Pittington Primary School | Hallgarth Lane, Durham, County Durham DH6 1AF

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Pittington Primary School

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Music at Pittington

Music across the school

Expressive Arts and Design


In music the nursery children have been learning a variety of songs related to the books they have read and the topics they have explored. The children learned the words and actions to the song "Dingle Dangle Scarecrow" During the phonics work they have used musical instruments and body percussion to help them to distinguish different sounds. They have used different percussion instruments to help keep a steady beat whilst singing familiar songs. The children have sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and then added percussion instruments to it.


In Reception the children follow a half-termly (6-step) focus-based approach which supports teachers in engaging all young children with music. It includes a variety of adult-led and child-initiated activities delivered through planning and play. All the musical learning is focussed around nursery rhymes and action songs. Each Unit of Work has a cross-curricular/topic-based focus and a musical focus that will allow you to engage the children in activities related to the developmental events taking place in their changing lives.

The children in Reception have explored African Drumming when reading the story Handa's Surprise and learning about Africa. The children have also learnt how to play the glockenspiel and were fantastic when playing along to the nursery rhymes they were learning. These included Old Macdonald, Incy Wincey Spider and The Wheels on the Bus. The children are very familiar with the notes C, D and G and can recognise these on the glockenspiel.


Reception love to sing and here they are performing their Spanish Eurovision Song contest entry. I think you will be really impressed...

National Curriculum

Year 1

Summer Term 2021


In music we have been learning a variety of songs related to books we have read and topics we have explored.  Our favourite was a song about the different planets which we all learned.  We have been working on keeping a steady beat using egg shakers whilst singing familiar songs and nursery rhymes.  We sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Humpty Dumpty, The Sun has got his Hat On and and an alphabet song.  We were all very good at keeping to the beat and rhythm.  We also noticed how different songs have a faster or slower rhythm and that some songs change their rhythm too.


Big Bear Funk

We have been listening carefully to music to see if we can hear patterns within the tune.

We appraised the music and made musical patterns using our hands in sequences of taps and claps.

We also listened to identify which instruments we could hear...the children identified piano, drums, guitar and saxophone. The children identified a different sound and some thought the instrument sounded like a xylophone.

How Does Music Make You Feel?

Over the past few weeks the children have been exploring a variety of different instruments, experimenting with how they should be played and the different sounds that come from each of them.  Next, we chose a selection of the children’s favourite instruments and reflected on how they make us feel when they are played.  The children were then challenged to draw how they were feeling through colour and shape.   

“I know this is a glockenspiel because it is not the one made from wood.” (Seb)

“The drum sounds like The Grand Old Duke Of York” (Ivy)

“The sound of the glockenspiel is like a fairy godmother” (Evie)

Music to our ears!

During our recent music sessions we have been comparing Classical music to Pop and seeing how they differ. We talked about Classical music being around for a long time and reflected on the history work we have been doing.

The only way to understand music is to listen to it so we listened and appraised the Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky - a dance from his ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ (from the Romantic period of classical music).
We discussed questions such as-
-What can you hear?
-How does the music make you feel?
- How old do you think this music is?
- Does the music tell a story?
- Do you like the music?

We talked about this piece of music being for a dance and the choreographer Marius Petipa wanted the Sugar Plum Fairy's music to sound like "drops of water shooting from a fountain".

We talked about the different instruments we could hear, especially the bell-like instrument called a 'celesta' which looks like a small piano (you can hear this sound on Christmas adverts!)

We then concentrated on how we would move to the music before taking our own collection of instruments outside. We composed our own simple melodies as a class whilst we imitated the movements of minibeasts through the notes. We composed the following:
Snail - slow and steady
Spider - fast and quick
Butterfly - slow building up to being quick as it flies off.

What a great music session everyone!

Singing Workshop

We had a special visitor in school and the children took part in a singing workshop. The children began by warming up their vocal cords by making different animal noises while stretching. The children were then introduced to 'Zulu' an African song about a greeting! The children picked this up really quickly!

We were then introduced to the violin and we sang some traditional nursery rhymes. The children listened well as our guest talked all about instruments from the string family and explained that the violin's bow is made from wood and horse hair. We also talked about other instrument families such as brass, wind and percussion.

For the final part of the session we explored 'pitch'. The children indicated low pitch by crouching down and high pitch by stretching up.

The children had an absolute blast and continued to hum and sing for the rest of the day.

Keystage 1

In music this term we have been working on following musical notation to play tunes. We have been using keyboards in class and working on how to keep in time. Everyone has made progress and is beginning to move away from using one finger to play. We were really lucky to work with a vocal coach this term. She taught us lots of new songs and techniques to improve our singing. We hope to work with her again sometime.

Our Charanga unit called ‘Friendship’ has been our favourite yet and we have loved moving to the music, learning the words, keeping the beat in different ways and improvising with new rhythms.

Year 3

In year 3 we have continued to use Charanga, both in the classroom and to practise ourselves on the Yumu webpages.  During the first half of the summer term we learned to sing a song with lyrics about friendship, peace, hope and unity.  We then practised playing the glockenspiel as accompaniment and create our own composition.  In July we reflected on what we had learned this year, reviewed what should have been learned by those learning from home and revisited the notation for crotchets and rests.

Four children in our class continued with their violin tuition with Mr Hartley from Durham Music Services.

Year 4

Year 4 have continued to develop their understanding of reading music. They are now comfortable annotating the sheet music to show which notes are which and are starting to recognise the different length of notes too. After playing along to ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles, they will then go on to create their own improvised pieces.

The class then went on to improvise and create their own pieces of music to play alongside the same song with some brilliant results.

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Year 5

In Year 5, we have explored the Marvin Gaye version of ‘Dancing in the Street’. We have explored and appraised the different elements of the song and explained how it makes us feel. Lots of us thought that it just made us want to get up and dance. We also progressed our understanding of written music by deducing the notes for the melody from the score and working well to perform it on our instruments. We also explore music composition through our wort in computing on ‘Scratch’. Additionally, we were able to work with Durham Music Service and had some great fun with samba drumming.

Year 6

In Music, Y6 have been introduced to some inspirational women and we have composed raps in this style.


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We have also composed our own tune, using a pop music backing track.

We were also lucky enough to sample a little bit of African drumming, samba style. Look at our performance:

Spring Term 2021


In Nursery we have been enjoying learning some new songs.  We have enjoyed performing the days of the week song and learned a new song about a Chinese dragon during our Chinese New Year celebrations.  We even made our own masks and used pieces of fabric to do our own dragon and lion dance accompanied by some percussion instruments.  We have been using the percussion instruments in conjunctions with our phonics work to tap and beat out the syllables in words.  The children have been joining in with some ring games such as ‘The Farmers in the Den’ and ‘There was a Princess Long Ago’. 


We have begun a new focus of traditional Nursery Rhymes in class. Recently we have talked about the rhyme Humpty Dumpty (not all the children knew the words to this rhyme so we have been singing it quite a lot!)

We explored some of the lyrics such as discussing what ‘a great fall’ could mean (all children agreed that falling over is not a ‘great’ experience!). We talked about the words ‘Kings horses and Kings men’ and investigated who they could be.

We enjoyed exploring a range of musical instruments and used the rhymes Humpty Dumpty and the Grand Old Duke Of York to add our music making to.  We have also explored finding a beat, such as using a drum to march in time just as the Grand Old Duke would have done!

Keystage 1

In music this term year 2 have been busy both at home and in school. We set up our Yumu accounts so that the home learners could access our Charanga music scheme and participate in the same lessons as the key worker children in school.

Our units this term were ‘I wanna play in a band’, looking at rock music and ‘Zootime,’ exploring Reggae music.

The children looked at the way different songs are structured.

The unit focused on singing and playing together in an ensemble as well as composing, improvising and performing.

The children listened and appraised throughout the unit looking at classic rock songs from other artists such as Queen and Chuck Berry.

