Welcome to Manor Music City – Updated Nov 2022

Manor has had a long tradition of high quality music education, but following a period of reflection during Covid-times when practical music making has not been possible in schools, it has created space to redesign how our subject works in the life of the school. This new model places musical experience and understanding at the heart of what we do and it creates a much broader opportunity for more students and their friends and families in our community to build a thriving musical culture together. 

Manor Music City Ethos/Intent

Every one of us has music built in. It comes as standard. Discovering how to use it, how to understand it, and beginning to explore what’s possible is a fundamental right. Every person should have that opportunity to unlock, explore and maximise their musical potential.

Music means a lot to people when they experience it. They find independence, confidence, curiosity, creativity and community. For many people, discovering music is life-changing.

Every moment of music making and discovery is an opportunity for encouragement and for development of understanding through listening and collaboration with others. Every person, (student, teacher, parent or other member of the community), should feel a valued part of MMC and it is the responsibility of the whole community to ensure this is the case. We celebrate new understanding or new achievement at every opportunity and create the most helpful support when it is needed. 

For some students and their families, music has such a positive impact on life, they would like to make music all the time. That can now be a reality. In fact, no matter the chosen level of involvement, Manor Music City is designed to support everyone. It represents our rich, vibrant and diverse community of musical interests and does not discriminate against individual tastes in music. 

Every member of the MMC community has the opportunity to grow in their musical understanding. Every member of the MMC community has the opportunity to experience live music performances. Every member of the MMC community has the opportunity to sing. Every member of the MMC community has the opportunity to learn to play their choice of musical instrument with a specialist tutor. Every student has the opportunity to design their own MMC experience. Students considering advanced studies in music are recommended to follow the MMC Masters pathway. (detailed below). 

In addition to our ‘free to all’ curriculum lessons and activities, the launch of MMC has given us the opportunity to develop a new additional suite of specialist activities. Our Manor Music City Plus (MMC+) activities are not compulsory. They provide opportunities to work with professional music leaders in a specific genre or specialist ensemble. Just as with our voice and instrumental tuition, there is a cost for MMC+ activities, which all run as after-school weekly twilight sessions. Funding is available to support students for whom these opportunities would be financially impossible. 

All Manor Music City tutors, teachers and leaders work together to help to maximise the growth of every aspect of our music community. All are ready to celebrate each student’s achievements. 

To create the ultimate support for each individual student, all stakeholders must be constantly communicating and looking for opportunities to build positive working relationships. The quality of the MMC experience is enriched by every person working together with a common purpose. 

Just by knowing what’s happening at MMC, every parent and carer is a vital part of our community. If you’d like to be involved more, we have ‘MMC Team’. 

MMC Team is open to all parents and staff and is a vital part in supporting the students at performances, events and concert trips. [All team members must be DBS checked by Manor and complete a full Hope Sentamu Learning Trust Job Application Form including providing two references]. The MMC Team members will receive tickets for events, workshops, concerts, an MMC T-Shirt, opportunity to experience MMC and be part of shaping the future of MMC. We will share the diary dates with the team at the earliest opportunity.

The Ultimate Key Stage 3 Music Student Experience

In September 2022, we upgraded the MMC student experience. They now receive a 1-hour music lesson every week. Our new course is now complete. The learning journey is below.

This intensive course covers the National Curriculum and is designed to be accessible to all students. Each unit includes an assessment with clearly defined outcomes to help students to see the progress in their learning. Outcomes range from Developing (D) to Mastering Plus (M+). Homework is not set in addition to the assessment projects, to encourage students to independently decide how to develop their musical learning. Many students choose to engage in additional work outside of lessons. Students can submit work or questions at any time using the Showbie App on their iPad and receive direct feedback from their teacher at the earliest opportunity. Feedback at MMC is an ongoing dialogue between all stakeholders. Often this is given verbally in lessons, workshops or rehearsals, although Showbie is frequently used to document feedback as a written comment, voice note or video. 

MMC Learning Resources for All

All students benefit from some unique resources designed for them. In addition, we are actively supporting other schools as part of our mission to provide free, high-quality music education for all.

Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11

Discovering Excellence in Music 

VIPs at Manor Music City are ‘Very Independent Persons’. Independence in any learning is the ultimate approach a student can discover. Independence comes when a student feels confident enough to ‘just have a go’, to not fear or be discouraged by a negative outcome, to ask thoughtful questions when needed, to reflect on their work and on feedback with a positive and proactive mindset, to be ambitious about the final product and to push themselves to constantly be working at a higher level. Any student can become a VIP in any MMC lesson or activity. When they demonstrate independence in their learning, this is both celebrated and rewarded by their teacher. 

Knowing how to learn is just as important as what is learned. To maximise their potential in music, students must be aware of how they are learning and how their skills are able to develop. At MMC, we challenge every student to ‘Opt-in’ to create their ultimate possible development. 

This is what it means to ‘Opt-in’ at MMC:

‘O’ is for Organisation. Students must choose to always be ready and on-time for every lesson, rehearsal and performance. This includes listening carefully and immediately when asked to do so. They should have the equipment they need, charged-up if appropriate, carrying a spare if required. They should always know where their instrument, iPad and music are and be ready to start at the beginning of every session. Repairs to iPads and Instruments are minimised when organisation is a priority of the student. 

‘P’ is for practise. Practise is exciting. It allows you to do things you couldn’t do before. It helps you to learn confidently. It helps you be proud of what you can do. Practise should be daily, little and often, 10 minutes per day as a starting point. For students learning to play an instrument or sing, this practise time will be focused on pieces being learned on their instrument and the practise is likely to be of the music set by a tutor. Students considering advanced study using technology should make the same approach using their iPad or other music technology. If at any point you’re not sure of how or what to do, ask your teacher. 

‘T’ is for technique. It is so important to think about the development of technique separately to practise as it needs its own focus, concentration and determination to maximise your potential. Talk to your specialist tutor to know how to approach this on your instrument, with your voice or using technology. Technique is not just how you play your instrument. It also relates to your breathing, your posture and your understanding of music theory. Having greater control of all of these helps you to be calmer as you perform and able to add more detail to your performance. All of these skills will also help you to prepare for other aspects of your life including public speaking and job interviews.

All of these things are very relevant to the VIPs concept and students are inspired by what they’re able to achieve, even in a very short period of time. The ‘Opt-in’ challenge is very much a choice for every student. The difference between young musicians who ‘Opt-in’ and those who don’t is vast, but it is something that every young person can achieve. It is something that they can decide they’d like to achieve and then ask for support. At any stage, development in music cannot be forced. It is a personal choice. For this reason, students will be encouraged to opt-in and offered support to succeed, but if the student chooses not to opt-in and to remain a dependent learner, this must be respected. 

Students in Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 who choose to ‘Opt-in’ will gain access to a range of additional activities and opportunities, including:

  • The Manor Concert Orchestra (aka MCO). Open to all students who have an instrument from day 1 of learning. All ages and abilities welcome. Thursdays 3.30-4.30 in the Hive Theatre
  • MCO Leaders. Open to members of MCO who have achieved grade 4 or above in their instrument. Students must also aspire to lead others. Thursdays 4.30-5.30 in the Hive Theatre
  • New combined choirs. From January 2023, all current choirs will join together for one massive singing ensemble. Rehearsals with be Mondays 1220-1315/ Location TBC.
  • GCSE Music Performance recording and composition support. Open to all Y10 and Y11 GCSE Music students. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 1220-1315 in room P4. Individual GCSE tutorials are also available 0830-0900 on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • MMC+ Music City Drummers. Led by Drum kit specialist Andy Jennings, each term the group will focus on a different drumming discipline, including African, Samba and Bucket drumming. Students will also take part in practice pad sessions, designed to help develop technique and rhythmic awareness. Tuesdays 3.30-4.30, cost £5/session. 20 places.
  • MMC+ Rockgod Academy. Designed to bring students together from all ages (11-16), and developing their ensemble skills. Students work in a band composing their own songs or covering songs by their favourite bands or artists. Open to singers, guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboard/piano players, saxophonists, trumpeters and trombonists. Thursdays 3.30-5.30. Cost £7.50/session.
  • MMC+ Mastersounds. A specialist small jazz ensemble open to all ages and abilities. Places for piano, bass, drum kit, guitar, trumpet/trombone/sax. Learn all about Jazz music… from the cool swing of Miles Davis to the funky grooves of Snarky Puppy. Students have the chance to interact, improvise and be inspired by this exciting musical style. Fridays 3.30-5.00 in the Studio Live Room. Cost £7.50/session.

