Still have some questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to help!
Still have some questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to help!
SymbolSmash creates online programmes for school teachers who wish to teach a fun, inspiring, academic weekly music course.
Created by experts in music education, and in Primary/Early learning, SymbolSmash has exceptional resources that combine music with every other subject in the curriculum, from Early Years to Key Stage 2.
Our step-by-step guidance helps Year Group teachers to grow confident and familiar with the content, and has proved to be excellent supplementary material for music specialists.
Song libraries, assembly scripts, illustrated stories – you can discover an entire resource-database that ties in with each syllabus and lesson programme. Add in cross-curricular activities and skill-development, and school music becomes so much more than just a music lesson.
Schools, Year Group Teachers or Music Coordinators, can subscribe to SymbolSmash Programmes by clicking on the SIGN UP button. Or you can sign up for a FREE TRIAL, to access the first lesson of a syllabus, and a variety of other resources you would find within the programme.
If you want to discover how SymbolSmash ties in with the National Curriculum explore the links and tabs!
We think that an inspiring, interactive early learning experience is the best way for children to build a passion for education.
Therefore we create classical music-based products, designed specifically for modern children, and that combine creativity with academia.
Best of all, teachers need no previous experience with classical music to use or teach from our products – so you can join confidently join in on music adventure!
SymbolSmash evolved from Kids Classics, the successful and popular children’s music classes taught and created by Marion Musry.
Marion has been teaching her holistic method to musical learning and appreciation for over 20 years.
She began teaching Classical Appreciation to her own children, then in schools, and finally through her own business, Kids Classics. She decided to build SymbolSmash as her dream is to teach as many children as possible to love and enjoy classical music.
Building on confidence and internal development is a critical feature in the learning activities within the pack. The music and activities encourage expression, which is communicated in a variety of ways.
The packs encourage a cohesive environment where children work together on many activities and learn to respect each other in discussions. In some physical activities, the teacher may call on individual volunteers to create a pattern or movement for the rest of the class to imitate, thereby teaching the class to value each other’s opinions.
The routines of the lessons encourage children to communicate their emotions: these are seen through physical and creative activities. As there are different roles and opportunities to volunteer, the children are taught the significance of sharing and listening while others communicate.
Children are given the chance to express preference and choice. This is approached in a verbal and physical manner. Various activities build awareness through the use of untuned instruments; the children can create different sounds and, as the lessons progresses, they will become more confident in doing so. All activities are designed to make the children aware of how they can impact change and lead to growth through music.
Basic forms of reading and writing are touched upon in each lesson, with an emphasis on picture recognition to encourage communication and creativity.
In every lesson, poems, songs, and storybook pages will be explored as a group. There will be chances for children to join in, anticipating what can come next as familiarity with the music grows over the 12 lessons.
Within each lesson there are activities for the children to explore mark-making and drawing. Writing of letters appears at the later levels of EYFS
Both in school and at home, understanding backgrounds of people, places and objects is vital for children. Sustaining an interest in ‘wanting-to-know-more’ about surroundings should be encouraged from an early age, and methods of discovery should also be introduced.
When teaching the relationships between instrument families, the children will be encouraged to recount their own family members, reviewing similarities and differences between them. The different activities, especially those where working together and singing in unison are used will expand on community relationships. When learning about the positions and parts of those in the orchestra, the children will learn about cohesion and the different roles people play that help achieve this.
Some activities will have the teacher show children further music through the Internet. This is to teach about the use of search engines. After this has been completed, it is suggested that teachers encourage a continuation of this behaviour at home.
History and geography are explored through the composer of the music, and the recurring theme of ‘Space’. The children are taught the different properties of instruments and are encouraged to relate them to other objects they have already encountered. They are also asked to link animals and their environments and characteristics to various musical features learned in class.
Building on children’s communication and language is a central focus to the teaching pack. Throughout the classes, there are opportunities for all children to build on these skills through enjoyable activities. The most important part is ensuring a cohesive environment, which is evident throughout the course.
