Musical Contexts - Primary/Key Stage 2 Unit 9 - Britain Since 1930

Learning, Listening, Composing & Evaluating Activities
Performing Activities - Songs & Scores
Starter & Plenary and Cover/Homework Activities

Exploring Music of the Second World War

About the Unit: This unit explores musical styles in Britain during the 1930’s and 1940’s and focuses on music popular during the Second World War.  Pupils begin by exploring songs which were popular during WWII investigating their melodic shape and how melodies can move by steps and leaps.  Pupils then move onto explore how the stepwise movement of the Chromatic Scale can be used to reproduce the “sliding” sound of WWII Sirens and use this to create their own descriptive WWII soundscape.  Pupils then move onto explore the instrumental genre of Swing Music and Big Bands, moving to a piece of Swing Music and exploring how Theme and Variations is used in a piece of Big Band Music.   

Element Focus - Rhythm, Pitch, Texture, Timbre & Dynamics, Structure & Form

Britain Since 1930 from Musical Contexts provides a range of fun and exciting music activities and learning opportunities combining singing, performing, composing and listening and appraising with all of the resources you’ll need in one place!  Ideal for non-specialist music teachers (with a wealth of supporting media files to model tasks and a detailed scheme of work and lesson plans) and a wealth of fresh inspiration for music specialists.  This unit has cross-curricular links with the popular primary history topic of World War II.  Scroll down to see the variety and range of resources and activities on offer. 

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Musical Contexts

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Frequently Asked Questions



Lesson Plan (PDF)

Lesson Plan (DOC)

Lesson Bundles (ZIP)

Download all the resources you need for each lesson (excluding video files) in a ZIP file.

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Lesson 1

Exploring British Music during WWII

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson 1

Resource Bundle

Lesson 2

Exploring Steps and Leaps in WWII Songs


Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson 2

Resource Bundle

Lesson 3

Exploring WWII Sirens and the Chromatic Scale

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson 3

Resource Bundle

Lesson 4

Exploring WWII Soundscapes

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson 4

Resource Bundle

Lesson 5

Exploring Swing and Big Band Music

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson 5

Resource Bundle

Lesson 6

Exploring Theme and Variations

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson 6

Resource Bundle




Worksheet 1 - Listening to Variations on Little Brown Jug

(uses Audio 3)


Audio 3 - Variations on Little Brown Jug

Worksheet 2 - Exploring the Melody Line to “We’ll Meet Again”

(uses MIDI 7)


MIDI 7 - We’ll Meet Again Melody Line

Worksheet 3 - Music in Britain in World War II

(uses Audio 13 & 14)


Audio 13 - Music in Britain in World War II 1

Audio 14 - Music in Britain in World War II 2




Worksheet 4 - Listening to WWII Soundscapes

(uses Audio 10)


Audio 10 - Listening to WWII Soundscapes

Worksheet 5 - Evaluating WWII Soundscapes

Worksheet 6 - Learning about Instruments in a Big/Swing Band

(uses Video 2 as an additional activity)


Video 2 - Learning about Instruments in a Big/Swing Band (05:20  36MB)



Song Sheet 1 - We’ll Meet Again

(uses Audio 1 & 6 and modelled on MIDI 1)


Audio 1 - We’ll Meet Again song example

Audio 6 - We’ll Meet Again backing track with piano chords

MIDI 1 - We’ll Meet Again (melody line repeated twice)

Score 2 - Melodies for Variations

(modelled on MIDI 3-6)


MIDI 3 - Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Melody

MIDI 4 - Frère Jacques Melody

MIDI 5 - London’s Burning Melody

MIDI 6 - Once a Man Fell in a Well Melody


Song Sheet 2 - Little Brown Jug       Score 1 - Little Brown Jug

(song melody modelled on MIDI 2, Audio 4 gives Karaoke Singalong and Video 1 gives Karaoke with on-screen lyrics)


Audio 4 - Little Brown Jug Karaoke Singalong

Video 1 - Little Brown Jug Karaoke Singalong with on-screen lyrics (02:27  15MB)

MIDI 2 - Little Brown Jug melody line of verse then chorus




Song Sheet 3 - We’re Gonna Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line

(song melody on MIDI 8 and song example on Audio 7)

Audio 7 - We’re Gonna Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line Song Example

MIDI 8 - We’re Gonna Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line Song Melody

Song Sheet 4 - Wartime Rap

(A two-part Q&A/Call and Response Chant with optional actions.  Two parts modelled with pulse on MIDI 9)


MIDI 9 - Wartime Rap

Song Sheet 5 - We’re Winning!

(sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body”)

(modelled on MIDI 10-12 with song example on Audio 8)

Audio 8 - We’re Winning! Karaoke Singalong

MIDI 10 - We’re Winning! (melody line repeated 3 times)

MIDI 11 - We’re Winning! (Vocal/Percussion Ostinato 1)

MIDI 12 - We’re Winning! (Vocal/Percussion Ostinato 2)




Song Sheet 6 - Cheap Veg Soup

(sung to the tune of “The Hokey Cokey” with actions)

(song melody on MIDI 13 with song example on Audio 9)


Audio 9 - Cheap Veg Soup Karaoke/Singalong backing track


MIDI 13 - Cheap Veg Soup Song Melody

Score 3 - Performing WWII Siren Calls

(modelled on MIDI 14 & 15)


MIDI 14 - “All Clear” WWII Siren

MIDI 15 - “Warning” WWII Siren

Score 4 - Rat-a-Tat




Starter/Plenary 1 - Guess the Decade Quiz

(uses Audio 2)


Audio 2 - Guess the Decade Quiz

Starter/Plenary 2 - Little Brown Jug Melodic Shape

(modelled on MIDI 2)


MIDI 2 - Little Brown Jug Melodic Shape

Starter/Plenary 3 - Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Card Sort

(uses Audio 5)


Audio 5 - Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star





Starter/Plenary 4 - Listening to Music which uses the Chromatic Scale

(uses Audio 17)


Audio 17 - Listening to Music which uses the Chromatic Scale

Audio 11

Original WWII Piano Soundscape

Audio 12

WWII Sirens - “Warning” and “All Clear”

Starter/Plenary 5 - Dancing to Swing Music

(uses Audio 15)


Audio 15 - Dancing to Swing Music






Starter/Plenary 6 - Pitch Quiz

(uses Audio 16)


Audio 16 - Pitch Quiz

Starter/Plenary 7

The Variations Lucky Dip Machine


Cover/Homework 1


Cover/Homework 2

Tones and Semitones