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OFSTED Music Subject Review Curriculum Planning

Following on from my last post, the OFSTED Music Review is for school leaders, heads of music, music teachers and music hubs to help improve the quality of music education in schools.

It's based on the foundational theory around how students learn music with the focus being around 3 interrelated pillars; Technical, Constructive and Expressive.

Mark Phillips (OFSTED lead for Music), emphasises that the review is about how to develop musical knowledge and not the knowledge of music.

Technical - this pillar is to support students with being able to realise their internal sound world by acquiring fluency on an instrument, vocally or using music technology.

Constructive - this is around composing and understanding composition. How the elements of music work together to create the music - how music works and developing a student's musical understanding.

Expressive - this is seen as less definable. Knowing that the music is tense or dramatic though not necessarily being able to articulate this. I would advocate that as a student progresses through the curriculum and builds his/her musical understanding, their ability to articulate how the music works will increase.

Mark Phillips is keen to point out that these interrelated pillars are not to be seen as performing, composing and listening. He also talks about 'religiously teaching' these areas but also giving room for students to put together and think - 'I get this'. Please watch the YouTube clip below from Mark Phillips about the subject review.

The report states that its central finding for becoming a successful musician is for students to use their conscious and unconscious minds. The idea that there is a requirement for automated low-level processes to free up the space for cognitive work. Having more space for the cognitive work will enable a student to focus on the musical quality of performing and composing. So the playing of musical ideas on an instrument (or vocally) is relatively fluent and therefore does not impact on the level of creativity or standard of performance a student can produce..

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