In the ‘aims’ and the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 content of the 2014 Music National Curriculum it talks about the ‘inter-related dimensions of music’. This basically means the elements of practical musicianship.
- PULSE: They seem to have missed off PULSE for some reason, which I consider the first building block – the child needs to be able to feel and express the PULSE in a piece of music as a foundation to their musical understanding. PULSE is like a regular heartbeat running steadily through the music.
- PITCH: The next is PITCH which is the melody and the way the notes change from low to high and vice versa.
- RHYTHM: For some reason they use the word ‘duration’ but they basically mean RHYTHM (which is a much more exciting word!) If you were singing a song, the rhythm would follow the pattern of the words. If you sing a song and clap the words, your clapping would be different to the PULSE. This analogy can be taken as a starting point and later applied to music with no words.
- DYNAMICS: Loud and soft
- TEMPO: Fast and slow
- TIMBRE: The type of sound – whisper/hum/sing/talk (examples with the voice) or tinkly/hard/soft (examples with instruments
- TEXTURE: Layers of sound
- STRUCTURE: The way the music is laid out –e.g. 4 notes in a bar, 4 bars in a phrase etc (a bit like how words, sentences and paragraphs are put together in writing)
- APPROPRIATE MUSICAL NOTATIONS: I’m not sure what they mean by ‘appropriate’ but I would imagine anything that you can use to read music from, whether they be made up symbols to be read in a particular order, stick notation, solfa symbols or traditional stave notation…
In fact, the only element of musical skills that has changed from the previous National Curriculum that I can see, is the addition of ‘stave notation’ in the Key Stage 2 requirements. For most children in a primary classroom, this would be the beginning stages of reading music and nothing to be too daunted by.
So that’s the ‘inter-related dimensions of music explained – no different from musical skills found anywhere!!! National Curriculum guidelines may change but musical skills do not!