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Using Music In Primary RE

Music is a key part of all religious traditions from the Psalms of the Jewish tradition to the Ragas of the Hindu tradition. For most children there will be songs in their own tradition, religious or secular, which are of importance in their lives and so the use of both listening to and composing songs can be a very powerful way of engaging learners.

Music is an important part of working with and understanding all the key concepts of the RE curriculum. The words of religious music form part of the beliefs, teaching and sources of the religions and beliefs being studied, as well as being relevant to the practice and way of life, and a key form of expressing meaning.  Within many communities music is an important expression of the identity of the group and the individual, and an important measure of the belonging. Music is often used as an expression of meaning, purpose and truth and a way of exploring the values and commitments of the believer.

Music in the foundation stage

Children can listen to a range of music from a variety of traditions, and use this as a stimulus to explore their own ideas and feelings. As the children encounter religious festivals, music gives them opportunities to talk about the festivals and explore the stories which underpin them. Music allows them to develop their knowledge of the world in which they live, the diversity of the world and deeper insights into various traditions. Children can start to compose simple rhythmic tunes to respond to religious stories or events.

Music in Key Stage 1

Pupils can start to explore the meanings of the lyrics of simple tunes noting how the music supports the celebrations of festivals and linking music with the traditions. They can explore how music is used to create moods and express religious ideas in worship (e.g. those of joy, celebration, prayer, sorrow). They can start to use some religious terminology (e.g. hymns, ragas, chants). They can use music to identify their own religious feelings and questions and compose simple songs to known or composed tunes to express these feelings and questions.

They should explore the use of music in Christianity and at least one other principal religion.

Music in Key Stage 2

Pupils should be able to look at the variety of ways in which music is used in religious practice in both formal and informal worship and in the expression of the beliefs of individuals. They should start to recognise how religious ideas influence popular music and how religious themes are common in music from a range of times and traditions.

They should start to explore how the ways in which music is used is common and different in different traditions (e.g. the Psalms in Judaism and Christianity). They should explore how music is different for different communities within the same tradition (e.g. within the Protestant and Orthodox Christian communities) and be able to see how the music is linked to the beliefs of the tradition. They should look at the lives of those who compose religious music and the music they have composed. They should use music to express their own ideas of truth and belief and of right and wrong and consider how religious and non-religious music offers a source of inspiration in their lives and the lives of others.

They should explore the use of music in Christianity and at least two other principal religions.