This Music policy was formulated by the teaching staff of Holy Family National School on the 7 of June 2005 and updated in 2008. It reflects the fact that we at Holy Family see music as an integral part of the child-centered curriculum.

Music is an indispensable part of the curriculum. It contributes to the development of artistic awareness, self expression, self-growth, self-esteem and multicultural sensitivity and therefore to the development of the whole child. By the development of this policy we know that it will benefit the learning of music in our school. The policy will provide a coherent approach to the teaching of music across the whole school.

Our school seeks to assist the children at Holy Family in achieving their potential by providing a suitable environment to nurture their ability to listen and respond, perform and compose music.

By adhering to this policy we hope to achieve the following aims:
To enable the child to enjoy and understand music and to appreciate it critically
To develop the child’s openness to, awareness of and response to a wide range of musical genres including Irish music
To develop the child’s capacity to express ideas, feelings and experiences through music as on individual and in collaboration with others
To enable the child to develop his/her musical potential and to experience the excitement and satisfaction of being actively engaged in musical creativity
To nurture the child’s self-esteem and self-confidence through participation in musical performance
To foster high-order thinking skills and lifelong learning through the acquisition of musical knowledge skills, concepts and values
To enhance the quality of the child’s through aesthetic musical experience

Curriculum Planning

Strands and Strand Units

All teachers are familiar with the strands/strand units and content objectives that are laid down in the curriculum p14-79.

We will follow a set text throughout the whole school. (The Right Note). This will ensure continuity, progression and consistency from class to class. Teachers are familiar with the following musical concepts:
A sense of pulse, duration, tempo, pitch, dynamics, structure, timbre, texture and style.

All three strands,
Listening and Responding, Performing and Composing will be comprehensively covered and will afford equal importance.
Where possible the school may adopt a thematic approach at certain stages of the year.

Approaches and Methodologies

All children are encouraged to be actively engaged in music in our school. Each teacher is responsible for the music education in his/her classroom. Some teachers may be more heavily involved in musical activities when there are concerts, feiseanna and Christmas, Easter, Holy Communion, Confirmation etc. Children in the senior classes have the opportunity each year to attend the Hallelujah concert in Dublin. They learn the repertoire for the concert in the months leading up to Christmas. All children from 2 class to 6 are given the opportunity to learn tin-whistle, lessons are once a week in the 1 and 2 terms. We are very privileged in our school to have highly trained and competent external teachers who are involved in the promoting of local, traditional music. We also have a dance teacher who involves the children in dance from all genre and encourages to respond to music through music and dance.
Each teacher in our school contributes to creating a positive musical environment in the school by sharing ideas, skills and resources. The children at Holy Family have lots of opportunities to enhance their lives through music.
Listening and responding
The teachers provide opportunities for active listening and responding to music by allowing the children experience a wide range of musical styles and cultures. Through questioning, prompting, suggesting and listening to short examples repeatedly the teacher provides opportunities for active listening and responding. Children are given opportunities to respond to music through integration with other curricular subjects such as P.E. Art, English and SPHE.
This is done in a variety of ways which may include:
Talking about….
Listening for specific instruments and/or specific features
Drawing and painting
Following/creating a pictorial score of music
Musical games and/or action songs
The children in our school have numerous opportunities for giving live performances for various audiences in class for peers, in hall for whole school, for parents on a small scale and on a big scale, for parish in concerts, in church, at competitions and for the many visitors who come to the school and the town of Tubbercurry.

A broad range of listening materials are provided in the school:

Recorded music on video, audio tape, CD or music technology
Tuned and untuned percussion instruments
Chime bars
Environmental objects
Children’s own instruments in class
Melodic instruments-recorder, tin-whistle, keyboard, guitar etc.
Instruments of musicians on staff or people in the locality
Performance of a group, ensemble, band, choir, orchestra visiting the school or other venue.
The school chooses the selected listening materials for each class as is laid down in the chosen music programme.

When selecting recorded music we follow carefully the guidelines on p55.56 of the curriculum. Many people are presented from with in the Music Box series. However those which are chosen out from that are varied i.e.
Music from written and unwritten traditions
Classical and folk
Music from Ireland and other countries
Choral and instrumental
Solo and ensemble
Music from different occasions and purposes.


