tobin music
Accelerating music literacy
picture 1 picture 2 picture 3  
Key stage 1
Key stage 2
Key stage 3

Guidelines for using the Tobin Music System
within the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1

The Tiny Steps to Music can be started or continued into the KS1 curriculum. The book is accompanied by the Teacher's Manual and a tape of songs to make the life easier for the teacher. You can be sure that by following the suggested plans you are giving the children a thorough and progressive start to music.

No written words are used throughout the book - the pictures themselves are self-explanatory. The advantages of using colour are numerous; for instance the child thoroughly enjoys the activity and is happy to repeat a skill which needs to be practised and the teacher can see that if a page has not been coloured, the child was not present at that particular lesson. Also the children have attractive books which they will happily look at many times, thereby recapping the work that has been done.

If your classes are at the upper end of KS1 and have completed the Tiny Steps to Music then they are ready to start elementary composing and First Steps to Music. The ideas in the books have many connections with the wider KS1 curriculum so the system makes the job of the teacher easier as it is very progressive and cross-curricular in its approach. Schools who are looking for a more holistic way of educating children will appreciate the advantages of this system and the thought put into it. An experienced practitioner will make the connections that will help the pupils to develop their numeracy and literacy as well as science, art, PE and DT.

The system is also a superb resource for specialist music teachers who are looking to deliver the National Curriculum requirements in a more progressive and skills-building way. The following information will illustrate how the Tobin Music System meets the National Curriculum requirements.

We recommend the following resources for the KS1 curriculum:
  • Chunky Crayons
  • Rhythm Shapes
  • Note cards
  • Musicolour Programme
  • Tiny Steps to Music (one book per child - a licence can be bought to copy the books if you contact the publisher)
  • Tiny Steps to Music Teacher's Manual.
  • First Steps to Music (one book per child - a licence can be bought to copy the books if you contact the publisher)
  • First Steps to Music Teacher's Manual
National Curriculum Requirements The Tobin Music System
Performing Skills
Pupils should be taught how to:

a) use their voices expressively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes;

b) play tuned and untuned instruments;

c) rehearse and perform with others (for example, starting and finishing together, keeping to a steady pulse).
Tiny Steps contains thirteen songs for infant children, building up the children's' range and voice control. There are also lessons on early aural training and games to help foster the ability to "sing in tune" and pitch notes correctly.

Music shorthand teaches the children to play drums and other untuned instruments; the children are encouraged to play pitched percussion instruments at every point.

Throughout the system the children are encouraged to play in harmony in groups.
Composing Skills
Pupils should be taught how to:

a) create musical patterns;

b) explore, choose and organise sounds and musical ideas.
Throughout the programme children are making musical patterns; first with the rhythm shapes and then with both the rhythm shapes and pitch.

At every point they are encouraged to 'see the pattern in music'. With the use of the 'Magic circle' the children find how to organise the sounds to form harmony.
Appraising Skills

Pupils should be taught how to:

a) explore and express their ideas and feelings about music using movement, dance and expressive and musical language;

b) make improvements to their own work.
There are many musical activity games throughout the scheme that promote movement and the use of musical language.

The system allows children to explore music within a given structure; they become astute at deciding what sounds successful.
Listening and applying knowledge and understanding

Pupils should be taught:

a) to listen with concentration and to internalise and recall sounds with increasing aural memory;

b) how the combined musical elements of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and silence can be organised and used expressively within simple structures (for example, beginning, middle, end).
The Musicolour CD and Teacher's Manuals have several aural training features throughout the programme. For the youngest children they listen to different sounds made by various animals to learn about pitch. Other games show concords and discords.

Another game uses a 'totem pole' where the children have to identify the second note by either saying the letter name or number.

They are also taught to recognise the 'tonic sol fa' names. All this is more than amply covered by the very fact that even the youngest children can compose their own music and rhythms.
Breadth of study

During the key stage, pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through:

a) a range of musical activities that integrate performing, composing and appraising;

b) responding to a range of musical and non musical starting points;

c) working on their own, in groups of different sizes and as a class;

d) a range of live and recorded music from different times and cultures.
The books and the Musicolour CD Rom all promote a thorough understanding of musical concepts to aid composing, performing and appraising.

Children get the opportunity to perform and compose individually and also as a whole class. This helps them to have a deeper understanding of pitch, rhythm and harmony than is thought possible.

The children acquire a very good understanding of the systems that western music is built upon; whether it be classical, rock, pop or fusion music, this system is relevant to it all.
terms of use
(c) 1969-2009 Tobin