Teaching Primary Music: ages 4 – 11

Jimmy Rotheram, Feversham Primary School and the Benedetti Foundation launch new lesson plans and resources for teaching primary music

The resources are designed to be accessible, easy to use and deliver a high-quality music offer to children despite the current COVID-19 restrictions

Music and arts ignite the spark of true learning – they tap into something deeper, something that no intervention or booster session can bring out of a pupil. The power of music improves maths, English, behaviour and attitudes to learning. At Feversham primary we have harnessed this force of human nature to bring happiness and academic success to young hearts and minds. Together with the Benedetti foundation, it is our vision and ambition that teachers across the world are supported to use music to transform the lives of children and lay the foundation of a happy, fulfilling and successful life. A life that can transcend the mundane and connect with the sublime.

Naveed Idrees, Headteacher at Feversham Primary AcademyHeadteacher of the Year, 2019 TES School Awards

Jimmy Rotheram is a music teacher at Feversham Primary School in Bradford whose work in the last few years has made him one of the UK’s top thought leaders in the musical education of young children. Both Jimmy and the Benedetti Foundation hear time and time again from primary school teachers saying they feel unprepared and lack the confidence to teach music. To help address this, Jimmy has created new lesson plans and resources for teaching music to children aged 4 – 11, which have been edited and developed by the Benedetti Foundation.


  • 6 weeks of lesson plans for ages 4 – 7
  • 12 weeks of lesson plans for ages 7 – 11
  • Books with all the lesson plans and resources are free to download here
  • Videos for each activity led and created by some of the foremost music workshop leaders in the UK.
  • There are two playlists on YouTube, Primary School Music at Home 1 (aimed at 4–7 year olds) and Primary School Music at Home 2 (aimed at 7–11 year olds)

The resources are designed to be accessible, easy to use and deliver a high-quality music offer to children despite the current COVID-19 restrictions. The main aim is to help primary teachers to get music into their education setting. The videos have been created so that they lead the activity in the classroom, but once teachers have viewed them a few times and built some confidence they can have a go at leading it themselves. The resources are adaptable and usable by teachers everywhere in the world and do not follow any particular curriculum.

Jimmy Rotheram commented, ‘I’m absolutely delighted to see this work being brought to life in such a wonderful way by my friends at the Benedetti Foundation, and hope that we can get this out to as many schools and teachers that need it. There is something here for everyone, whatever restrictions and barriers the pandemic may throw up. This package is a 12-week programme designed for teaching music in the COVID-19 restricted classroom and online using movement and body percussion (due to restrictions on singing). It builds confidence in the fundamental basics of musical understanding for teachers and pupils and provides firm foundations and deep understanding of concepts. It has been tried and tested in schools and online, quality assured by experts and we have had fantastic feedback from teachers using it so far for its inclusivity, deep learning and the enthusiasm that children have for the activities. I hope it can support music education for many children and teachers in these challenging times.’

Nicola Benedetti, commented‘I am so deeply proud of this collaboration with the one and only Jimmy Rotheram – a teacher dedicated to the holistic education of children through music. I’m equally proud of our entire team at the Foundation who have worked tirelessly to pull this body of work together, and I am hugely excited about sharing its content with primary teachers across the country. Learn about pulse, rhythm and tempo through fun and engaging lesson plans and video resources recorded by a wonderful, vibrant group of educators. We hope you enjoy this!’

Lucy Drever, Head of Musicianship Programme, Benedetti Foundation commented, ‘The Benedetti Foundation is so passionate about getting music into classrooms and we really hope that this will enable primary teachers to start to get musical with their pupils. The fantastic thing about the Teaching Primary School Music resource is that these videos can be done at home as well as in the classroom. By doing these videos everyone will learn about essential musical tools; pulse, rhythm and tempo. At the Benedetti Foundation we’re lucky enough to work with some of the best workshop leaders; press play and you’ll be guided through the activity. Although we want you to learn some useful musical skills, we equally want you to have lots of fun and know that your voice is important!  We are so aware of the time pressures that teachers are under and hopefully this readymade series of work will help and allow creativity to flow. The most important thing to remember is to have fun, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to get musical with your class.’

Teaching Primary Music: ages 4 – 7

In music the pulse is the heartbeat and the thing driving the music forward and making people want to move. This set of six lessons allows children to feel and move to a pulse before introducing the word and beginning to understand it as a concept.

  • Lesson 1 & 2: Feel the Beat
  • Lesson 3 & 4: Walk to the Beat
  • Lesson 5 & 6: Prepare the Beat and Pulse

Teaching Primary Music: ages 7 – 11

As teachers work through these twelve lessons with their class, everyone will learn and explore the musical concepts pulse, tempo and rhythm – the three essential foundation blocks of music. Through fun activities and games, the children will start to embed these concepts and there are also opportunities to compose and lead too!

  • Lesson 1: Feel the Beat
  • Lesson 2: Responding to Music
  • Lesson 3 & 4: Preparing the Pulse
  • Lesson 5: Practising the Pulse
  • Lesson 6 & 7: Presenting the Rhythm
  • Lesson 8, 9, 10 & 11: Practising the Rhythm and Preparing Tempo
  • Lesson 12: assessment

The Benedetti Foundation, in association with Jimmy Rotheram, will also be running bespoke training sessions on these resources for those delivering lessons to boost confidence and provide teachers with an even bigger bank of ideas for teaching primary music.

Please visit http://www.benedettifoundation.org/primary-music for more information about training sessions.