Handsworth's Musical History 

Handsworth has produced some notable popular musical acts: Steel Pulse (whose first studio album Handsworth Revolution is named after the area), Joan Armatrading, Pato Banton, Benjamin Zephaniah, Swami, Apache Indian, Ruby Turner and Bhangra group B21. In addition, hard rock band Black Sabbath's lead guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, Steve Winwood, pop singer Jamelia and progressive rock drummer Carl Palmer were born in Handsworth.


Situated in the heart of Handsworth, St Michael’s acknowledges, welcomes, and celebrates children’s cultural heritage and this is reflected in the instruments that children learn play, including the steel pans and djembe drums. We aim for children to have a firm understanding of the significance of the instrument they play and  the relationship it plays within the culture of Handsworth, while engaging and inspiring pupils to develop a love of music. 

We also believe in exposing pupils to a breadth of instruments, enabling them to gain a firm understanding of the different instrument families and how they are used to create music. Additionally, children learn about musicality through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres.

We want our pupils to understand that their voice is an instrument and they can use it in many different ways.

Key Components of our Music Curriculum 


Weekly music lessons 

Years 4, 5 and 6 are taught by peripatetic music teachers via Birmingham Music Service

EYFS, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 follow the Charanga music curriculum 

Whole-school singing weekly  

Instruments Taught


Steel pans






At St Michael’s, we use a range of approaches for the teaching of music.

Firstly, we deliver whole school assemblies where pupils are exposed to high-quality music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians. During this time, pupils are to critique music and listen with discrimination.

Additionally, in partnership with the Birmingham Music Services, and Charanga, children are taught how to play, read, compose and critiques music from specialists who deliver quality music lessons where children are given the opportunity to understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions .

Early Years 

Music is taught via the use of play and exploration. Children are taught to use their voice as a musical instrument through the use of Nursery Rhymes and songs.

Years 1, 2 and 3 

Pupils are taught to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes; play tuned and untuned instruments musically; listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music; experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music with the accompaniment  of Charanga.

Years 3, 4 and 5

With the support of the Birmingham Music Service, pupils are taught to: play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression; improvise and compose music for a range of purposes; listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory; use and understand musical notations; appreciate and understand a range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians; develop an understanding of the history of music. 


  • Our children are engaged and excited by our music curriculum.  The skills that they are taught equip them with a range of skills to enable them to appreciate music throughout their lives
  • Our children have become confident performers, composers and listeners, who are able to express themselves musically at school and beyond
  • Our children show an appreciation and respect for a range of music from a variety of genres across a variety of generations
  • Our children demonstrate and express their enthusiasm for music
  • Our children progress throughout the music curriculum which enables them to meet the expectations outlined at the end of each key stage for the national curriculum

Key Documents