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Autumn Exam Success


Congratulations to all our pupils who have taken music exams this half term.


ABRSM music medals exams are completed in our lesson time, with a video sent to the exam board to assess. Pupils prepare two pieces (a duet and a solo piece with piano accompaniment) and complete a musicianship test. Lexie and Isobelle have passed their copper level clarinet. They're both making brilliant progress, remembering to tongue notes and now sight reading pieces that would have taken weeks to learn a year ago. Leila has just completed her bronze level violin with lovely tone and tuning, a brilliant achievement in year 4. Next step, ABRSM initial grade!  


Some exam boards are still offering exams at their centres. However, with so many uncertainties we've been more comfortable taking 'fake' exams in school with myself as examiner. Daniel has worked really hard to complete an exam with similar requirements to Trinity initial level piano. He learnt 3 pieces of music, 3 exercises and completed scales, sight reading and aural tests. I was particularly impressed by his use of dynamics to build character in each piece. Congratulations Daniel - next step ABRSM grade 1!

Beech class harvest song

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I've been really enjoying teaching Beech class on Monday afternoons. In particular it's been great getting out into our school's amazing outdoor areas to sing. We've been learning 'Oats and Beans and Barley Grow'. Unfortunately technology failed us and the file corrupted for the recording of our final performance. Learning point: always check a video has copied correctly onto your computer before you delete them off the camera! Fortunately I still had an earlier recording we made to evaluate before improving our performance. It's not as sleek as our final take, but you can see the fun we've had.

Ashfield Music Instrumental Lessons


Please find two letters uploaded below for 

1. children wanting to start a new instrument (or if they already play an instrument but wish to switch to a different instrument)

2. children wishing to continue their lessons


If your child is in Year 3 I will be introducing them to all the instruments in their class music lesson on Monday afternoon: it may be worth waiting until after school Monday to decide! Watching our online concert is another good way to decide upon an instrument:

Please reply by 9am Wednesday 16th September at the latest. You can either complete our google form here: or print out the reply slip to return to school, or if you don't have a printer write down the details onto a piece of paper.




Please do not send any money now. Lesson fees are paid at the start of each term, but you will be invoiced by the office through teachers2parents.


If your child receives pupil premium the school will pay for their lessons on one instrument. A second instrument is £20 per term. (This will be done automatically, but you can make a note of it on your reply slip if preferred.)


Children in KS1 are able to sign up for lessons, but think carefully about if your child is ready. They generally make slower progress in the space of a year than older pupils- this is fine, an earlier start allows them to broaden their musicianship and it's not a race. However it can put pupils off if their expectations are high and they compare themselves against older children. 


Don't worry if you haven't organised an instrument/tuition book for the first lesson, we understand that with signing up in September rather than the usual July everything is on a much tighter schedule than normal.


Just to stress again: please do not buy an instrument without consulting our guidance letter (attached below) or contacting us directly first. There are many temptingly cheap but badly made new instruments, or unbeknownst to you broken second hand instruments that do not function adequately even for a complete beginner. Having to then replace them or pay a specialist for repairs can make them incredibly bad value for money.


My email is if you have any questions.

Mrs Wilson

Instrument Purchase Recommendations

Summer Music Concert

Our summer 2020 online music concert is now live here:

Summer 2020 Music Challenge


Hello everyone, can you master our summer music challenge? It's the cup song! It would be amazing if you could learn some of the cup pattern or perhaps even master all of it and sing along. (This is a good one to learn outside whilst enjoying this lovely weather!) We'd love it if you could send us a video recording of your performance to include in our summer online music concert. 


In case you've not seen the original it's demonstrated here by Anna Kendrick (there's a long introduction, the song starts after 1 minute 15 seconds): 

There’s another fun version here:

The music teacher in me cannot fail to inform you that the cups form an ‘ostinato’ (a repeating musical pattern often used as an accompaniment)!


I’ve recorded instructions here:

Use a plastic or bamboo cup/beaker that cannot be smashed – not glass or ceramic! Bigger and heavier cups are easier to manipulate and make a better sound. I'm using a bamboo reusable coffee cup. Check with an adult that the table/surface you are using will not be damaged.


I would love to see videos of your performances. You could record the first section or the full cup pattern. I wonder if anyone will be able to master humming or singing whilst doing the cup pattern? Perhaps you could create your own version of the cup song, or include other members of your household?  Please email your videos to me: so they can be included in our online summer music concert (please visit  for our dedicated summer music concert page) 


Deadline is Monday 13th July.