In each lesson, the teacher will engage the class through poems, discussions, songs, stories and videos about familiar topics and features within the music. These interactive methods will retain focus and enable children to develop their listening and attention skills.
The basic questions that are posed during the classes will give each child the chance to speak confidently in groups, and independently. Throughout the sessions, the teacher will introduce new vocabulary in order to build on the children’s language skills. Children are encouraged to speak openly as individuals and collaborate as a group in discussions and performance activities. This will not only help to build their language skills but also boost confidence in a fun and stimulating way.
The pack informs teachers how to relate musical features to common experiences and objects that are relevant to the class. Throughout the pack, songs will be introduced and repeated to solidify information that has been taught. The children will develop all curriculum skills e.g. counting, literacy and coordination through the repetition of these songs
Relating music to maths is very significant and the activities within the packs highlight moments for counting and rhythm creation.
As the lessons progress, there are occasions for children to count the number of instruments, sing number songs, perform to the amount of beats in the bar and basic addition and subtraction through recognising changes in numbers.
In all aspects of the course, whether talking about comparing instrument sizes and shape, creating rhythmic patterns, or group puzzle work, the children will work on their shape recognition.
While being creative or imaginative, it is important for the child to lead and see the effects of their thoughts. In the earlier lessons, the children are encouraged to develop their imagination and the ways they creatively respond to objects and music. In the later lessons there are chances for individuals to lead and teach.
Through various activities, the children will be guided through an imaginative process, with chances to create their own actions to music. Using untuned instruments, they will also have the opportunity to create their own rhythms and volume changes. In many lessons, the teacher will ask the children to play a character/animal that relates to a feature in the music (for example, a ‘snapping crocodile’ in the Crescendo Croc lesson).
The children are encouraged to explore media and materials through creative activities incorporating arts and crafts, drawing and musical activities. During physical activities, children are also to create their own movements to reflect the features in the music. They are also provided with untuned instruments and Activity Sheets to explore ways of creating sounds, patterns and movements.
Through different exercises, children will learn the importance of their bodies and their upkeep, as well as proximities to ensure enjoyment and coordination.
When learning about musical instruments that require mouth contact, the children will learn about hygiene that relates to instrumental ‘mouth-pieces’. They will also learn about the requirements to keep themselves physically able to stand for long periods of time, including hydration and sleep.
Within the pack, it is important that children attain a spatial awareness of both themselves and others around them. The physical activities are designed to use both external objects and body parts in a safe and coordinated manner.
Relating music to maths is very significant and the activities within the packs highlight moments for correct use of language, counting and rhythm creation.
Describing and comparing lengths, heights, mass and time will occur as the pupils are introduced to ‘rhythm’ and the different musical instruments. They will also learn to sequence events in chronological order as they compare the story to the music, and when partaking in discussions. In all aspects of the course, whether talking about comparing instrument sizes and shape, or creating rhythmic patterns, the children will be asked to voice or demonstrate their opinions. Much of this can take form using mathematical language and the use of untuned instruments or body parts to communicate their discoveries. For example, a crescendo has a triangular shape; when you roll up the flute activity sheet it becomes a cylinder – in this exercise the children will turn a 2D shape into a 3D shape. When acting out movements in the lessons, the teacher should describe the actions. For example, in the conducting lesson, the children will perform the actions to conduct in three beats – they will make a right angle in the process. Questioning is provided for the teacher in relation to developing these skills. Assessment sheets during the ‘rhythm’ lesson also touch on position and direction, employing ‘non-verbal reasoning’ skills.
Basic reading and writing of numbers (in words and numerals) is explored throughout the programme, as well as counting of the beats, instruments and basic adding/subtracting.
The pack covers all aspects of the KS1 Music course from 2013: performing skills, composing skills, appraising skills, and how to listen and apply knowledge/musical understanding. Learning the music curriculum through the methods in this pack will help to develop memory, coordination, creativity, concentration, confidence, collaboration, comprehension, individual work, and communication.
