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Progression in Music


Progression in Musical knowledge, concepts and skills

Year 1

Year 2

Progression in Musical knowledge, concepts and skills

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6





Children should be taught to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes

 Playing an instrument

 Children should be taught to play tuned and untuned instruments musically

Start and stop playing and singing at the appropriate time.


Explore making different sounds with voice and with instruments


Sing a 2 or 3 note melody in tune with timbral, tempo and dynamic variation.


 Use instruments to keep the beat and perform simple accompaniments to songs

Sing a 5 note melody in tune.


Sing or clap increasing and decreasing tempo or dynamics appropriately.


Perform simple rhythmic and melodic patterns and accompaniments, keeping a steady pulse


Play simple rhythmic and melodic patterns on an instrument.


 Direct others through gesture.



Children perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression


Produce clear notes on instruments.


Sing in tune with a range of up to a sixth with a combination of steps and small leaps (up to a fourth) in the melodic line.


Maintain a second part in a song or instrumental piece.

Performances include changes of dynamic and tempo as appropriate.

Understand and demonstrate the difference between pulse and rhythm.

Direct others through gesture as a conductor.

 Sing and play instruments confidently with good posture in unison and two-part performances.

Perform with an awareness of how the inter-related dimensions of music have an impact on the performance and the audience.


Perform from staff notation (without letters where possible).

Learn to play the recorder.


Understand and respond to gestures and visual cues for starting, stopping, changing dynamics and tempo and holding long notes.


Demonstrate contrasting articulation  of legato and staccato notes, where possible, and use of clear enunciation when singing.




Maintain a third part in a vocal or instrumental piece. 

Sing and play instruments confidently with good posture.

Learn to play chords and melodic lines on the ukulele.


Perform from tablature notation and using chord charts.


Understand and respond to gestures and visual cues to produce a more expressive performance.

Direct others through gesture when performing.

Use clear enunciation when singing.


Perform with an awareness of how the inter-related dimensions of music have an impact on the performance and the audience.

Sing in harmony confidently and accurately.


Perform parts from memory and learn new music from staff notation.

Maintain a third part in a vocal or instrumental performance


Take the lead in a performance and direct others through expressive gesture.

 Perform with confidence showing how the inter-related dimensions of music have an impact on the performance and the audience.


Choose sounds and sequence them to illustrate a Nursery Rhyme, poem and picture.


Extend a song by substituting own lyrics to match an existing form.

 Order sounds to create a beginning, middle and an end.

Create music in response to different starting points.

Choose sounds which can demonstrate contrast.


Show an awareness of rhyming lyrics by supplying ideas to extend an existing song


improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music  

Choose instruments and playing techniques appropriately to depict mood or character.

Combine different sounds to create a specific mood or feeling.

Contribute to a group composition, playing own part in a performance of the piece which has a definite start, middle and end.






Compose a short piece in binary or ternary form (AB or ABA) 


Improvise a pentatonic melody over a given accompaniment with regard to rhythm and melodic shape.

Decide when a known song should have a change of chord in the accompaniment.


Choose primary chords to accompany a simple known song.


Class composition of a song (lyrics, melody, other features and select chords from plausible suggestions)


Use a variety of different musical devices in composition (including melody, rhythms and chords).

Compose music in a variety of simple structures (12 bar Blues, Ternary form, short song form) using simple notation- staff, chord boxes, tablature or graphic score.

Compose music which is appropriate to a mood, time, location or occasion.


Listening and Evaluating

 Children should be taught to listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music  

Identify everyday sounds and musical sounds

Identify known instrument timbres by ear 

Distinguish between high and low sounds, fast and slow patterns and quiet and loud sounds and respond in a musical way.


Express a feeling, with a reason, in response to a piece of music.

Listen to find the beat of a piece of music.

Identify pitch change in a simple song 

Explore families of instruments such as recorders, viols.

Understand that there are different genres of music

Talk about own and peers’ work and make suggestions for improvement.

Begin to recognise how other composers use change in tempo dynamics an pitch for effect.


listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory


Listen carefully and recognise whether metre is 2- or 3-time.

Explore the concept of orchestral families and identify basic orchestral instruments (eg. violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, timpani, glockenspiel)

Describe previously unheard music with reference to the inter-related dimensions of music basic vocabulary.

Express a like or dislike for a piece of music  supported by a statement

Recognise simple structures in music (AB, ABA, intro, verse and chorus)

Explore additional orchestral instruments eg. viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, French horn and trombone)

Explain why silence is often needed in music and explain what effect it has.

Draw connections between music listened to and music used in performance and composition tasks. 

Explore the difference between music in major and minor keys and recognise that tonality can affect the mood of a piece of music.

Recognise structure in more complex song structures to include intro, outro, verse, bridge and chorus. 

Describe, compare and evaluate music using musical vocabulary, including a personal view.

Recognise the structure of music being listened to. (e.g. Binary, ternary, 12 bar blues, song form)

Recognise and identify a wide range of instruments and synthesised sounds.

Identify the style of a piece of music from a list of options.

Compare and discuss differences in separate performances of the same piece of music.

Describe how a piece of music reflects its purpose place and time.

Consistently use a musical vocabulary when making evaluations of pieces of music.


Use a picture symbol to represent a sound


Use stick notation to introduce concept of rhythm notes


Recognise crotchet, quaver, and crotchet rest.


Match a memorised rhythm to the correct standard notation

Introduce minim and semibreve notes and rests and

Use crotchet, crotchet rest, minim and quaver-pair signs to notate the rhythm of a known song.


Notate an original rhythm in 2 time


Explore the notes of the treble clef stave and use staff notation with letter names when performing simple accompaniments on the glockenspiel or chime bars.


Continue to use previously learnt rhythmic notation and introduce semiquaver patterns and quaver-crotchet-quaver patterns.

Use standard notation to record a sequence of 3 pitches using intervals of unison, second and third.

Continue to use rhythmic notation previously learnt and explore values of ties and dotted notes.

Recognise and name sharp and flat symbols.

Recognise and respond to   basic dynamics (p, mf, f, and hairpin signs for crescendos and diminuendos)








Read and decode ukulele tablature and chord boxes.


Use graphic notation to perform a whole class piece and thereby explore and understand the concept of a musical score.

Confidently use a range of notations to perform and compose music.

Understand that there are different clefs for different pitch ranges.

Understand notation for a wider range of dynamics and individual note articulations.




History of music

 develop an understanding of the history of music


Know that there are different periods of Musical History

Recognise the difference in sound of a Baroque orchestra and a modern Symphony orchestra 

Identify music by Vivaldi and John Williams

Explore music by Classical composers when studying simple structures and compare with neo-classical works of the 20th Century.


Be aware of the introduction of clarinet and trombone into the orchestra and the rise of the piano in this period.


Identify music by W. A. Mozart and Igor Stravinsky.

Explore descriptive music by 19th Century composers and study dramatic excerpts from 20th century opera and stage music.


Identify music by Claude Debussy and Aaron Copland



Explore the impact of technology on how music is made and experienced.

Explore the growth of popular styles in the twentieth century; focus on Swing, Rock and Roll, Pop.


Identify music by composers /arrangers / Performers such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Pharrell Williams - Happy, Owl City – Fireflies.