Street Band music in the curriculum

Street band music provides a blend of tradition and contemporary learning experiences, that enhancing the overall musical education for young learners. By embracing the vibrant rhythms and cultural richness of street band music, students not only cultivate musical skills but also connect with the community’s musical heritage.

The Model Music Curriculum (MMC) has gained widespread adoption in UK schools, providing a framework that can seamlessly integrate street band music and tradition into Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) education. Below you will find information on how to integrate the rich traditions of street bands with the core objectives outlined in the Model Music Curriculum (MMC).

Key Stage 1


The collective singing exercises in the curriculum lay a crucial foundation for street band music, where ensemble vocals are a defining feature. Street band performances often thrive on the harmonious collaboration of voices, making the emphasis on collective singing skills directly applicable to the dynamic vocal interactions within a street band.

Example: Introduce a call-and-response street band chant. Teach students a call-and-response chant inspired by street band traditions. The teacher sings a rhythmic phrase (e.g., “Stomp your feet, clap your hands”), and students respond in kind. Encourage them to add their creative variations to the response.


Exposure to a diverse range of musical styles, including popular and traditional genres, prepares students for the eclectic soundscapes encountered in street band music. Street bands often draw inspiration from various musical traditions, and the curriculum’s emphasis on diverse listening experiences equips students to appreciate and contribute to the rich tapestry of sounds within a street band ensemble.

Example: Explore different street band genres through recordings. Play recordings of street band performances from various cultures. Organize class discussions about the unique characteristics of each genre. Have students share their observations and encourage them to mimic certain rhythmic patterns using body percussion.


The curriculum’s encouragement of improvisation and spontaneous musical creation aligns seamlessly with the improvisational nature of street band music. Street bands frequently engage in on-the-spot musical dialogues and call-and-response patterns, making the composition skills fostered in the curriculum directly relevant to the creative process within a street band setting.

Example: Create a musical story using sound effects. Choose a theme like “Under the Sea.” In small groups, have students use classroom instruments to improvise sound effects related to the theme (e.g., waves, seagulls). Each group presents their sounds in sequence, collectively creating an imaginative underwater soundscape.


The curriculum’s focus on maintaining a steady beat, exploring rhythm through percussion, and understanding pitch aligns with the foundational skills required in street band music. Street band musicians rely on synchronized rhythm and coordinated performances, making the curriculum’s emphasis on these fundamental musicianship skills applicable to the collaborative and rhythmic nature of street band performances.

Example: Explore street band rhythms through body percussion. Play a street band rhythm on a drum. Students replicate the rhythm through body percussion, incorporating claps, stomps, and snaps. Gradually increase the complexity of the rhythm, encouraging students to stay in sync with the beat.

Key Stage 2


Street band music, with its lively and participatory nature, offers a platform for singers to actively engage in musical expression. In Key Stage 2, pupils are encouraged to explore their vocal abilities both individually and collaboratively within a group setting. Street band performances often feature vocal elements that align with the curriculum’s emphasis on encouraging students to express themselves through singing in various contexts.

Example Activity: Have students learn a popular street band song with catchy vocal parts. Encourage them to explore harmonies and experiment with vocal dynamics. Create a classroom street band vocal performance, where students take turns leading different sections of the song.


A key aspect of street band music lies in its immersive auditory experience. Key Stage 2 students are urged to develop their listening skills, and street band performances provide an opportunity for them to actively listen to a diverse range of instruments and musical styles. Street band music serves as a practical and vibrant medium for students to enhance their musical appreciation and understanding through attentive listening.

Example Activity: Play recordings of various street band performances featuring different instruments and styles. Discuss the unique elements of each performance, such as instrumentation, tempo, and dynamics. Ask students to share their observations and preferences, fostering an environment where active listening is encouraged.


Street band music often incorporates improvisation, a key element in composing. In the curriculum, pupils are encouraged to improvise using voices, tuned and untuned percussion, and instruments. Street band music’s emphasis on improvisation can resonate with the curriculum’s goal of allowing students to invent short, on-the-spot responses and structure musical ideas for compositions.

Example Activity: Introduce a simple street band rhythm, and ask students to create their own variations using percussion instruments or body percussion. Encourage them to experiment with tempo and dynamics. In a collaborative setting, students can combine their individual compositions to create a unique class street band piece


Street band music often involves live performances in public spaces. In the context of Key Stage 2, pupils are encouraged to perform actively, both as individuals and as part of a group. Street band music can exemplify the concept of performing for wider audiences, aligning with the idea of pupils performing in school assemblies and local settings.

Example activity: Set up stations with different instruments commonly found in street bands, such as drums, tambourines, and brass instruments. Rotate students through the stations, allowing them to experiment with each instrument.