There are three sections that come under performing skills: the children will learn to use their voices expressively through songs chants and rhymes. They will play with tuned and untuned instruments, and they will rehearse and perform with others. In every single lesson there are activities that help the children to build on their communication skills by using their voices expressively. In the first lesson, they will be introduced to ‘the Prince’s song’. This song details the Prince’s yearning to go on his adventure to the moon. At first, this will be sung quietly and slowly (with actions) so that the children can become familiar with the song. Then it will be sung louder and with the music as accompaniment so that the children can keep in time with the rhythm and be heard above the music. When learning about instruments and symbols, the class will be introduced to a new poem about the feature being learned. At first the teacher will read the poem to the class – the class can then repeat the poem line by line (x4 lines per poem) with actions that describe each line. In instrument lessons, the children will also use their voices to mimic sounds of pitch the instruments create. In symbol lessons there are opportunities to use their voices to demonstrate volume and pitch. When learning about the time signature of the music, they will chant the numbers of the beats along with the music and demonstrate with their voices that certain numbers should be said loudly and others to be said softer in order to keep in time. When learning about the instruments and symbols in Voyage to the Moon, the children will be given chances to play with tuned and untuned instruments to demonstrate rhythm, pitch and volume. These exercises will be repeated to give children the chance to improve on their coordination with increasing confidence. In instrument lessons, if there are tuned instruments available in the school then they may be used to aid lessons and give children a chance to discover their sounds and features. Otherwise, we provide activity sheets of the instrument that can be cut out and used to demonstrate playing positions. There are also video/picture/sound resources so that the children can understand the concepts of the instrument and how it would sound. There are instructions within the summaries on how tuned instruments can be used if they are available (e.g. a piano or chime bars) There will be opportunities for children to be split into groups to create specific rhythms together by using untuned instruments, or body movements e.g. clapping to the music. In every lesson, they will practice exercises in unison. Sometimes they will be split into smaller groups so that the teacher can assess their development, and to give children the chance to learn from each other. They will practice becoming the different players in the orchestra together. In the cello lesson, the class will be split into pairs – one member will become a cello and the other will be a cellist – they will work together to perform the correct actions of playing a cello and create sounds using their voices to reflect the sound of the cello.
Using untuned instruments, vocal sounds and their bodies, the children will create musical patterns that are set by the teacher. In order to develop this skill, the teacher can invite children to create their own rhythms using the same techniques that they have been learning. In the lesson on notation, the children will have the opportunity to recreate the tune of the chorus on chime bars or on the piano – they can then use the same notes to make a different tune or a different rhythm. They can use objects around the classroom to mimic sounds they have been exploring and relate them to the music. There are many chances to organise sounds and musical ideas through various activities in the lessons. These may be explored verbally, using pictures or by completing the activity sheets and will help to develop comprehensive skills.
To help develop concentration and memory, exercises that teach the children about symbols and instruments are repeated. However, the repetitions change to keep children focused. For example, when learning about the time signature, the first exercise may have the children clap to the rhythm. When the exercise is repeated, the teacher may add numbers to the beats, then words, then song, untuned instruments and finally music. This way, the children are constantly building on a skill, but without allowing room for boredom. The teacher can allow students who are getting restless to come up with concepts of their own that the class can copy. Through the methods explored in the instrument lessons, the children will constantly increase their aural memory and learn to notice differences in sound when new instruments begin to play in the music. Through instrument and symbol lessons, the class will learn how to group and organise various musical elements. They will learn how to spot different features as the music plays. The music is split into sections for each lesson so that the children can easily learn about the musical elements. Responses can be measured by making different sounds with their voices or bodies, and also with pictures – for example, in a dynamic lesson, the music will play and the children will have to hold up a sheet with a Piano (soft) or Forte (loud) sign when the volume corresponds. Finally, the children will be taught and asked about the different purposes of music and encouraged to volunteer information about where they hear different music e.g. at the theatre, at home, on the radio etc.