When performing the following are all emphasised:
Active enjoyable participation
Development of skills, understanding and knowledge
Fostering of children’s attitudes and interests

Suitable age appropriate methodologies will be used to teach songs as laid down in the teacher guidelines p. 70-81
Teachers will encourage unison singing, simple part-singing, rounds etc.
Some children may have singing difficulties and we will Endeavour to overcome these by taking on board some of the suggestions on p. 88 Guidelines.

Musical Literacy
The following are the steps that we will Endeavour to take to nurture musical literacy.
Graphic Notation (Simple pictures to represent sounds or songs)

Standard Notation
Notating Rhythm
The syllable system such as ta, ti-ti will be used. The syllables are not names but expressions of duration. They are voiced. Their written representation is stick notation.
Note values-staff notation
Various games may be used to teach rhythm notation e.g. Echo-clapping.

Pitch Notation
Tonic Solfa doh-doh
Hand signs p.136 appendix
Absolute pitch names
i.e. C major is CDEFGABC

Pentatonic Music
5 note songs, Songs based on the notes doh, re, mi, soh and lah.

Inner Hearing
Games such as singing silently or humming a tune without the words help the child to internalise sound which is an essential part of musical development.

Playing Instruments

Opportunities are provided for all children to play tin-whistle and bodhran. Percussion instruments may be used at all class levels in several ways.


Children are given opportunities to compose/improvise using vocal sounds, body sounds, instruments and environmental sounds.
The curriculum outlines a progressive range of purposes in composing activities on pages 110-121 of the Curriculum Guidelines.

Linkage and Integration
By following a set text the 3 strands are interrelated and interconnected. Music is one subject that is totally integrated across the curriculum.

Assessment and Record Keeping
Assessment is largely done by teacher observation. Record keeping is done by DVD and recording of various productions-shows, concerts, feiseanna..
Written evaluations and assessments will provide important information for the planning of follow-up activities and future work in music.
Progress is communicated to parents through performances, parent teacher meetings and school reports.

Children with Different Needs
Musical activities will be adapted and modified so that all children can participate meaningfully in classroom music. Guidelines p40-41

Equality of Participation and Access
Teachers should promote equal access to music making among boys and girls. Every effort will be made to make children appreciate music from all cultures in the school.

Time table
Each teacher’s timetable is at their own discretion.

Resources and ICT
Curriculum Books
Chosen music series
Suitable hardware-CD players, DVD players, Tape recorders…
Software-CD’s, Tapes, Videos, DVDs…
Teachers’ own instruments
Melodic instruments
Teachers books, song collections etc
The Internet.

Health and Safety
The principles outlined in the H&S policy will be upheld in the teaching of music. Instruments will be stored in a safe cupboard and children will be warned of the dangers of moving about with instrument.

Individual Teachers Planning and Reporting
As a means of co-ordinating the music programme throughout the school we will follow the Music Box Programme and evaluate said after one year i.e. June 2006.

Staff Development
Teachers have attended 2 days in-service in Music Education.
Information about in-service, courses, school visits and musical events are communicated to all. Teachers with expertise in certain areas of the musical curriculum are prepared to work with staff and children of all classes.
Opportunities for team-teaching are encouraged in our school.

Parental Involvement
Parents are encouraged to support their children in fostering an interest in music through
Singing together songs learned at school and elsewhere
Listening to music together
Purchasing tin whistle
Allowing time and space to practice
Encouraging active involvement and listening at home
Attending performance of school choir.

Community Links
Opportunities are made to invite local musicians and traveling companies to our school. We have significant involvement with the Arts Council and Comholtas. The children are brought to venues such as The Niland Centre and Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo and the Theatre in Castlebar to appreciate music.

Success Criteria
Next review date fro this plan will be June 2011.

Roles and Responsibilities
Each teacher is responsible for the curriculum in their own classroom. Storage of musical instruments is in room 2. This responsibility may be included in a post of responsibilities in September 2005.

Ratification and Communication
The policy will be ratified immediately by the B.O.M.