Music and history combine at Key Stage 2

Primary History article

By Alison Webb, published 25th March 2010

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Section 1: Introduction

Music is a powerful, emotive subject to enrich Historical, Geographical and Social Understanding. The Historical Association has a long and proud tradition of working closely with the Schools Music Association. In 2005, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Schools Music Association and the 70th birthday of their President Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, a series of concerts were organised for schools in 5 cathedrals around the country. The cathedrals - Liverpool Metropolitan, St Alban's, Lichfield, Derby and Newcastle - played host to year 5 and 6 students from different schools in their areas. The success of the initial project has meant that in subsequent years, the SMA has moved around the country from Norwich to Llandaff, from Southwark to Coventry. This year one event took place in Bristol and next year, so far, there will be one event in Peterborough.

As part of the project, the Historical Association were invited to add a History dimension to the proceedings.

Section 2: Schools Music Association Project

Initially, the teachers from the schools involved were asked to teach their students a series of songs which ranged from religious to international, some were serious and some fun.

The demands of the pieces varied and the students were introduced to diverse musical styles. The SMA provided coaching for staff, music, a CD with the accompaniment (so that students with teachers who were unsure musically did not miss out) and arranged some group practices. On the day, the students were rehearsed by a professional conductor, Ronald Corp, before the performance and during the performance, besides using their voices, the students were asked to listen to musicians from local schools, a short performance on the cathedral organ by a professional organist and also a brief talk about an aspect of the History of the cathedral they were sitting in.

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