In every single lesson, the children will be encouraged to explore and express their opinions and ideas about the music. This will be done in a variety of ways. As explained in the Physical Education section of our curriculum links, the class will use a variety of movement and dance to express features in the music. They will also be taught the correct musical terms (set out in the ‘key words’ section of each lesson) and encouraged to use them in context. These words will be taught in a child-friendly fashion – instruments and symbols have their own characters e.g. Freddy the French Horn, and are accompanied by a descriptive poem that will help the children to remember them and place them when appropriate. At the beginning of each lesson, the teacher will review the content previously learned, giving children the chance to refresh their knowledge and volunteer information. The activity sheets at the end of the lesson will help them to review what has just been learned, and let the teacher assess development.
Through different physical exercises, the children will learn various actions and movements in relation to music and vocabulary that they will perform and improve on constantly. This will help them to build on their coordination and memory skills. The pack hopes to teach them about spatial awareness and to value and copy the actions of their classmates – each child will have the chance to choreograph actions for the rest of the class to perform, as well as performing those demonstrated by the teacher. They will learn about their own bodies and how musicians keep healthy and fit to play a certain part in the orchestra.
In each lesson on an instrument or symbol, the class will be taught actions, which are then put into practice through many activities. These will be repeated throughout the pack to increase control and coordination. For example, in an instrument lesson, the class will learn the correct movements for playing an instrument and will then have to perform these actions in groups or individually. In a rhythm lesson, the children will learn to move to a rhythm, conduct to a rhythm or clap in time to a beat. They may have to then perform a previously learned instrument action in time to the music. In this way, they are constantly aware of what has already been learned and applying it to a new feature of the music. This way they are constantly evaluating and improving their performance
The pack gives the children a chance to use movement imaginatively by creating their own movements to reflect features in the music. For example, in lessons on dynamics, the teacher will ask the children to act and move around as an animal that reflects the sound they are listening to in the music (for example, a ‘loud’ animal in the ‘Forte’ lesson). Once the children have performed their own animal, individuals can be selected to lead the rest of the class to imitate their own choice of animal. Other ‘moving’ tasks will have the children perform basic skills such as travelling, pausing, or creating shapes as a response to music or descriptions about features in the music. The class will explore how to move when the rhythm of the music changes, or when instructed to by the teacher using visual prompts.
The children will be taught what the different players in the orchestra must do in order to be fit to play their instrument or to stand for long periods of time to conduct the orchestra. After the children have performed the actions themselves, the teacher (to assess) can ask the children the effect an exercise has had on their bodies. The children will also learn the basics of how to be physically fit to perform orchestral roles e.g. drinking lots of water, or eating the right amount of food.
Art and design allows the teacher to assess pupil understanding of the lesson content. Their designs can communicate what they have learned about music in general and gives them a way to express their creativity.
Through the activity sheets, the children can draw, colour and create instruments. They can add features to existing instruments and symbols to give them moods. For example, on the crescendo activity sheet, they can create their own Crescendo Croc – give it teeth, make it angry, happy etc. The teacher should then ask why the child has portrayed the symbol in his or her way. After learning about the different instruments, they have the opportunity to draw their own instrument. They should explain how it is held and played and put it in a family group or pick a new group.
Teachers can choose to develop art and design techniques by creating activities based on those provided. For example, instead of creating a ‘rocket puzzle’, pupils can create a 3-D rocket using a range of everyday materials (boxes, milk cartons, etc.). They can also invite discussions about different ways of building and designing, allowing stimulation for imagination and creativity.
The KS1 Science curriculum teaches children the value of planning & presenting evidence, variation, the properties of materials and various physical processes. Each of these features will be introduced when learning music through Voyage to the Moon, in varying depths. Learning in this way, the children will explore the instruments, symbols and composer through activities within the pack. These will help to develop communication, comprehension and memory skills both in the classroom and further this development by relating ideas to home life.
Different animals are explored through discussion in relation to ‘sound’ – loudness, pitch, and tone. Pupils will discuss information they know to describe the sounds made by these animals in various situations. They will then analyse why these sounds are created. Humans and the human body will be explored throughout the second half of the programme. Labelling the different body parts and discussing why they are required in relation to performance, playing certain musical instruments, and conducting.