The children the experimented with writing their own music using the notes G F E D and C. We had lots of fun listening to and changing our compositions to fit to the Reggae beat of Zootime.

Keystage 2

During the first two months of this half term, the year 3 children who were home learning received activities that helped them to continue accessing the music curriculum.


The major focus was to use the Charanga Yumu website, which they’d been accessing since October, to practise singing.  In addition, some children mentioned that had musical instruments at home, so resources to help them play those instruments were also assigned to their Yumu account.

For those children at school we practised composition using the Glockenspiels and untuned percussion.  Once all children were in class, we looked at a new song and appraised other styles of music.  In recent weeks we’ve began learning more about musical notation with a focus on tempo and pitch.  The Durham Music Services resources have been helpful in our copyback activities to practise rhythm and dynamics.

Year 4 have really enjoyed our unit ‘Lean on Me’ this term and have discovered many of them are fans of Bill Withers! The structure of the song has been discussed in particular detail this term and the challenges of recognising rhythm and pulse within. The class have enjoyed learning to sing the song and will soon progress to accompanying the song with their own musical compositions.

In Year 5, we have explored an example of a ballad and some hip hop music through the tracks ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. We have appraised the tracks and compared them to similar and contrasting pieces of music. In the case of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ we were able to compare it to the version by the original artist. The learning in class has been mirrored as much as possible through the use of ‘Yumu’ which is an online music platform. Children taking part in home learning tasks have been able to learn, compare and contrast the music and have been able to compose using the online composition tool. An aspect which we all enjoyed was learning the singed accompaniment to some of the songs. In class, we have developed our improvisation and composition – this has included using notes on a scale.

Year 6 have been listening and appraising some jazz music.  Watch us perform Bacharach Anorak.  Which notes can you hear us playing on the glockenspiel?



In Nursery we can find and sing a song for every occasion.  We have sung Halloween songs about skeletons and ‘Five Little Pumpkins’, firework songs for Bonfire Night and Autumn songs, our favourite being ‘Dingle Dangle Scarecrow’.  We regularly sing counting songs to help us with our maths learning like ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5’, ‘Five Little Monkeys’ and ‘Ten green Bottles’ to name but a few.  We are now beginning to learn and sing some Christmas songs too as part of our Christmas celebrations and as a surprise for our parents!  We have really enjoyed exploring the percussion instruments in Nursery and can now name and talk about the sound that each one makes.  We have learned how to copy a sound and how to tap out a simple repeated rhythm using body percussion. Our music learning has coincided with our work in phonics where we have been learning how to match and distinguish between different sounds.


We have been shakin’ shakers in time to our days of the week song.  We talked about beats, rhythms and speed.  The children went from shaking their shakers vigorously up and down (to enjoy the sound) to shaking them in time to music and songs! 

Year 1

In music year 1 have been working on a rap called Hey You! It was all about playing different instruments and keeping the beat. We learnt the rap, performed our own version using percussion instruments and then created our own composition. We used lyrics linked to things we really enjoy doing around school. 


Year 2

In music this term we have been working on keeping a beat, clapping a rhythm and have learned to sing 2 new songs. We have looked at music from other cultures, learned a Christmas rap and played the glockenspiels using simple patterns of notes. We also learned to sign a section of our Christmas song ‘Ho, ho, ho’ to share with our parents via Tapestry.

Year 3

Year 3 started the autumn practising to sing a song from Charanga, which they can practise at home using their Charanga Yumu login. After a few weeks, we had access to weekly violin session with Mr Hartley.  During these session we use songs to help us learn and remember which strings to pluck and then for the movements of the bow.   Our violin sessions finished with a performance in the hall that was recorded and shared with parents.

We then resumed using Charanga learn how to play notes on the Glockenspiel and soon realised how we needed to hold the beater when striking the metal bars.  We found that using the computer with headphones helped when concentrating for the listen and copyback activities.