These are written instructions:


Clap clap.

Hit table 123.

Clap. Pick up.

Put down.

Clap. Pick up with left hand (hand ‘upside down’, turning cup to right side up).

Hit top with right hand. Hit bottom onto table.

Pass into right hand (hand ‘upside down’, turning cup to upside down). Left hand on table.

Cup on table.


These are the lyrics:


I got my ticket for the long way 'round
two bottle 'a pepsi for the way and I
sure would like some sweet company and I’m
leaving tomorrow, wha-do-ya say?

When I'm gone
When I'm gone
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone
You're gonna miss me by my hair
You're gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone

I've got my ticket for the long way 'round
The one with the prettiest of views
It's got mountains, it's got rivers, it's got sights to give you shivers
But it sure would be prettier with you

When I'm gone
When I'm gone
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone
You're gonna miss me by my walk
You're gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone


If you enjoy the cup song ‘kaboom percussion’ on youtube have lots of alternative cup patterns you could try:



Mrs Wilson

Music Exam Success


Congratulations Ben for completing all aspects required for your Trinity College London initial grade piano exam. As in person exams are not currently available we conducted an equivalent exam during our online lesson. Ben has put in many hours of practice and made amazing progress, it's hard to believe he only started piano lessons in September.   

Further Music Home Learning Links This programme offers digital curriculum music lessons, listening tasks and instrumental play along tracks. You need an individual login to access the resources, please email Mrs Wilson: to request a login – NYCOS – the National Youth Choir of Scotland are posting regular songs and singing games for various age groups on their facebook page. There's lots of fun cup songs! – Games to help learn musical terms and note names. – Short videos introducing every instrument of the orchestra and demonstrating how it sounds. – For those that have access to an instrument at home this site has lots of resources to help learn a song. There are also short lessons included in the ‘Take a lesson’ section. In the ‘games’ section students can have a go at drumming and building a beat. – Type ‘Groove pizza’ into google and this website will pop up. It allows students to create different drum beats in different styles. They can change their beats by altering the number of slices, the tempo and other functions by changing the controls in the bottom left corner. create a town on your map - as your car drives past different objects it creates different sounds. Can you change the pitch or timbre? Adding further cars increases the texture. (Requires Adobe Flash Player so may not work on all computers.)

Music Lesson Videos


I've started recording music lesson videos to share with you whilst we can't meet in person. A very strange experience recording these without an audience, but I hope they make you smile!


The first includes our usual vocal warm ups and then some silly songs:


The second covers our rhythm work using "walk, skate and running". Towards the end it will become a little complex for younger children, but the beginning can be enjoyed by all:


You could continue the rhythm lesson by writing down your own rhythm patterns.

- If you play an instrument you could decide which pitch you would like for each note and then perform your composition.

- Perhaps you could include a time signature and do the maths to make sure your rhythm adds up to that number of beats in your bar? (For time signatures the number at the top is the number of beats in the bar, the number at the bottom tells us what type of beats - as we're counting in crotchets it's always 4 for now.

So 3 would be 3 crotchet beats in a bar. 4 would be 4 crotchet beats in a bar. )

    4                                                         4

- You could extend your composition by adding a bar line, then writing another bar of music.

- You could input your composition into the free music notation software 'musescore'. Listen to it played back, evaluate and think about if it could be improved. (Please scan further down page to "music links that can be explored at home" for further information about musescore.)


If you do write any music it would be great to see your compositions, you can email me here:  Happy composing!

Online music teaching and exam success


Congratulations to all pupils who are continuing to enjoy playing their instruments, either independently or through online lessons. I have really enjoyed teaching so many of you online and hearing your progress each week.


Many pupils were planning to take exams this term. In place of these I have offered to hold unofficial exams during our online lessons, with myself as examiner. Hattie has been the first pupil to complete an exam: she has passed (the equivalent of) ABRSM flute copper music medal award. She has a rich, beautiful tone and showed amazing musicianship playing in time with recorded accompaniments (this is much harder than playing in the same room as a teacher who can respond to you). Congratulations Hattie!   

Music links that can be explored at home


Disclaimer: We can take no responsibility for the content of external websites. 