Instruments can be grouped into ‘families’. Instruments within each family are made from common materials. For example, the cello and violin are from the String Family. They are both made from wood, and are played by plucking strings. The pupils will explore similarities and differences between instruments in families, to understand why size and materials contribute to pitch, loudness and timbre.
The pack provides a great opportunity to teach children how to recognise similarities and differences between themselves and others, and how to treat others with sensitivity. This is done in a few ways: Firstly, when learning about the instruments, the children will learn that each musician has a different body skill to play their instrument (steady hands, a loud voice, strong breathing technique etc.). The children will have chances to compare the techniques and decide what they like best. They will have chances to view their classmates individually and in groups to see how others perform the tasks. Secondly, when working in small groups of two or three, the teacher can place shy and confident children in the same group and give each child an equal part to play in the presenting process. An example of this is in a rhythm lesson, when three children must play untuned instruments together to represent the number of beats in a bar. The teacher can then ask the children questions (there are examples in lesson summaries) that help them understand the differences and similarities in technique between each child. Each child therefore has a chance to learn from others and build on their own skills.
The pack aims to teach children an introduction to planning – they can learn to ask their own questions, use prior knowledge to answer questions, and then use this information to present and evaluate evidence. In each lesson there are pictures that are there for the teacher to use to prompt the children to ask and answer questions. The teacher can teach the children how to do this by starting the lessons with their own questions and leave room for more to be discovered and asked. In each lesson summary there is an outline of how to help the children to develop this skill. An example of an activity that allows children to use sources to answer questions is our YouTube activity – the class is given an activity sheet with pictures on that they have to circle, and a choice of three YouTube videos to find the answers from – it is a basic visual comprehension. Some lessons will have the children put into groups where they will work together to communicate what happened by deciphering what they see on picture pages and then present this to the rest of the class – this can be done verbally, by drawing etc. The class can then use the evidence presented by their classmates to initiate a discussion and give the other children a chance to voice their opinions and compare answers to ideas they may have.
Both in school and at home, doing research to further understanding of learned concepts is vital for children. Sustaining an interest in ‘wanting-to-know-more’ about surroundings should be encouraged and can start in the classroom. There are many methods throughout the pack that will help the children to discover and develop ideas, and is a great way to provide them with an understanding of this skill for the future. Looking at resources to gather information is great for both shy and confident children, and presenting or sharing findings can help the former grow into the latter.
In some instances, they may be put into groups and given resources that will help them make new observations that will later be shared. This exercise gives them a chance to think comprehensively. Activities such as the YouTube activity (one in each instrument lesson) will give the children a chance to select from and add to information they have retrieved from the Internet and document their findings on the activity sheets provided. They can continue these exercises at home if the teacher wishes to give out homework.
The children can review resources individually or in groups. The group work allows them to build on ideas together. Once the children have had a chance to study new resources, they are encouraged to present their findings to the rest of the class. This way, the class are taught to listen to their peers and learn from their information.
The children will be introduced to videos, pictures, sounds and texts on the composer, instruments, symbols and the Voyage to the Moon story. This will help them to gather information that they need to understand the lesson material and answer questions posed by the teacher.
Basic geographical themes are explored within the programme. During lesson 5, the pupils will be introduced to Jacques Offenbach, the composer of the music. Offenbach lived in France, and so questioning is provided for the teacher to introduce a discussion about France. The relationship between the ‘Moon’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Sun’ will also be explored in a discussion on ‘Space’ during lesson 1. Research projects into instruments can include a history of that instrument, and it’s geographical evolution.
As many musical words (symbols) are Italian, the teacher can explain this and encourage children who speak second languages to volunteer the word in their own language. The teacher should explain when a key word is in Italian and have the children repeat both the Italian and English form – if a word is written in Italian, it is explained in the key vocabulary section of each lesson.