Year 4

The children in year 4 have been amazing this term when learning to read sheet music and play their glockenspiels. Here is a recording of a wonderful performance of the piece ‘D-E-F-initely’. 

This helped the children learn about beats in a bar, different length notes and rests in music and what they look like in musical notation. Very impressive I am sure you will agree!

Year 5

In Year 5 we have explored an example of rock music through the track ‘Living on a Prayer’ which was composed by Bon Jovi. We have appraised the track and compared it to similar and contrasting pieces of music. We have also explored elements of jazz music. We then accompanied jazz tracks with tuned percussion instruments, both improvising and composing our own short melodies.

Year 6

Year 6 have been learning about the history of Motown music. All the learning in this unit is focused around one song: Dancing In The Street by Martha And The Vandellas.

We have listened to and appraised the song, played progressive warm-up games, flexible games and improvised with it.


Spring Term 2020

Music in the Early Years


The children have been enjoying exploring the new percussion instruments.  They have experimented with making sounds and have been learning the names of the instruments. 

We have looked at the different ways to play each instrument and played lots of games of ‘guess the instrument’.  We have used picture cues to play our instruments: quiet, loud, fast and slow.  We have been learning about rhythm and learned to play a steady beat as part of a small group.

We have been singing lots of songs; our favourite has been the days of the week song sung to the tune on the Addams Family.  We even added some percussion instruments into this song when we performed it as a group.  We were also very excited with the delivery of our new large xylophone, it makes lots of different sounds and we all queued up to play every day!


The children in Reception have been focussing on traditional Nursery Rhymes this term.

They have talked about the rhyme Humpty Dumpty. Some of the children didn’t know the words to the nursery rhyme but after lots of practice, they are word perfect!

The children have enjoyed exploring a range of musical instruments and added their own accompaniments to the rhymes The Grand Old Duke of York and Humpty Dumpty.

The children have also become much more confident at recognising and clapping to the beat of the music.

Music in Key Stage 1

Year 1

The children in Year 1 have been learning about some new instruments, such as a glockenspiel. We have worked on creating our own pulses and beats to share with the class.


The children have listened to music from different eras. They can recognise the differences in the songs and explain which songs they like the best and why.

Year 2

Year 2 have been exploring different music styles including afro-pop, rock and reggae. They have been using musical language to appraise different pieces of music such as pitch, pulse and tempo.

Recently, we have been building up our understanding of musical notation and have been improving on the glockenspiel as well as playing along to some class songs. 


Music in Key Stage 2

Year 3

Year 3 have continued to learn to sing and play music using our Charanga Music Programme. This term we have learned to sing Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and have placed it on our music history timeline.

We have practised singing in time with each other and we used our diaphragm and lungs to increase the volume and pronounce the words more clearly.

We learned a new way to practise keeping in time and this helped us when we were using tuned percussion instruments to accompany our singing.


Year 4

In Year 4 we have explored an example of grime music through the track ‘Stop’ which was composed by Joana Mangona. We have appraised the track and compared it to similar and contrasting pieces of music.

As a class, we have developed our performance of the song. We then accompanied the song with tuned percussion instruments, both improvising and composing our own short melodies. These were performed as an instrumental section of the song.

In addition, we have also started to explore ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers which has allowed us to build on our previous focus of music from this time period – Mamma Mia by Abba.

Year 5

We are delighted with school’s recent purchase of a class set of Glockenspiels and have wasted no time in using them in year 5. We have been learning to differentiate between pulse and the tune when playing music, identifying individual notes and putting together sequences of notes to play a tune and then perform for an audience.

We listened to a section of music by Gotye called ‘Somebody that I used to know’. Discussed it in appraisal work and listened carefully to a specific section. We were then challenged to experiment and investigate with the glocks to see if we could work out the notes for ourselves. Some pairs of children in class managed to get it note perfect – most impressive! We then went on to recording notation using a stave and our class brass experts led the way in collaborative work on this.

