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What is covered in Key Stage 1 music?

Find out what your child will be learning at school and how you can encourage their love of music at home.

In KS1 music, teaching focuses on developing a child's capacity to listen carefully and respond physically to a wide range of different kinds of music. Your child will play musical instruments and sing a variety of songs from memory, adding accompaniments and creating short compositions. Children also explore the way sounds and silence can create different moods and effects.

By the end of the Key Stage 1 curriculum, your child will be expected to have reached level 2 in music. This national curriculum level is measured by whether they show an understanding of how sounds can be made, changed and organised (in sequence).

Lesson examples

These are some examples of typical lessons from schools:

  • A year 1 teacher helps her class develop their listening skills by playing a variety of short clips of music and asking them to write down what they hear, such as patterns and sequences in sound, changes in pitch and volume.
  • Year 2 children explore pitch by standing when the teacher plays the chime bar low to high, and sitting when the teacher plays high to low. They stay in the same place if a note is repeated.

Help your child at home

  • Sing songs that invite your child to perform an action, such as a clap, stamp or jump, to help your child develop rhythm. Songs with repetition are particularly good.
  • Make your own homemade instruments - it's fun and cheap and you can use any household object that makes a sound. It's a great way to make use of recycled objects, too! Fill an empty screw top jar with uncooked beans or rice to make shakers. Make sure the lid is tightly secured before use! Or try empty cartons, pots and pans make great drums to hit with a wooden spoon. You can even create a triangle by suspending a metal object such as a coat hanger with some string, and hitting it with a metal spoon. Find these and other ideas at
  • Talk to your child about the different sounds we associate with the weather. What sound do you hear when there is a heavy downpour, thunder, and howling wind? Find words and sounds to describe them, such as rumbling thunder said in a low voice and howling wind said in a screechy voice.
  • Help your child to discover their voice in different ways - singing, whispering, talking, and humming. Add some of the musical elements being taught at this stage, such as high, low, loud, quiet, fast, slow, rhythm.
  • Expose your child to as wide a range of music as you can.
  • This wacky question should invoke some creativity – “What might music look like if they were painted picture?” Try it out by painting a music picture.
  • Encourage your child to learn to play an instrument.
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