Musical Prodigies has a compilation of music lessons to watch free on youtube:


"Yolanda’s Band Jam" is brilliant at introducing musical vocabulary, instruments and styles:


Cbeebies proms offer a good introduction to the orchestra:


Nick Cope, children’s songwriter, has been uploading free afternoon ‘concerts’:


Folk duo 'Megson' recorded a free family folk show on facebook: (you don't need a facebook account to view)



BBC ‘10 pieces’ series features classical music videos introduced by famous television presenters. My favourites are the original 10 pieces at the bottom of the list:


BBC bitesize KS2 music offer videos explaining different musical vocabulary:


Mylene Klass is offering an online music class via youtube videos:


To recap how to read treble clef:


Practise walk (1 beat crotchets), running (1/2 beat quavers) and skate (2 beat minims) rhythms:


Musiclab has lots of online music programmes. Song maker is great for experimenting with varying levels of texture within a simple repeating (ostinato) pattern:


You can download music standard notation software musescore free of charge to create your own compositions: For children who’ve not used it with me in lessons yet it’s fairly intuitive to use. To enter new notes make sure the N button is pressed in top left corner, choose note length (default is crochet/walk/1 beat note) then hover over the stave (musical ladder) and click where you’d like the note to go. Then move right in the stave to enter your next note. If you make a mistake you can click file then undo (or Ctrl Z). 




‘Out of the Ark’ and ‘SingUp’ have a few online songs to access:


My email is if you need any help.

Thanks, Mrs Wilson

Online Instrumental Lessons during School Closures


Summer term online lessons will be available at the usual price of £40 for violin/flute/clarinet and £50 for piano per term. This guarantees you a minimum of 10 weekly 10min 1:1 online lessons. Pupils who receive pupil premium are still free of charge. Lessons will be held using google hangouts (all pupils already have an email address to be able to access this). 


Please email to book lessons. 


Alternatively, please email for written support such as suggestions of new music to learn, youtube videos that might help, or to send me videos of you performing so I can offer advice and next steps.


I'm looking forward to when I can teach you all again! Thanks, Mrs Wilson

Latest Music News:

ABRSM Music Medal Exams


Congratulations to Sophie, Charlotte and Callum for passing their ABRSM music medal exams. They have achieved copper level flute (Sophie) and bronze level violin (Charlotte and Callum). To take these exams pupils are video recorded performing 2 pieces and taking a musicianship test. ABRSM then moderate the results and send a certificate, feedback sheet and a 'music medal' pin badge. 

Spring Term Curriculum Music - 1st half term


In Reception this term we’ve been exploring wintery music. We’ve enjoyed singing, joining in with actions, using rhyming words to continue songs and using percussion instruments to create accompaniments and wintry compositions. The songs we explored included:

“Jack Frost is very small, I think he’s here today. He nips at our nose and nips at our toes, when we go out to play”

“The cold wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will the robin do then, poor thing? He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.”

“This winter we’re gonna have snow. This winter we’re gonna have snow. And it will fall. And it will fall. All over this land.”

In our final lesson we all tried playing C chords on the ukulele for the song: “Snow is falling, snow is falling. On the ground. On the ground. A cold wind is blowing. A cold wind is blowing. All around. All around.” (to the melody of Frere Jacques)


In Year One we listened to Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. We danced and moved in ways that reflected the music, identified which piece is for which animal and composed our own ostinato patterns for each animal. We notated individual compositions for a lion hunt and performed them using percussion instruments. We’ve also enjoyed singing “a cat sat on a mat” and “I have a dog and his name is Rover”.


In Year 3 we watched Fantasia’s animation of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Dukas and thought about how the music created different moods. We tried to describe it using musical vocabulary such as ‘pitch’, ‘dynamics’, ‘texture’, ‘timbre’ and ‘tempo’. We explored composing and performing music using graphic notation and tried to graphically notate The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and then recreate it using ukuleles and percussion instruments. We then moved on to listen to ‘No Place Like Home’, one of the BBC’s 10 pieces series. We thought about the sound of Otley and worked in small groups to create our own compositions. The pupils individually evaluated these and decided the overall winners were Patrick and Stanley.


In Year 5 we have explored music linked to World War 2. We enjoyed listening to Glenn Miller and creating our own jazz improvisations on glockenspiels. We also sang the Glenn Miller inspired song “Hey Mr Miller” as a three part round. We used our ukuleles to play chords whilst singing “Daisy Daisy”, “Run Rabbit” and “You are my Sunshine”. We looked at how Morse Code could be used to create rhythmic compositions. Finally, we thought about sounds that might have been heard during WW2 and used these to inspire individual/ small group compositions. These were evaluated to see how much interest had been provided by changes in pitch, dynamics, texture, timbre and articulation. The overall winner was James.

