Building skills across the school day

Developing musicianship

A little bit of musicianship goes a long way...

Short activities can be threaded through other timetabled activities or routines – aim for little and often and build the activities up slowly, using the videos to help you. This could be easier to establish than it may first seem – there are likely to be activities that the children love which they will be desperate to repeat and can be slotted easily into other elements of the school day. As you become more confident,  try delivering the activities more frequently. The more often the children play the games and enjoy the activities the faster they will progress.

One quick way to start building in musicianship activities is to take any song or piece of music you are using (in class, music lesson, choir, assembly etc.) and find different ways to feel the beat, show the pitch and explore the rhythms of the piece e.g. they could perform big movements to the beat.  They could explore the pitch using pitch pencils. Or find ways of 'playing' rhythm patterns from the song on their bodies.

Other ideas to try:

Time of school day

Musicianship activity suggestion

Start of the day

‘Wake up shake up’ activities with a focus on moving in time to a beat e.g.:


Start of the day/ circle time

Sing/chant a ‘hello’ song e.g.:



Singing the register, practising pitch matching using the ‘cuckoo’ interval. With older children, you could play/adapt the Name rhythms game as a way to take the register.


Lining up and walking to assembly marching in time, using rhythm language as you mark the beat e.g. 'walk, walk, walk, walk' or 'jogging, jogging, jogging, jogging'.

Wake up shake up activities at the start of assembly, with a focus on moving in time to a beat e.g.:

A vocal warm-up during assembly, practising pitch matching, rhythmic echoing e.g.:



Playing singing games e.g.:

During a wet playtime, performing a beat warm-up along to a piece of recorded music (you could use anything you are already listening to – perhaps something from one of the complementary listening lists from a Sing Up Music unit – or take suggestions from the children about something they’d like to listen to).

Lining up and walking to class after playtime marching in time whilst singing The lining up song.

Other routines

Using songs and chants to mark other regular routines e.g.:


P. E./Other movement-based activities

Warm-ups using copycat action games e.g.:


Music lessons

A 10-minute music lesson starter activity (any game related to your topic). There are lots of suggestions for activities threaded across Sing Up Music units, or pick something from the video examples for beat, rhythm, or pitch.


Include a musicianship warm-up into choir rehearsals.

Why not demonstrate your musicianship work to parents/families and other children? Video your work and put it in google classroom to show progression over time.

Go to: BEAT | RHYTHM | PITCH | Developing musicianship