Creative Arts (music, dance and drama)
At Loughton School, our vision for the creative arts is for all pupils to leave ready for the next stage of their education as confident, social and imaginative individuals, with a full understanding of performance and presentation skills needed to create and perform confidently and expressively having had a range of experiences both in-house and externally. Creative arts are fully embedded in every aspect of school life and our aspiration is that every child adopts a lifelong love of music, drama and dance.
We are delighted to offer weekly creative arts lessons for all year groups. These take place either in the classroom, the hall or our dedicated music room depending on the lesson. They are lively and interactive and aim to foster a passion for music, dance and drama in children of all abilities. Every child is unique and it is our ultimate aim that each child becomes a confident performer, however, we recognise that each child learns at their own speed and we support children who are less confident and encourage them to flourish. Children with special educational needs are supported to achieve whilst more able and talented pupils are recognised quickly and encouraged to build on their skills through differentiated lessons.
It is our vision that music lessons give the opportunity for children to strive towards becoming real musicians and performers. The children participate in singing, tuned and untuned percussion work, composition, and listening to live and recorded music. All children are taught the skills to be able to compose using musical instruments. From Year 3 onwards, musical notation is taught and children are taught correct musical terminology of the musical elements e.g. rhythm, melody, pitch, dynamics. All children will be able to read and understand simple music notation by the time they leave Loughton School.
We believe that all children should be given the opportunity to access musical tuition and to play orchestra instruments. Therefore, every year, they are taught the skills of how to play the glockenspiel, sight read and compose music. During their music lessons they will also be learning songs from various different cultures that are often represented within the school. We also welcome visitors into school whenever possible so the children can listen to live music. Singing is highly important part of our learning. Weekly singing assemblies take place to teach children how to sing with a sense of pitch, tempo and melody. They are taught how to warm up their voices, sing in rounds and harmony, and build up a repertoire of songs. We have a school choir which meet each week and perform as a choir at whole school events as well as public competitions. To also inspire the children to sing, we have a newly set up staff choir who also meet weekly.
We build on the creative horizons of each child and we strongly believe that children should be given the opportunity to share their creative skills at different events both in and outside school. We currently participate in Brass, Woodwind and Strings Festivals as well as hosting our own Loughton School concerts and performances and participating in the annual Young Voices Choir Festival. Along side this, each year group has an annual music workshop linked to their learning from 'stomp' percussion junk modelling to South African samba drumming.
In dance, children will learn to:
- Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance
- Perform dances using a range of movement patterns
- Compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.
Dance lessons and annual workshops for every year group help to develop the children’s confidence and self-esteem, concentration and focusing skills, whilst also becoming healthy individuals. In these lessons, the children are taught different styles of dance from Indian Bollywood dance to WW2 themed dances. These lessons are further consolidated through each child being able to participate in a dance workshop that is linked to the immersive curriculum, for example: Lion King Workshop (Animals) for Year 3 and Indian Dance Workshop (India) for Year 4. Through our lessons, and in line with the National Curriculum, children will be able to demonstrate the skills required to perform their dance, be able to work independently and as part of a group to perform to a piece of music and will recall styles of dance and their features.
In drama, children will learn to:
- Adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role.
- They will improvise and devise drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
Our aim is to enhance and develop children’s self-esteem and enable them to use a range of dramatic techniques to explore ideas and texts. We will encourage and support them in developing the capacity and confidence to express ideas and communicate them through drama. The children will learn to evaluate their own and others’ ideas and understanding through drama and use it as a powerful learning tool across the curriculum. Every child is unique and it is our ultimate aim that each child becomes a confident performer, however, we recognise that each child learns at their own speed and we support children who are less confident and encourage them to flourish.
In our creative arts lessons, due to the collective nature of the required skills and knowledge for each unit, the children’s learning is scaffolded whereby we review our knowledge from the previous lesson, explain and model the new skills and fold these into our existing knowledge and skills which is then reviewed and evaluated through questioning and modelling. This culminates in practising our new skills and refining our performance alongside further peer to peer and teacher led evaluation.
Through the structure of the creative arts curriculum at Loughton School, music, dance and drama knowledge and skills are regularly revisited and retrieved across the year groups learning, ensuring retention and opportunities to refine and build upon. Retrieval questions, which include the prior knowledge and skills that have been taught are planned so that the teacher can identify whether children have retained knowledge and understanding weeks and months after it was last taught. This is done at the start of a unit; curriculum progression grids allow children to recall what they have learnt both in key stage one and in the lower years at Loughton School. Prior learning is referred back to and links made with new topics that the children will study, an example of this are the weekly questions. These links are then continually reinforced during the teaching of the new topic. Bespoke planning is linked to the National Curriculum as well as being woven into our immersive curriculum, for example: if the children are learning about WW2 then we study a play that enables the children to immerse themselves into the mindset of a child evacuee in 1939.
In addition to the curriculum, we provide each year group with annual music and dance workshops to help to develop the children’s confidence and self-esteem, concentration and focusing skills. In these lessons, the children are taught different styles of dance from Indian Bollywood dance to WW2 themed dances. These lessons are further consolidated through each child being able to participate in a dance workshop that is linked to the immersive curriculum, for example: Lion King Workshop (Animals) for Year 3 and Indian Dance Workshop (India) for Year 4. Through our lessons, and in line with the National Curriculum, children will be able to demonstrate the skills required to perform their dance, be able to work independently and as part of a group to perform to a piece of music and will recall styles of dance and their features.
This is also achieved through school productions, visiting companies as well as participation in the national Shakespeare for Schools Festival (SSF). To see some of the children’s fantastic work at the SSF click on this link.