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Ethos and Aims

Music is an important and intrinsic part of life at St. John’s.

We recognise the many benefits that music brings to our children, particularly in terms of their confidence and creativity. Pupils’ enjoyment of music and the contribution in can make to their lives, both as a listener and a performer, is fundamental to our approach. We aim to develop the musical potential of all pupils and to create opportunities for those with particular interests and ambitions to fly high.

Music forms the basis of each celebration and event in the school calendar with class, year group and whole school performances featuring prominently in our services (assemblies), Harvest Festival, Year 6 Act of Remembrance on Whiteladies Road, Christmas Sing-a-long, EYFS, Year 1 and Year 4 Nativities, Easter service, Year 6 Play and End of Year service.

Music Vision Statement

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning” (Plato)

At St John’s we strive to engage and inspire all children to experience and develop a love of music whilst also discovering and developing their own talents as musicians.  Through our music curriculum, we provide children with the tools to develop self confidence, creativity and a growing sense of achievement.

St John’s is a school with singing at its heart.  We love to find a reason to gather together to celebrate or to mark a moment in the year.  We sing to enhance and support our values and to take time to reflect and to worship. We sing for the sheer joy of making music together and making our community stronger.

During our site-specific singing assemblies, we not only promote good vocal and performance technique, but strive to develop and provide loops of learning for the musical elements explored in lessons. We encourage children to engage with a wide variety of chronologically and culturally diverse repertoire through listening and singing.

Composing experience develops through an in depth and progressive understanding of the seven essential musical elements that make up all pieces of music.  Pupils are able to use their growing musical vocabulary to discuss and analyse the work of professional musicians, as well as their peers and express their feelings about the repertoire.  Through this understanding, they are able to begin to develop their own ideas with increasing complexity and musicality.

Children are encouraged to take part in our large extra curricular Junior choir where they are able to participate in many varied performances, from large arenas to smaller local  historical venues. All pupils are encouraged to take up an instrument and tuition is available through our partnership with Bristol Beacon and our piano tutors. We celebrate the achievements of our musicians in our annual Music concert.

From KS1 pupils are introduced to formal written notation alongside a kinesthetic approach to learning about rhythm and pitch.  In KS2 pupils develop these skills and put their knowledge to use in whole class percussion and tuned instrumental activities.

Throughout the year, we regularly invite professional musicians and musical visitors to school to inspire us and to share their love of music and performing. Our Music Week and House Event, challenges children to work together across year groups to develop and share their musical ideas and skills.

Model Music Curriculum: Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school.

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono

Guitar groupCurriculum

Our music curriculum is designed to be fun and ambitious. Our children use a range of instruments, as well as their voices, and at WR we have a dedicated Music Room.

We use the award winning ‘Bristol Curriculum for Music’ as the basis for our teaching, as well as taking inspiration for cross-curricular links from sources such as BBC Ten Pieces. Lessons across the school are taught by our highly skilled and experienced music teacher, Lindsay Churchill.

Across our whole school, we are focusing on the development of traditional notation reading skills, alternating between rhythmic notation activities and pitch notation practise. During lesson times, we provide further opportunities to join these skills together and put them into practise through performing, listening, composing and appraising. Alongside this, pupils learn to recognise and use the musical elements (duration, pitch, dynamics, tempo, structure, texture and timbre) and gain an understanding of the chronology of music, musicians and composers.

 Singing at St. John’s


Singing is at the heart of our musical life and we receive regular praise from the public for the quality of our singing performances.

A weekly Singing Assembly takes place on each site. During this, we focus on posture, breathing techniques and diction whilst learning a range of secular and non-secular music for celebrations, calendar events . . . and for fun!

We also have a large Junior Choir (60 singers) who perform at charity and church events, as well as at annual concerts such as Young Voices (Birmingham Arena) and Bristol Plays Music events (Bristol Cathedral, St. George’s, UWE Conference Centre, Bristol Grammar School, Spiegeltent). These opportunities give real purpose and are fantastic events for our children to be part of, giving a real sense of pride.

Violin lessonIndividual Lessons

We recognise that learning an instrument is an excellent opportunity to develop our children’s skills and talents.

We therefore offer individual and group tuition on Guitar, Violin, Clarinet, Flute, Cornet, Trumpet, Drums, Piano and Ukulele. Tutors are a mix of privately engaged, professional working musicians and ‘Bristol Plays Music’ teachers. It is wonderful to see the progress our instrumentalists make and we aim to celebrate this regularly and use their skills in lessons.

Stages 2019 group photoMusic Week

Each summer we have a dedicated Music Week.

Each year group selects a musician or composer, finds out about their life and work and uses this as a stimulus for their own work that week be it musical, artistic or as a springboard for creative writing. During this week, children take part in a competitive House Event with a musical focus. Recent themes have included Stomp inspired compositions, beat boxing challenges, musical theatre arrangements and performances and a task based on contemporary composer Kerry Andrew’s amazing, ‘No Place Like’, from the BBC Ten Pieces.

During this week, we hold our annual Musical Showcase concert. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements and progress made by the young musicians during the year.

Music Staff

Music teaching is delivered across the school by Lindsay Churchill.

She also co-ordinates the instrumental tuition for the juniors, leads the Junior Choir and Ensemble and leads the Junior Singing Assembly.

Lindsay works in tandem with Sue Morgan who leads our Infant Singing Assemblies and a seasonal Infant choir, as well as co-ordinating instrumental tuition at our Lower Redland Road site.

Lindsay Churchill

Lindsay began learning musical instruments and receiving vocal tuition at the age of 7.  Before leaving school, she had gained her Grade 8 singing and then her Advanced Diploma in Voice (ABRSM).

As a young musician, Lindsay gained valuable experience from an array of school and county orchestras and choirs and fully recognises the importance of these groups in promoting the skills of and educating our next generation of musicians.

Lindsay went on to gain a Music Degree from Cardiff University and then a Postgraduate Diploma from Trinity College of Music, London.  Before teaching full time, Lindsay travelled and performed with various opera groups and as a soloist for many choirs as well as working as a peripatetic singing teacher in primary and secondary schools and for a performing arts education company.

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