Music making has been at the heart of Clinton for decades and for good reason. It offers the opportunity for deeply rewarding aesthetic experience enhancing wellbeing, building self-esteem and confidence and bringing people together in a way that no other subject can. At Clinton our strategy for music begins with the idea of group music making and works back, to facilitate joyful participation at all levels ultimately leading to ambitious, high quality performances and opportunities to thrive.
Children sing enthusiastically in class but also in assemblies and in performances. They love two and three part songs!
Composing offers the chance to practise creativity skills as well as the chance to learn how to rehearse and perform. Learning through music also enables development of focus, perseverance, empathy, collaboration and provides instant feedback through quality of outcome, of hard work leading to something special.
Our inclusive orchestra provides a focal point for children, who see them play every Friday morning in assembly. We hope that all children strive to play in the orchestra, and that it inspires them to embrace music at their own stage in development and to match that inspiration with the focus to practise learning an instrument.
From Year R to Year 2, music is taught largely in class time, with children singing, playing percussion and composing. In Year 3, they have whole class instrumental tuition from Warwickshire Music Service for 1 hour per week, where they have, over the years, learnt saxophones, cornets and fifes – to begin their musical journeys! In Year 4 there is much more composition, whilst in Year 5 and 6 those who are doing well with their instrumental tuition rehearse with the orchestra whilst the others do a range of class music lessons learning to listen, perform and compose.
See our ‘wider curriculum’ for what more is offered beyond the classroom to enhance opportunities and experiences – including ensembles, world class musicians.
We are very proud of our orchestra at Clinton. Each Friday morning assembly we are treated to them playing a few pieces as the children walk in and then again as we all leave. It helps to set the atmosphere for the community to come together.
As well as helping to promote our ethos of togetherness, our orchestra also provides great inspiration for all children on their musical journey through school. Many of the children who start out in Clinton’s orchestra continue to flourish once they join secondary schools, with Kenilworth School’s various ensembles always well represented by ex-Clinton pupils.
All children who are musically ready to play in the orchestra get their opportunity – mainly in Years 5 and 6, though those who have learnt Suzuki Violin (because they have often started in Reception) might start in Year 4.
Our orchestra is made up of a range of instruments, including traditional orchestral instruments such as violins and flutes, but also keyboards, guitars and recorders.
We commonly hold a Spring Concert – and a ‘leavers’ concert, which provide further opportunities for our orchestra to perform.
Many of the younger children are inspired by their older peers playing, and they know that if they keep up their practise they will get their chance to be there at the front, playing to us all!
In Year 3 at Clinton, our children are all taught to play an instrument, through Warwickshire Music’s ‘Whole Class Ensemble Teaching’ programme.
Over the years, children have learnt to play cornets, saxophones and Fifes!
During the early weeks of the year, the music lessons consist of lots of rhythm and singing games and the children build up their ‘musicality’ skills so that they are ready for the challenge of playing the instrument they will be learning.
Our hope is that it provides children with enthusiasm and a good start to them then being confident to play. Once Year 3 is finished, we hope that they are keen to stick with that instrument, or feel confident enough to start playing another.
Guitar and Woodwind ensembles
We believe that the secret to getting children well on the way to a lifelong musical journey is enabling them to take part in ensembles. Our orchestra and steel pan groups ensure that, and so does, to an extent, our Upbeat programme.
More recently we have set up Guitar and Woodwind Ensemble groups, with children who have a couple of year’s learning under their belts, learning with their instrumental teacher, to play together.
These are fairly small groups, subsidised a little through school, with parents paying a couple of pounds each week.
This inspires them to practise more – and gives them the opportunity to perform, often in assembly times.
We will look to expand this programme beyond guitars and woodwind in the near future!
Each year we have been able to provide children with performances from a range of world class musicians through Leamington Music.
It is not always easy for parents to get children to maintain their practise but we feel we can help by inspiring them by tapping into Leamington Music’s offer. Over the years we have had performances from musicians from around the world, those who play instruments from centuries ago, those whose music tells stories and those who play the instruments our children aspire to master!
Leamington music put on all sorts of concerts in this region, with the musicians that children are sometimes getting the chance to hear, performing in these. If you fancy getting a little more inspiration for your children – or if you just enjoy live music, you can find what’s on here …
Children at Clinton love to sing. Any parent hearing the children in Friday community assemblies know that, from the enthusiasm it’s hard to ignore as they sing the chosen song.
Whenever we put on a play, whether that’s the Year R and KS1 Christmas play, or the Year 3 and Year 4 musical, or our play at the Talisman theatre – which Years 4-6 are responsible for, there is always plenty of singing!
In addition, we have a choir, which recently have performed in the Royal Albert Hall, as well as in Taliman Square in Kenilworth. In addition, our Year 5 singers often perform in ‘Singtastic’ events at venues such as the Warwick Arts Centre.
Year 5 in 2022 even wrote their own song for the National ‘Top of the drops’ Severn Trent competition, coming 2nd and winning £1000 worth of musical instruments!
From Year 3, children get the opportunity to play Steel Pans, and their musicality really takes off! There are opportunities to perform – often at our summer fair – or on our summers’ evening event. They have also played at the Lion’s show in years gone by, and have even busked at Waitrose!
These are learnt as ‘shared music lessons’ and children are taught by Diana, through the Steel Pan Academy.
We even have our own set of steel pans, and many of the children who have left Clinton come back and play in the adult groups, held here at Clinton.