Year One lion composition notation

P and S reduced.mp4

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Example of Beech class group composition, inspired by Otley and "no place like home" by Kerry Andrew.
Further music news continues after Music Policy.

At Ashfield we offer small group instrumental lessons for guitar, ukulele, piano, flute, clarinet and violin. These are charged at £40 per term for all instruments except piano, which is charged at £50 per term due to being taught in smaller groups of 2. All pupils are invited to perform in a school music concert or performance opportunity each term.


All pupils also have the chance to play ukulele, glockenspiel and recorder in our whole class music lessons, taught by a music specialist.


Our school has an active choir, which rehearses Tuesdays after school (this year starting in October 2019). We have sang at the Otley Victorian Fayre, Otley Christmas light switching on, Otley Christmas Tree Festival and our Family of Schools Yeadon Town Hall music concert. For the past two years we have created a music video for a Leeds choir competition.


Our school orchestra rehearses Friday lunchtimes 12:45 to 1.10. This is open to any pupils receiving lessons (within or outside of school) who are capable of reading standard notation and playing their instrument independently. Piano pupils are welcome to join us on glockenspiel. 

Autumn Term Curriculum Music - 2nd half term


In Year 2 we listened to excerpts from ‘The Nutcracker’, scored by Tchaikovsky. We watched videos of the ballet and listened to a special story book being read, which played relevant clips of music for each page. We thought about the different instruments we could hear and investigated the brass, woodwind and string families. We also revised how to notate quaver, crotchet and minim rhythms using our ‘running, walk and skate’ story. We the moved on to practising our songs ready for Christingle, thinking about how to warm up our voices and improving accuracy of pitching and appropriate timbre/dynamics for each song.


In Year 4 we continued learning how to play the recorder, using the notes G (for grip), A (for another finger) B (for both), C (for centre) and D (for drop) with some pupils perfecting the start of ‘Jingle Bells’. We also worked at a fantastic arrangement of ‘The Wassailing Song’ for our KS2 Carol concert. We worked at how to keep a steady pulse, with no rushing, listening to the backing track as we sang and performed. We all tried playing a recorder drone in time with the backing track and pupils who have instrument lessons joined in on cello, violin and guitar. Piano pupils joined in using chime bars.


Year 6 created an arrangement of ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’ for the KS2 Carol concert. All children were offered the chance to sing a solo line and we were thrilled to find 6 pupils take on this opportunity, with a further 4 pupils forming a quartet. The class then continued singing in unison whilst playing ukulele (using chords C, F and G). It is wonderful to experience their performance skills growing to a point where a fluent performance was accomplished in just 3 practices.  We then evaluated 6 different arrangements of ‘Carol of the Bells’ discussing differences in timbre, texture, dynamics, articulation, tempo, pitch, rhythm, style and structure. We decoded standard notation (writing letter names under each note) so we could play 'Carol of the Bells' on glockenspiel, with some children challenging themselves further by learning harmony parts.  

Pitch decoded and written under each note.
Notes taken to aid musical discussion

Christmas Music Performances

Thank you to all children who participated in our following music performances:


KS2 Carol Concert, in which Year 3 performed 'The First Noel', Year 4 performed 'The Wassailing Song', Year 5 performed 'We Three Kings' and Year 6 performed 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'.


The Christmas Tree Festival, at Otley Parish Church. This featured our choir and instrumentalists George (cello), Toby (clarinet), Ben and Isla (piano)


Instrumental concerts for Year 3/4 (Monday), Years 5/6 (Tuesday) and Guitarists/ukuleleists (Thursday). It was amazing to see how many of our pupils play an instrument and brilliant to hear the progress they have all made since our last concert.      


Choir sang on a stage at this year's Otley Victorian Fayre. We sang:

'Let it snow', 'Hallelujah', 'Santa's coming', 'Winter Carol', 'Rudolph the red nosed reindeer', 'Let it Snow' and

'When Santa got stuck up the chimney'. 

Autumn Term Curriculum Music - 1st half term


Year 1 have been listening to 'Peter and the Wolf'. They learned about different instruments, with live performances of the flute (bird), clarinet (clarinet) and violin (Peter). We responded as a class with our own percussion compositions for each character. 

We've also joined in the class 'space' theme. We warmed up our voices, sang our Kodaly 'do, re, mi' scale and sang 'zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon'. We used chime bars and tuned bells to play the first three notes of the song. We worked at keeping a steady beat and introduced our special 4/4 Dalcroze time signature dance.  The children used graphic notation to write space compositions using long and short sounds.