Building on children’s communication and language is a central focus to the teacher’s pack. Throughout the classes, there are opportunities for the children to build on these skills through enjoyable activities. The most important part is ensuring a cohesive environment, which is evident throughout the course. All sections of the English syllabus are evident throughout the pack.
Instruments and symbols are introduced as characters with their own poems. Some of these poems can be described using actions that help the child understand the character. The poems help children to understand the manners and emotions of the character e.g. Crescendo Croc, who is like a crocodile, starts off quietly lurking in the water and then snaps loudly! Children are given the chance to express their preferences between different instruments and symbols and explain the reasons for these. This will be approached in a verbal and physical manner.
In each lesson, the teacher will engage the class through poems, stories and videos about features within the music to help retain concentration. To help the children identify and respond to sound patterns in the poems, the teacher can leave out a rhyming word and perform an action that describes it to prompt the children to guess the correct answer. These interactive methods will retain focus and enable constructive distractions with room for questions, that in turn relate back into topical conversation. When the children are filling in activity sheets at the end of a lesson, the teacher can go around and ask them questions about the topic to assess their understanding.
In the Lesson: Literature: The literature explored throughout the programme follows a comprehension-based learning journey. This begins in lesson 1 where the pupils are first introduced to Prince Caprice, the main character from the Voyage to the Moon music/story. To help him get to the moon, students will uncover a range of characters, events and musical terminology, explored through a range of texts. These aim to build confidence and enthusiasm in reading for pleasure, a range of analytical skills and a growing sense of familiarity of vocabulary. This is achieved through discussions, linking events and themes to own experiences, and repetition of texts to ensure familiarity. Musical Terminology: Musical terminology is introduced through the literature. It is then explored through listening to the music, providing opportunity to analyse the tone and features of the music in correlation with elements of the literature. Connecting events from the story with sections of the music seeks to build chronological understanding. Each musical feature is introduced through a character and a poem that highlights its’ qualities. These are then explored in more depth through discussion and performance. Musical themes of each lesson correspond with a non-musical theme, allowing pupils to connect personal experiences to ideas presented within music. Assessment: Assessment and homework seeks to help children evaluate and explain their understanding of the literature. Discussions provide opportunity for pupils to listen to each other and build a growing respect for each other.
In the lesson: In every lesson, students will be given the opportunity to build on their ‘word reading’ skills through a variety of activities, and texts designed to ensure fluency when building phonic knowledge. Different forms of text are combined with actions and songs, allowing speedier and more accurate reading responses. Different types of texts that will be explored contain many forms of words (e.g. words with contractions), adhering the curriculum standards. Assessment: Each lesson comes with assessment sheets. These sheets have an emphasis on picture-word recognition, of both musical and non-musical concepts. These will help the pupils develop confidence in reading, whilst strengthening their reading and English language skills. Questioning is provided for the teachers so that they can assess and help develop reading skills in each lesson.
When the teacher introduces new key vocabulary, the class will repeat the new word and poem describing the word with the class. Questions that are posed during the classes will give each child the chance to speak confidently in groups and independently about a given topic. In certain exercises, children will speak in front of the group, either answering teacher questions or explaining what they see in a picture, or hear in a piece of music – these resources will keep them focused on the main points.
Transcription: Assessment and homework activity sheets provide pupils with the opportunity to write and build upon their spelling and handwriting skills. Again there is an emphasis on picture-word recognition, linking writing activities to reading and comprehension. Composition: Discussions within class, assessment sheets and homework aim to encourage well-planned composition work. For example, after learning that Prince Caprice is going to the Moon, a discussion about ‘packing’ for a trip will take place. Pupils will then explore this further in their homework, writing examples of what they would pack if they were leaving for the Moon. Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation: (see transcription above: vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are developed through these activities). When introducing the composer and the story, the teacher should use words and phrases relating to the passing of time (for example, before, after, a long time ago, past). There are verbal exercises in various lessons that will give children a chance to use the same vocabulary when relating to what happened in the past. When recapping a previous class, the teacher can give a statement e.g. “we learned about the Violin last week” and then ask questions such as “when did we learn about the Violin”, prompting children to provide answers such as “last week” – in this way, the level of concentration can be assessed.
