Introduction to the Organ for Key Stage 2

This is a new music and science session available for schools, which has grown out of a brief demonstration of the organ to a group visiting Stoke Minster.


Visiting Stoke Minster for a morning or afternoon, a class of Key Stage 2 children will be introduced to the organ as a musical instrument - for many, this will be a completely new experience, and the magnificent Minster organ will add to the 'wow' factor.


Discussion about how sounds are produced by different types of instruments will lead to looking at different types and sizes of organ pipes and the sounds they produce - affecting the pitch, dynamics and timbre. Looking at how the organist chooses the sounds to use when playing, including using the swell pedal, will demonstrate how different textures and volumes of sound can be produced.


The children will hear a range of music being played from different countries and eras. They will consider how different types of music will be appropriate for different moods and occasions, including the sort of events which take place at the Minster - including joyous music for weddings, solemn music for funerals and remembrance services, and grand, stately music for civic and ceremonial occasions. 

National Curriculum Science coverage:

Sc4 Physical Processes

3. Pupils should be taught:

Vibration and sound

e. that sounds are made when objects [for example, strings on musical instruments] vibrate but that vibrations are not always directly visible
f. how to change the pitch and loudness of sounds produced by some vibrating objects [for example, a drum skin, a plucked string]
g. that vibrations from sound sources require a medium [for example, metal, wood, glass, air] through which to travel to the ear.

National Curriculum Music coverage:

Listening, and applying knowledge and understanding

4. Pupils should be taught:
b. how the combined musical elements of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo,
timbre, texture and silence can be organised within musical structures [for
example, ostinato] and used to communicate different moods and effects
c. how music is produced in different ways [for example, through the use of
different resources, including ICT]
d. how time and place can influence the way music is created, performed and
heard [for example, the effect of occasion and venue].


Breadth of study:

5. During the key stage, pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through:
e. a range of live and recorded music from different times and cultures [for
example, from the British Isles, from classical, folk and popular genres, by
well-known composers and performers].

Suggestions for follow-up activities will be provided for use back at school.


This activity is currently available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you are interested in this for your school, please contact Jonathan Hill.