Music at St Helen's Primary School

Reception will explore musical instruments and sounds through continuous provision activities. 
Singing songs together is an important part of the children's language and social development and this forms a large part of our regular daily activities. Songs and rhymes are included in both phonic and number lessons. The ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme that we follow in the Reception classes draws together actions, songs and pictures to develop understanding of the letter sounds and patterns. We also perform together as a class and as a year group and sing rehearsed songs to parents, other classes and occasionally to the whole school.

Year 1

Year 1 will spend time singing songs together, especially songs that involve movement and actions. 

They will explore sound and rhythm through singing songs and using percussion instruments. A focus 

will be on pitch and tempo.

Year 2

Year 2 will start using ‘Music Express’ and then move on to ‘Tribal Groove’, a programme which uses body percussion and dance to music. This fits in well with our Savannah theme.

                                                           Year 3

Year 3 pupils will be learning the recorder with Mrs Stafford. They will be looking at musical notation in relation to their work, listening to and appraising music and learning about the history of music. In the Spring Term Year 3 will also join with Year 4, learning a wide variety of songs for the Phase three productionEmphasis will be placed on accurate choral singing.

Year 4

Year 4 pupils will have the experience of whole class ensemble tuition (WCET). Both Year 4 classes are taught to play the flute on Monday afternoonThe flute teacher is Mr Paul McGinity, from the County Music Service. Children will be able to take their flutes home to practice regularly once the loan agreement for instruments has been completed.


In addition some Year 4 pupils also have violin or cello tuition in small groups 

with Mrs Rowe, from the County Music Service. These classes are held each Wednesday afternoon and are for children who wished to have 
paid tuition in these instruments.

Year 5

Year 5 pupils have the experience of whole class guitar tuition. Both Year 5 classes are taught on Wednesday mornings. The guitar teacher is Mr Ben Watson, from the County Music service. Children will be able to take their guitars home to practice regularly once the loan agreement for instruments has been completed.

In addition some Year 5 pupils have violin in small groups called ‘Play On’  with Mrs Janet Rowe, from the County Music Service. These ‘Play On’ groups  are held each Wednesday afternoon and are offered to those children who wished to continue learning the violin, which they started in year 4.

Year 6

Year 6 pupils will be learning to play recorders on either Tuesday or Thursday afternoon with Mrs C. Clarke. 

In addition some Year 6 children will also have continuing guitar tuition in small groups called 'Play On' with Mr. Ben Watson, from the County Music service. These 'Play On' groups are held each Wednesday morning and are offered to those children who wished to continue learning the guitar, which they started in year 5.

Other Music Tuition

St Helen's are also able to offer weekly instrument tuition with tutors from the County Music Service. There is an annual cost for this tuition which is offered individually or in very small groups to suit ability. The annual cost is presently £160, which can be paid in full or in instalments, Autumn Term £60, Spring Term £50 and Summer Term £50.00. Children receiving pupil premium funding can be offered a subsidised rate, please ask at the school office or email


Brass lessons for Years 4-6 children, 
3:30 - 4:30 Wednesday with Mr. V Taber.

Violin and cello lessons for Years 3-6 children,

Wednesday afternoons during the school day, with Mrs J Rowe.

Spaces may be available in brass (trumpet, cornet or trombone) and strings (violin or cello) from September 2016. 

Please ask at the school office or email

Regular Activities

St Helen's Primary School Orchestra (All children with necessary ability), 12:30 - 1:00 Wednesday with Mrs J. Rowe
St Helen's Primary School Choir (Audition with Mrs Clarke required ),11:45 - 12:30 Thursday with Mrs C. Clarke
Singing Stars (All Year 2 and Year 3 children welcome), 12:30 - 1:00 Friday with Mrs J. Crisp


We formed our choir in the summer of 2013.It is a group of about 30 boys and girls from year 4, 5 and 6 who are particularly talented or enthusiastic about singing. We often sing without accompaniment in unison, in harmony and in rounds. Our choice of songs from around the world reflects the multicultural makeup of St Helen's School and promote the cultural diversity of Ipswich. We enjoy singing in English, but have learned songs in languages from around the world as well. We have sung with Ipswich Orchestral Society and with the Triannon Choir and Orchestra. We performed for Ipswich Arts Association and for University Campus Suffolk, and our venues have included the Regent, the Corn Exchange, and at Snape Maltings. Please direct all choir enquiries to Mrs C. Clarke

Music Events

School Orchestra Assembly - March 2016

The school orchestra, including strings, brass and percussion, run by Mrs J Rowe,  performed to the whole school assembly. The orchestra which has 20 regular members meet every Wednesday lunchtime. Most members are presently learning an instrument in school, but children who learn an instrument out of school and are of a suitable standard, are most welcome to join and also any children with an interest and ability can join the percussion section. Please see Mrs Rowe in downstairs hall, at 12:30 on a Wednesday if interested. 

Year 4 Flute and Year 5 Guitar Showcase - March 2016

The year 4 whole class ensemble tuition (WCET) learning flute, led by Mr P McGinity and the year 5 whole class guitar tuition, led by 
Mr B Watson, showcased their achievements to date, in a short performance to the lower year children, staff and parents. Both the flutes and guitars preformed their own instrumental pieces and then impressed with a joint number including all 120 children on both instruments. They also entertained with two songs which they have learnt as part of the extra music learning, the audience particularly enjoyed the necessary 'sheep' participation.

An Evening of Music December 2015

On Tuesday 1st December, we celebrated our first "evening of music. Fifty one children were involved, taken from years 4,5 and 6.
We were able to seat an audience of 150, which included teachers, parents, governors, grandparents and the friends and family of those involved. Free tickets to the event were ordered very quickly and the children played to a full house. The music teachers had worked hard with children in the choir, the orchestra, guitar, violin and brass classes to show the talent of those who are learning in these extra curricular music lessons. The first evening of its' kind was an enjoyable occasion, full of enthusiasm and determination in the performance of music. The audience were pleased to see the high levels of competence and commitment. It was a memorable event and such a pleasure to see our children having the opportunity to shine in their musical achievements. From their work this term, we compiled a one hour programme of old and new material, solo performance, duets work in progress and the work of small groups. Our thanks go to Mr V Taber, Mrs J Rowe, Mr B Watson, Mrs A Rees and Mrs Clarke for their ongoing support. The retiring collection for Education Exchange Kenya raised £155.75 It was also a wonderful surprise for people to learn that so many of our children are involved in two, three or even more musical groups. Thanks to all who supported us.

Please see the link for information and footage of our children performing at Snape Maltings on Friday 13th March 2015