The Voyage to the Moon music and storyline was created over 100 years ago. The instruments and symbols learned within the lessons originated thousands of years ago and are still relevant today. These concepts are imperative to impress upon the children in a basic form, and through the lessons their comprehensiveness of musical history can be developed. The concept of going to the Moon was explored in this story – a hundred years before anything was ever sent to the Moon from Earth. The children should be encouraged to discuss these ideas throughout the lessons to make links between old and new ideas and to bring an element of variety and background to music. This will help to increase concentration, and creativity to imagine what could happen in the future.
Nowadays there are many different forms of music that are popular and well known. The teacher can prompt a discussion that allows the children to talk about the music they listen to now. Before the invention of the radio, you would have to be at a live performance to hear music. The teacher can invite the children to talk about ways you can listen to music today. By looking at the life of Offenbach, the children can compare what activities they do in their spare time at home, with the ones he did when he was younger. You can compare time periods; for example, we can still go to concerts today but a hundred years ago, nobody had an iPod or a television. In the lesson on Offenbach, the children will work in small groups and present information about his life to the class.
Even though PSHE is no longer part of the KS1 curriculum, we believe that it is extremely important to develop these skills through the pack. Building on confidence and internal development is a critical feature in the learning activities within the pack. The music and activities encourage expression, which is communicated in a variety of ways. It is also important for the class to respect and understand the backgrounds of their peers, especially those that differ to their own.
All of the activities within the pack aim to engage the children and give them a chance to discover their preferences. These interactive methods are in place to inspire confidence. Children are given the chance to express their preferences between different instruments and symbols and explain the reasons for these. This will be approached in a verbal and physical manner so that their opinions can be understood. They are asked to relate their own situations to the characters they learn about in the lessons and so they have time to reflect on themselves and learn. The routines of the lessons encourage children to communicate their emotions: these are seen through physical and creative activities. As there are different roles and opportunities to volunteer, the children are taught the significance of sharing and listening while others communicate.
The packs encourage a cohesive environment where children work together on mini-activities, or praise each other for their work. In some physical activities, the teacher may call on individual volunteers to create a pattern or movement for the rest of the class to imitate, thereby teaching the class to value each other’s opinions. When teaching the relationships between instrument families, the children will be asked to recount their experiences with similar family members in front of other class members. One of the homework activities invites children to bring in music they listen to at home with their family, which the teachers can play during Activity Sheet time so that the children learn about each other’s home cultures.
As mentioned under English, there are many opportunities throughout the pack for children to work together in groups. When learning about the conductor, they learn that one man stands at the front of the orchestra and helps them to keep in time – this is why the music is beautiful. Without a conductor then there would be chaos. This theme can also be used in a discussion of what a class would be like without a teacher, or what home life would be like without supervision etc.
How classical music teaches our children crucial life-skills – and it is never too young to start.
My eldest daughter was still in my tummy when I introduced her to classical music.
As a training pianist at university I played the piano for 8 hours a day – a solitary activity. This all changed when no children became one, then one child turned into two, and then two into three. I suddenly had a new focus: “Music with Mummy”. As parents, we want to pass on any and all knowledge that can benefit our children. Music was my life and I wanted it to be a part of theirs too. I brought them into my world, introducing pieces of classical music to them in the same way they discovered nursery rhymes, fairytales and other literary adventures.
After my third daughter was born, I had some ‘me-time’ during a hospital recovery where I decided it was time to write up a formula for teaching classical music to children – or, the ‘ABC’ of music. “Music with Mummy” became “Music with Mrs Musry”, when the girls’ headteacher invited me to teach my method at the school, and is now known as “Kids Classics”, where I teach Classical Appreciation classes to 60 children every week, or “SymbolSmash”, the programme that lets others teach in this way.