For Harvest festival the class sang "shake, shake the apple tree" with groups of percussion being added for each repeat of the song. They showed amazing self control to ensure they only played their instrument when required in the song. 


Year 3 have been learning how to record pitch using standard notation. We found out different ways of remembering the notes with lines through their heads: 'Every Good Bogey Deserves Flicking' was popular! Working with glockenspiels they composed melodies to go with rhythms derived from Egyptian topic words and then notated these onto a stave. Using the glockenspiels we also played a C major scale (happy sounding) and an A minor scale (sad sounding). We took it in turn to improvise in these keys. 

For Harvest festival the class sang "Across the Fields" as a round. Within class we also performed this with our class set of ukuleles. They did well to keep a steady beat and confidently sing whilst hearing the harmony from the second group.  


Year 5 have been learning about Samba music. We started learning different syncopated rhythms using vocal sounds, then built up texture by splitting the class into 2, then 4 parts. We did lots of games centred around keeping a steady beat, as it is tempting to speed up the tempo! We then graduated onto our school samba instruments (surdo drums, agogo bells, tambourims and shaky eggs in place of traditional ganzas). We arranged a structured composition with introduction, section A, section B and ending. As conductor I used a samba whistle to communicate when the class needed to change to the next section. 

For Harvest festival the class sang "Harvest Samba" confidently splitting into 2 groups for the harmony section.

As the class were learning about the ancient Greeks we also learned the song "Living it up in Greece".  


Examples of Year 3 compositions - using rhythms from Egyptian topic words and experimenting with pitch on a glockenspiel. 

Skylar's Missing Note KS1 Performance and Music Workshop

Silver Birch and Willow classes were very lucky to watch a performance of "Skylar's missing note". This touring music and theatre project was supported by Leeds International Piano Competition. It certainly met it's objective of introducing young children to the magic of piano. In a workshop afterwards they learned about rhythm, pulse, pitch, dynamics and more as together they composed an ending the pigeon's part of the story. We'll be following up on the project in our curriculum music lessons this term.  

wrapping rap.AVI

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storm smaller.mp4

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Heather Pollock KS2 Music Assembly


Heather Pollock, a local musician and retired doctor, visited our school this week to talk about the science of music and perform on some of her many instruments. She used pupils to represent the different parts of the ear, with coloured balls passed between them to show how sounds pass from outer ear through to our brains. She then demonstrated her many different instruments, including an African drum, panpipes, whistle, flute, violin, harp and lyre. The children particularly enjoyed it when Heather played the theme from 'Frozen' on her harp. Thank you Heather for giving up your time to play for us.

Year 6 Leavers Assembly

Well done to ukulele and guitarists who performed "Castle on the Hill" during the Year 6 leaving assembly. Great to hear so many pupils performing and singing together, welcoming such a great performance opportunity.  

Otley Chamber Orchestra Perform at Ashfield


We were so grateful to members of Otley Chamber Orchestra who volunteered their time to perform at Ashfield today. They brought a string section comprising two violins, a viola and cello and a woodwind section comprising two flutes, an oboe, a clarinet and a bassoon. They also used a pianist who helped to conduct. It was great to hear their instruments individually and as an ensemble playing classical pieces by Beethoven and Handel alongside Disney favourites such as 'the Bear Necessities' and 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'!



If you know of any choirs or musical ensembles who would like to perform for our children, please do let us know.

Ashfield Summer BBQ "Festival Stage"

Well done to instrumental pupils who performed at our "Festival Stage" during the Summer BBQ. It was exciting to hear their performances amplified through a PA system.

ABRSM Music Exams

Well done to our five pupils who took ABRSM prep test and grade 1 exams this summer term.

Well done to our instrumentalists and vocalists who performed "Big Yellow Taxi" at Otley Carnival 2019

Carnival 2019 film.mp4

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A million dreams choir assembly performance

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Ashfield School Choir - A Million Dreams

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Our first take of "A Million Dreams". We'll record it again in assembly after half term.




Harmony Blues - 2019 Leeds Singing Challenge Entry

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We're proud of how many children love to both sing and play instruments at Ashfield.

Yeadon Town Hall Concert March 2017

The whole family sang a final song together
Ashfield Orchestra
Ashfield Choir
Ashfield took part in a family of schools' concert in March 2017.  We were very proud of their performances.  It was great to have so many instrumentalists playing.