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New Model Music Curriculum - Feedback from Music Mark and 'Can Do Music' Meetings

Updated: May 17, 2021

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well and the start to the summer term has been a smooth one for you. I know that things are particularly busy at the moment with Year 11 teaching, assessments and final grading all taking place. There are certainly challenges with this and as expected colleagues are approaching their work very carefully; reviewing and re-teaching previous learning and running assessments alongside.

There is also a good process coming through regarding the weighting of marks based on learning covered and performing and composition work completed. In addition, quality assurance through school systems, plus working with other music departments to moderate standards of work.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions that arise relating to GCSE, RSL and NCFE.

My update today is again around the Model Music Curriculum. I have recently attended two meetings set up by Music Mark and ‘Can Do Music’.

I have bullet pointed some of the key areas around the document and hope this will be useful in terms of supporting your own thinking.

  • MMC is aimed more at decision makers in schools. Headteacher/senior leaders - not just music practitioners - raising awareness with senior leads about the structure / musical understanding / skills / knowledge for a good music curriculum.

  • MMC sets out the expectation that music in schools needs time and this is made explicit on the first page of the document. The requirement of an hour a week - then with the addition of first access, ensembles and events/musical opportunity to add to this, the quality of music education becomes very rich.

  • Also a document that is easier for non-specialists to understand and work with regarding planning their music curriculum.

  • It underlines to some degree what the purpose is of classroom music. Here there is a definite emphasis on developing ‘musical understanding’. How music works and conveys meaning - how this is different for various ages. Unfortunately there is a missed opportunity for this to be really explicit within the detail of the document.

  • The design of MMC is to assist rather than prescribe - to help/support every child in school with developing a life long love of music.

  • MMC is not a series of SoL, but more a suggested specification which could be moulded into planning - this concerns me as the documentation provides no support with the planning process or required pedagogy, particularly for non specialists.

  • MMC reinforces that perf/comp/list are holistic not separate.

  • K.S.3 - the suggested approach is that a skilled imaginative GCSE teacher uses MMC like a GCSE specification, to create SoL to enable exciting/creative learning.

  • The repertoire outlined is a recommendation. Listening is clearly at the heart of all musical activity - essential to performing, composing as well as more independent learning.

  • All subjects have transferable skills - this is not the argument for the importance of music education in schools. The reason for statutory music is for children to have a really good music education to develop a life long love and understanding of music.

  • If there is one transferrable skill of particular note this would be ‘empathy’, an understanding and appreciation of one another and an appreciation of ‘change’.

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