The Benefits of Learning Through Classical Music
Type this into Google if you would like to read many, many psychological studies. I will not bore you with these. 20 years of assessing my own students has revealed a more in-depth, non-health related list of why it is important for children to learn through classical music (keeping in mind that the main aim of my method is to provide children with a solid foundation of musical knowledge from the beginning). Here are my top five:
The children are essentially developing skills that they will use throughout their lives, whether they become a musician or pursue any other chosen career. Collaboration, critical thinking, a respect for your peers (I could go on-and-on!) — the list of benefits is endless and inspiring.
‘Catch ‘em Young’
My most important task is to ‘catch ‘em young’. As long as a child enjoys music, they can reap the benefits of classical music. I am sure you will all agree that our young children absorb so quickly. We take our children to ballet and other extracurriculars from such an early age because we want them to learn, form interests and develop. Michael Phelps, UCLA biophysicist says that, “if we teach our children early enough, it will affect the organisation, or ‘wiring,’ of their brains”. If we can teach our children to develop skills through classical music, maybe we are ‘wiring’ their brains for the future. Therefore, if they need to confidently deliver presentations at university, decipher ‘patterns’ in maths in the same way a ‘rhythm’ works in music, or maybe just find their voice and express themselves, they can do so.
Studies provide evidence that children under 5 years old show no preference between popular versus classical music. This is why I focus on teaching children aged 2-5 years old and why catching ‘em young is key.
I love working with children this age – they see so much more than we do. Their storybooks are still filled with pictures and their rooms are filled with toys. Understanding classical music allows them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’, to use their imaginations, to connect concepts they are learning about in school with the world of creativity. It allows them to develop new skills, both musical and otherwise, which will bare relevance throughout their lives.
Marion Musry has been teaching music and working with children for over 20 years. Marion realised her love of teaching very early on while still studying music herself.
At the age of fifteen she began teaching Piano both to children and advanced adults. Over time, this evolved into general music appreciation. She found that her own children were fascinated by her singing and playing the Piano. She introduced them to short excerpts of classical pieces which they loved joining in.
She began teaching Classical Appreciation through her own business, Kids Classics.
Marion decided to build SymbolSmash as her dream is to teach as many children as possible how to love and enjoy Classical Music.
Marion has played the piano since the age of 3, attended the Purcell School of Music, and studied Piano Performance at the Guidhall School of Music.
Hayley combines her interests of music, business and ed-tech through her work at SymbolSmash. She has a BA honours from the University of Leeds for business and entrepreneurship, and a GDL. After university she worked as a Digital Strategist, advising companies on expansion through digital platforms.
Spending most of her early years learning piano, she stopped having formal lessons by the age of 11, but continued to play for pleasure. She played everyday and discovered a newfound love for music. This led to her teaching piano students who were becoming dispassionate about music.
She has taught piano and music appreciation for 10 years in her spare time. Through teaching music Hayley found a love for composition and has built up a repertoire of songs, which she has composed for SymbolSmash and other clients.
Her role as Managing Director comprises of brand management, strategic direction and content production, and management of the SymbolSmash team.
Jordan Lee Davis
Decca (Universal Music)
We combine our skill sets to ensure excellence in the products we produce.
We believe that our packs must benefit everyone within a school and strive to make teaching and learning through music an incredible adventure for all.
The Free Trial provides users with a whole lesson for free. It will provide excerpts from all other resource tabs such as the song library and assembly script. The Free Trial lasts for 30 days.
Yes they are. Nursery and Reception both follow the EYFS, Year 1 and 2 following KS1, and therefore have similar elements. However, they are 4 separate programmes with variable teaching content.
No musical experience is required! You will be guided through all stages of the programme in our step-by-step lesson preparation.
Nursery and Reception programmes are each £225 ex VAT, with a 10% discount upon purchase of both.
You will need a variety of untuned (or percussion) instruments, such as drums or bells.
Yes – this is excellent supplementary material for music teachers. The content is adaptable and can fit into their curriculum easily.
The content within each pack has been written in accordance with the guidelines set by the National Curriculum for England & Wales.