Speaking of the ‘experts’… in year 5 we regularly invite our children taking music lessons to share what they have been up to in class. They always do themselves proud and put on a great performance. Proud to be Pittington!

Year 6

This term Y6 have listened to and appraised A New Year Carol by Benjamin Britten. We considered instruments, tempo and mood of the song. We then worked in teams and our music leaders led our groups in improvising to create their own tune to the music.

 The groups then wrote their own version of the song which focussed on the children's experience of their time at Pittington Primary School.

Autumn Term 2019

Early Years Foundation Stage


In Nursery this term we have been learning about steady beats and matching the beat modelled. Each morning we welcome our friends to nursery by singing our welcome song. We do this whilst tapping out a rhythm on our legs. Sometimes Mrs TG is a bit naughty and changes the speed of the beat and we have to match it. We like it best when Mrs TG goes really fast as we are clapping the beat.  Each week we also learn a new beat baby song, this too helps us to develop a steady beat and to match the rhythm of the song.

We have also had a practice with some simple percussion instruments. We talked about the different sorts of sounds they made and then tried to, without seeing, identify what instrument was playing and match it.

We also performed our Christmas Nativity with Reception: Whoops a Daisy Angel. We enjoyed singing all the songs together.


We have truly entered the world of songs around the world this term.

We have started a class Song Box which contains a picture or word of something that may give us an idea of a song (it may be a familiar song or one the children make up independently). 

We have explored French songs during European Language day and the rhyme Frère Jacques was a firm favourite.  We explored its meaning too.  We enjoyed this so much that we’ve added it to our class song-box!

Whilst learning about Diwali and Hinduism we listening to a variety of Bollywood music.  We explored movement to this genre of music as well as thinking about how the sounds of instruments made us feel (loud dhol drums, bells, sitars etc).  We used Bollywood music to inspire us while we created giant Diva lamps.    

Reception are now in full swing of practising for our Christmas Production. We are learning songs about angels, wise men, shepherds and a place called Bethlehem!  

Key Stage 1

Year 1

In Year 1 we have listened to a variety of musical styles. We have started to recognise and learn the names of instruments and, through discussion, we have used a range of musical vocabulary.

We are starting to understand how pulse, rhythm and pitch work together to create music. In small groups we have started to play music together.

We love to sing! We worked really hard learning 8 songs for our Christmas Nativity, Baubles and really enjoy singing in assembly.

Year 2

Year 2 have been learning about music from around the world. The song ‘Hands, Feet, Heart’ is an Afropop song from South Africa. We have discussed the style, tempo and features, learned to sing it and even played different tuned instruments to it such as xylophones and glockenspiels.


Key Stage 2

Year 3

The children in year three have been using Charanga to learn a new song and to play tuned percussion.

Year 3 have being learning to play the violin in school as part of the Wider Opportunities programme.  Mr Chris Hartley was our tutor from Durham Music Services and he is a fantastic violin and piano player.  The sessions concluded with a violin performance to KS1 and parents/carers of the year three children.

Year 4

In Year 4 we have focused on the song ‘Mamma Mia’ and have explored other songs by ABBA. We have thoroughly enjoyed rehearsing our singing performance and we have explored the key features of the music. This has progressed to accompanying the song with tuned percussion instruments and we even explored some improvisations. Finally, we composed our own accompaniment for the track and preformed it for the rest of the class.

Year 5

This term we have combined music with our literacy work. We have listened to and appraised ‘Troika’ from Lieutenant Kije by Prokofiev which is a piece of music about a sleigh ride which linked perfectly to our Work on the white witch from our class reader. We wrote about Edmunds journey to the ice palace and used our writing to compose short musical phrases to depict a scene. Donovan’s writing was fabulous so as a class we broke it down into sections and wrote our own tunes to accompany the work – making up our own ways to record each note. We then looked at how music is recorded on a stave and have started to learn about different notes and Italian terms to describe music. We have some expert musicians in our class who supported friends with reading music and identifying notes. We have experimented with hand bells, water flutes, keyboards and xylophones in our composition work.


