Music at Atwood

‘Music Belongs to Everyone.’

At Atwood we follow the Zoltán Kodály's approach to music education which is based on teaching, learning and understanding music through the experience of singing, giving direct access to the world of music without the technical problems involved with the use of an instrument.  This being said, there are plenty of opportunities for children to learn a musical instrument.  So, who was Kodály?


Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967)

Zoltán Kodály (pronounced kŏ-dī) was born in Hungary. His passion for the rediscovery of the Hungarian spirit resulted in extensive folk-song research. Kodály was an untiring writer and a lifelong folksong activist of unrivalled energy. His own musical compositions were inspired by Hungarian melody and folk-lore.

Kodály came eventually to embody the artistic aspirations of his own country and is arguably the greatest music educationalist of the twentieth century; the astonishingly high standard of choral singing and musical achievement in Hungary was attained thanks to his innovations and teaching methods. These are the inspiration behind his approach to music education, which has gained world recognition.

The Kodály approach to music education is child centred and taught in a logical, sequential manner. There is no "method" – more a series of guidelines. Tools used according to Kodály guidelines are relative solfa, rhythm names and hand-signs.

(Information taken from the British Kodály Academy)


At Atwood, we believe the Kodály approach is incredibly effective when it comes to instilling the basic musical concepts - pulse, rhythm and pitch.


Reception & Year 1

  • Rhythmic patterns and group singing comprising simple songs and rhymes with a small range of pitch.
  • Un-tuned percussion to explore sounds, identifying high and low (pitch), fast and slow (tempo), loud and soft in music (dynamics).
  • Pulse, pitch, rhythm and musical memory using The Jolly Music scheme and the ‘Sing Chair’ for solo singing which builds confidence and enjoyment of singing.

Year 2

  • Singing songs and exploring tuned percussion, expanding on knowledge of pitch, dynamics and tempo.
  • Weekly music assemblies (Years 1 and 2) where all children have the opportunity to perform on their chosen instrument, building confidence, self-esteem and achievement

Years 3-6

  • Class recorder lessons using Red Hot Recorder
  • Exploring music from around the world, including samba music from Brazil, oriental music which uses the pentatonic scale, calypso music originating from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean and Reggae music from Jamaica.
  • Children learn about syncopation, a big characteristic of Reggae and Calypso music and are introduced to the Pentatonic Scale which is widely used in Oriental music.
  • Musical notation, e.g. semi breves, minims, crotchets, quavers etc. and learning how to clap and compose using these notations.

Year 4

  • Ready Steady Recorder scheme extending on the notes learnt in Year 3, learning notes B, A, G, F, F sharp, low E, high D, low D, C.
  • Explore Tudor music by composing a Tudor fanfare and playing Tudor dance music on recorders.
  • Tuned percussion and recorders, rhythms on the Djembe drum, playing bass, tone and slap sounds and singing/playing traditional African djembe pieces.

Years 5 & 6

  • Children learn how to compose their own pieces using cyclic patterns, rhythmic compositions, the blues scale, pentatonic scale and composing music linked to pictures and poems.
  • We also explore the Musical Timeline.

Curriculum Guidance

Curriculum Overview

Click here to view the topics covered in music over the year for each Key Stage.


Music Policy

Click here to read about the aims of our music policy and how music is taught at Atwood.

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