This part of the unit explores how to develop your practice to make more effective use of language to improve pupils’ musical learning.
The use of language is a specific requirement of the National Curriculum (2008) for music:
‘Pupils should be able to … communicate ideas and feelings about music using expressive language and musical vocabulary to justify their opinions.’
The explicit reference to the use of a musical vocabulary is not a surprise, and will be understood by all music teachers. The description of when vocabulary needs to be used, however, and its location within the programme of study for ‘reviewing and evaluating’ indicates that it is only the starting point for language use in music. The ensuing challenge is to make sure that pupils can use musical vocabulary effectively to articulate their analysis and evaluation of music – key features of appraising and higher-order thinking.
Increasing the challenge in the use of musical language therefore requires teachers to identify:
- what basic building blocks are in place for the use of a music-specific vocabulary;
- how these are developed and extended to include a wider use of language to support reviewing and evaluating activities.
Use Activity Resource 3 to help you learn about and plan for the use of a wider and more sophisticated range of musical vocabulary.
You could then: