those loops longer and shorter, how to split them and how to move them around on the 'track view' screen. The plan over the next 4 weeks is to create musical compositions on the theme of storms, on Garageband. We will be broadly structuring them in the form of calm-storm-calm (A-B-A - a musical structure known as ternary form). They will be adding new sections to their piece of music, learning how to select appropriate and relevant sounds for each section and they will also be linking the sections together.




Over the next few weeks, the children in reception and years 1-5 will be learning about a different piece of music each from the BBC Ten Pieces project. It is a project designed to try and get children listening to different styles of music, in particular, music that features the orchestra.

We have started looking at some of the pieces and watching short videos from the Ten Pieces website that are connected with their pieces. We are hoping to produce a collaborative display that will showcase some of the learning from each class. The display will include pictures, art work and biography information about the composer of the pieces of music.

Within class music lessons, they will also be working towards making their own music that is inspired by their class piece of music. Some classes will listen to more than one piece from the Ten Pieces project to get inspiration for their work. I have included the website which will be being used in school for all classes. There are all sorts of resources on there, but the main ones are the short videos which introduce the pieces of music that each class will be learning about. These videos are all available on this link. BBC TEN PIECES VIDEOS. There is a list below of the pieces that each class will be listening to.

Reception - The Firebird, Finlandia, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Rodeo, Night On Bare Mountain (listening to music in the lessons and reacting to it).

Year 1/2 - Connect It (Anna Meredith). Final project will be a version of Connect It which the children will compose as a class.

Year 3 - Doctor Who (Delia Derbyshire/Ron Grainer). The children will create their own Doctor Who compositions using Garageband (consider differences in technology etc).

Year 4W - Storm from 'Sea Interludes' (Benjamin Britten). Pupils will be creating a structured piece of work on Garageband, based on the storm concept.

Year 4/5M - Short Ride In a Fast Machine (John Adams) and Music for 18 Musicians (Steve Reich). The class will be creating a whole class composition using live instruments.

Year 5Q - Earth (Hans Zimmer). The final project will be compositions in groups on the theme of Earth. The compositions will hopefully use a combination of instruments and vocal sounds.


Meanwhile, year 6 have started a project on Motown music. They have been learning about the man who started it all, Berry Gordy. They have also been listening to lots of music by different Motown artists such as The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Lots of the songs were written by songwriting teams, rather than the artists themselves. Also, many of the same musicians were used on lots of the tracks - the main band that was used was known as the Funk Brothers. If you are interested, they are featured in a documentary called 'Standing In the Shadows of Motown'. Year 6 have started learning two classic Motown songs in preparation for their leavers assembly and the focus will be on singing in harmony and with confidence :)


Year 6 have been learning about Victorian music halls and singing two famous music hall songs - Daisy Daisy and After the Ball. They have recapped on their knowledge of ukulele chords in learning the chord progressions for the song and have developed their confidence with singing and playing at the same time. Both of these songs are waltzes, so pupils have also developed their understanding of different time signatures in music. More recently, pupils have worked in small groups to create their own Victorian street seller jingle. We talked about this in the sense of the time that the film was set, but also in the sense of present day advertising as well (we linked in local radio adverts here).

This was done after watching the 'Who Will Buy' scene from the movie musical Oliver!. Each group composed their own jingle, wrote the rhythm down and the pitch with solfa letters and then gradually, we built the songs together, in a similar way to 'Who Will Buy'. Have a listen to 6B's street seller songs. Which product would you buy?! They got very competitive!

Who Will Buy Victorian Jingles CLICK THE LINK TO LISTEN!


Below are two recordings we have made in school in the last couple of weeks! Year 4 and 5 have been learning about WW2, so in music lessons, this has entailed learning songs from the era. Each class has focused on learning a different song - For Year 5, it is the famous 'Chattanooga', for year 4, 'The Siegfried Line' and for year 4/5, they have been learning the White Cliffs of Dover, which is the recording that is linked below. In lessons, we have spent a little while learning the song, then the main part has focused on keyboard skills, specifically finding their way around without using letter guides! They have learnt to play notes on the keyboards that follow their class song and some have begun to have a go at playing 3 finger chords. This version of the song is with Miss Lawrence playing the piano. Each class has also learnt about swing and big band music - how the bands were made up, why they were popular during this era and also, a small amount about the famous band leader Glenn Miller.

Class 4/5M - White Cliffs of DoverCLICK THE LINK TO LISTEN!

Year three have begun their music lessons by recapping on some of the simple songs that they learned in year 2, as well as going over their knowledge of basic music notation. They have also worked on a class song performance of the Potter Puppet Pals video 'The Mysterious Ticking Noise'. This song uses their speaking voice rather than their singing voice. It has 5 parts which are the names of Harry Potter characters. The children worked together well to create a performance of the piece, which you can hear here. Year 3 are now working on their tin whistle skills. We have revisited their knowledge of the notes B, A and G, which are the first three holes. They have been reading simple pieces of music and playing the notes on the tin whistle, without anything underneath telling them what the letters are! In the last couple of weeks before half term, we will be visiting the new notes of F#, E and D, which are the last 3 holes on the tin whistle.

Year 3 - Potter Puppet Pals 'Mysterious Ticking Noise' CLICK THE LINK TO LISTEN!


Welcome back to pupils after the summer holidays. Reception will be having their introduction to music lessons through singing lots of simple songs and playing lots of musical games. All other years will continue their music lessons - this half term's focus is individual instrumental skills. Years 1 and 2 will be using the percussion instruments, year 3 will be continuing with the tin whistle, year 4 will begin their lessons on the keyboards, year 5 will recap on keyboard skills and extend their knowledge and year 6 will be extending their knowledge of how to play the ukulele. For the juniors, most year groups studied this term's instrument last year, so the aim is to consolidate and extend their skills on this instrument. We have lots of talented ukulele players in year 6, so we are looking forward to some excellent tunes! Lessons are split into three sections, as detailed in the top three boxes below: Kodaly (starter), Main lesson focus and to finish, listening to music. The main lesson focus after half term in the run up to Christmas will be singing and preparing songs for the performances. The KS2 concert is already planned - expect some epic tunes!


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