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Music – Year 6

Listening and understanding

Elements of music


Pitch: recognise and identify different scale patterns: major, minor, pentatonic and raga

Duration: understand irregular rhythmic groupings, such as fives, sevens

Dynamics: understand how the full range of dynamics can be manipulated for expressive effect

Tempo: understand how the full range of tempi can be manipulated for expressive effect

Texture: distinguish between textures, and how they can be used for expressive effect; understand simple chord structures

Timbre: identify families of instruments, and different ensemble combinations, eg: jazz band, orchestra, choir

Structure: understand and identify contrasting style arrangements, theme and variations

Applying understanding

  • Identify how a combination of elements are used in a variety of musical styles and to communicate musical effects
  • Identify instruments within different families of instruments, and electronic sounds
  • Use and explore notations which are linked to understanding of elements to communicate own musical ideas, including performance instructions
  • Identify composers’ intent in music heard and performed
  • Identify how music is produced in different ways including the use of ICT


Examples in addition to KS1 and lower KS2

Styles eg:

Purposes eg:
theme tunes

Non-musical stimuli eg:
abstract ideas
dramatic themes


  • Extend accuracy of vocal range to include pitching of chromatic patterns
  • Increase awareness of expression and interpretation through control of elements when singing
  • Sing with confidence in two parts (descants etc.)
  • Use a wide range of instruments with confidence demonstrating knowledge of correct technique
  • Maintain ostinati patterns and sequences in all metres
  • Rehearse and present performances in independent groups, commenting on how intentions have been achieved
  • Maintain own part with awareness of how the different parts fit together


Use acoustic sounds and ICT to…

  • Improvise in a variety of styles, using scales as a base
  • Improvise melodic and rhythmic phrases as part of a group performance
  • Vary and refine ideas
  • Develop ideas within musical structures
  • Use simple chord sequences to structure pieces
  • Capture, change and combine sounds for a specific musical purpose

Responding and reviewing

  • Compare and contrast music heard and performed with an awareness of the music’s context and purpose
  • Use variety of art forms to respond to changes in character or mood and other elements of music, with increased emphasis on changes in metre, textures and structures
  • Express and justify ideas and opinions about music heard and performed using an appropriate and extended musical vocabulary See vocabulary list in the appendices
  • Improve their own and other’s work with an awareness of the music’s context and purpose

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