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HD Ningbo School

Primary Curriculum

Artistic Appreciation

Music Curriculum

At HD Ningbo School, every child can succeed in music. Our positive and supportive environment encourages active learning and develops musical confidence. The Primary music programme runs from Prep to Year Five and uses a cumulative, sequential and developmental approach to the teaching and learning of musical skills and concepts. We believe that learning music is essential in allowing students to express themselves. We strive to develop students’ creativity by providing a balanced and well-defined programme of composing, performing and listening activities. HD Ningbo combines the English National Curriculum along with various other approaches such as professional instrumental teachers of the highest caliber, ‘Musical Futures’ and ‘Quaver Music.’ The music curriculum is challenging with a breadth of experiences to ensure an appropriate learning opportunity for all our students.

Key Stage 1

From Prep students develop their vocal ability and focus on singing in tune using Solfege, (often referred to as the ABC's of music.) They learn how to read and create rhythms using simple rhythmic notation and how to listen critically to describe and respond to music with basic musical terminology. Performances in class focus on ukuleles, keyboards and percussion instruments.

Key Stage 2

As students progress, they are challenged further through the study of a variety of instruments such as guitars, keyboards, xylophones and djembes. Singing is still at the core of each lesson and is developed further with a focus on singing in harmony. Students are introduced to songwriting alongside using music technology to create and record their own songs.  

In addition to the classroom Music programme, our instrumental colleagues give students the opportunity to study a musical instrument in more depth. All students from Year 2 study an instrument by taking part in weekly instrumental lessons delivered by HDs professional instrumental teachers, each being an expert in their field. 


There are many opportunities for students to be involved in extra-curricular music activities as part of the ECA programme. These take place after school and include a range of choirs, the chamber orchestra and rock band, as well as additional instrumental tuition such as guitar, drums and strings. Rock band allows students to develop skills on instruments and/or voice, the very successful chamber orchestra provides an opportunity for students to experience playing within a larger ensemble of students. Our annual instrumental concert gives students the opportunity to display they skills and perform to other students, teachers and parents. In addition to this the music groups are often invited to play at both local and national events; allowing students to hone their performance skills as appropriate to their audiences. 

Art and Design Thinking Curriculum

The Art and Design Thinking curriculum encourages students to explore and develop their creativity, as well as providing an opportunity to express their understanding of the world around them. This enables our students to sharpen their powers of observation, imagination and invention.

Each year group studies a minimum of six projects throughout the course of the year, focusing on the integrated curriculum. This incorporates one or more of the “Elements of Design;” line, shape, colour, texture and composition. Our students work with electronic, mechanical and computer-generated art, all intrinsically linked to a creative process. The students are presented with these elements in a fashion that allows them to view media as a creative outlet.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is related to enquiry-based learning focusing on many of the 21st century skills including; problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, communication and collaboration alongside the traditional processes of sketching and prototyping skills. During Design Thinking lessons the designer's attention moves between their understanding of a problematic context and their potential ideas which will provide a solution.


Drama is embedded in both our English and Chinese curriculum objectives; allowing children to understand more about characters; particularly feelings and emotions. All students have opportunities to write scripts, rehearse and reform short plays. Our students understand performance techniques and are particularly aware of how to do so with purpose for their audience. Drama is an essential part of learning both languages parallel to understanding the essential concepts of presentation and public performance. The skills of developing self-esteem and self-confidence are of course equally important. 

Drama is also offered as part of the ECA programme, children participating in this will perform in our annual performances; either as part of a production or indeed a musical. Recent successes include ‘Annie,’ ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Seussical the Musical.’