Year 6

We have been raising our spirits by listening, appraising and composing songs which make us happy.  We considered instruments, texture, tempo, dynamics and mood in the songs. We have played tuned percussion accompaniment and enjoyed improvising to instrumental sections.

Summer Term 2019

Keystage 1

Year 1 and 2 continue to have singing sessions from students at Durham University. They have extended their song library and have learnt a lot about pitch and rhythm. We would like to thank the students for coming each week to sing with the children. 

Keystage 2

Year 3

During this summer term the children evaluated their percussion section, composed when they were in year two, within a school song that they've been singing again this term.  After discussion amongst themselves they realised that it was to provide a sense of anticipation before the final verse.

Many children throughout school have music lessons outside of school. Here is one of our year 3's performing to his class.

In year 3 we have many talented musicians. Here are some of our MAT children learning how to play the keyboard.

Here are some of our established Brass children demonstrating how to play a brass instrument to the year 3 children. Next year year 3 children can opt to learn an instrument through Durham Music Service. 

Year 4

The children in year 4 continue to work on their Charanga unit. They were focussing on the music from Abba. The children had a showcase day where they dressed up in 80s clothes and sang their hearts out. They could be heard throughout school. 

Year 5

The children in year 5 are beginning to use and understand musical notation. They are recording parts of music they have heard and representing their own compositions using the stave. Our talented musicians support their peers and collaboration allows all children to succeed in writing and playing their own music.

 Here is another one of our talented musicians showcasing their talent of playing the piano to the whole school. 

Each week the children develop their gross motor skills by singing along to the Beat Bop Baby raps. The children love this music time and sing along with confidence.  


In Reception the children have been using a special music box to explore a new rhyme every day. The class favourites so far are- ‘Okki Tokki Unga!’ and ‘My Aunite Monica!’ We have also incorporated some Nursery Rhymes into this terms learning. 

We have been looking at following a beat to different types of music which has stemmed from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. This was as a result of child's interest from their Focus Week.

Keystage 1

Year 1 and 2

Music students from Durham University have been working with the year 1 and 2 children on their singing skills. They have taught us various warm up activities and lots of different songs.

In year 1 we have been exploring composing our own rhythms that we then played on a chime bar. The children really enjoyed making their own music and were amazed when they could play it to their friends on the chime bar. 

Keystage 2

Year 3

The children in year three have been using Charanga to learn a new song as part of their music. 

They have been looking at learning the keyboard and adding chords to simple tunes. 

As part of the performance part of the Charanga unit the children have been learning to play tuned percussion. 



On the last day of the Autumn term Mrs Rowell organised for a rock band to come into school and perform for everyone. As you can see from the photographs below we all had a lot of fun dancing, singing along and showing off our air guitar skills. 



At Pittington Primary School we provide many opportunities for our children to learn a musical instrument through the Durham Music Service.

Wider Opportunities

When the children are in year 3 the music service offers a programme known as Wider Opportunities. This is a whole class programme where the children learn a musical instrument. A tutor from the service comes into school once a week from September through to Christmas teaching a 45 minute lesson. This year the children are learning violin and Mr Robert Allfree is their tutor. Once the children have finished the programme they showcase their newly found skills in a concert to parents and the rest of the school.


From year 4 the children have the opportunity to learn an instrument through paid lessons provided by Durham Music Service. At Pittington we offer both brass and violin. If you are interested in your child playing an instrument please contact school or click here.


We have many children who currently learn different brass instruments in school. Mrs Kym Wearmouth is our tutor from the service and she is a fantastic cornet player. She teaches the children in groups of ‘like’ ability. Many children progress well and have the opportunity to take their grades.

Here are the children enjoying one of their lessons.


We also have many children who currently learn violin in school and is often after completing the wider opportunities programme. Mr Robert Allfree is our tutor from the service and he is a fantastic violin and piano player. He teaches the children in groups of ‘like’ ability. Many children progress well and have the opportunity to take their grades.

Here are the children enjoying one of their lessons.