Our MMC+ Activity Leaders


John is a regular member of many bands including the Kate Peters Quartet, Firebird Quartet and Alec Robinson Quartet as well as playing bass and guitar in the famous York Theatre Royal Pantomime. He has appeared on national TV on both the bass guitar and double bass, including multiple appearances on the long running ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Since completing the degree at Leeds College of Music, John has studied and continues to study with bass guitar and double bass icons such as Carol Kaye, Stu Hamm, Nathan East and Missy Raines. In 2018, John graduated with an MA in music from The University of York and is currently studying towards a PhD in the same department.

As well as performing, composing and teaching music, John is also a qualified freelance journalist and writes regularly for publications such as London Jazz News, Jazz Journal, Jazz Views, Hiss & Hum, Smart Bass Guitar, York Press and Jazz In York. John currently presents a weekly jazz radio show on Wetherby based radio station, Tempo FM. 


Since graduating from the University of Salford (BA Hons Popular Music and Recording), Andy has worked as a professional musician and peripatetic drum tutor. Andy has toured Central Europe extensively and played as far afield as America, Canada and Mexico, supporting artists such as Bryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Paulo Nutini and Elbow along the way. Andy also has radio experience, having played live sessions on Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 6, XFM London and XFM Manchester. More recently Andy has worked on a variety of theatre productions including ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Chicago’.


Al is co-founder of Rockgodacademy – teaching young students how to perform in a band. He has his own 10-piece Blues Band, The Al Morrison Blues Experience, and is a member of the New York Brass Band. Al, who originally trained in Jazz Music at Leeds College of Music before moving on to study Jazz Guitar at Trinity Laban in London, has performed at the highest level and is a regular performer at festivals around the world including Glastonbury, Bestival, Rewind, Montreux Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Bilbao Rock Festival and many many more.  

Every young musician needs a specialist tutor to guide them to maximise their potential on their chosen instrument. It is critically important to help each individual student to discover the technique they need to progress and to receive bespoke feedback based on their individual requirements. Lessons are available for every student from year 7 -11. In an ideal world, we recommend that each student has an individual lesson, however, it’s recognised that this is not always financially viable for families. All lessons cost the same and are payable in advance of each term. Subject to availability, the cost of tuition can be lowered by students having lessons in groups of 2 or 3. Funding is available for students who otherwise would not have this opportunity.

Our team of specialist music tutors currently make it possible for students to study the following instruments (below). If your instrument is not on this list, let us know and we’ll find you a tutor.

If you would like to learn to play an instrument, get in touch with us and tell us what you’d like to do. Manor Music City is an opportunity available to all students, but we do appreciate that learning a new instrument can be expensive. We do not want this to be a barrier that stops any child exploring their interest in music, and we have funding available for our Pupil Premium students.

Year 10/11

Our GCSE Music students have three 1-hour music lessons every week. These are focused on ‘Understanding’, ‘Performing’ and ‘Composing’. We currently follow the AQA 8271 GCSE Music qualification.

It is strongly recommended that students begin to learn to play a musical instrument with a specialist tutor before choosing Music as an option for GCSE.

Qualifications of any kind are helpful in creating a structure for learning. The assessments are helpful in defining how much progress has been made compared to other students of the same discipline. We actively encourage all students to work towards graded examinations. Again, very importantly, it must be the choice of the student alone as to whether or not they choose to take graded music exams. However, if students aspire to joining advanced ensembles, or studying at a conservatoire or university, it is helpful to demonstrate the standard of their musical achievements together with their musical experiences.  

The most important role of MMC is to create clear pathways for our students. A pathway creates a helpful route for learning and defines the ‘bigger picture’ that each student and their family is working towards. When every young person begins their learning in music, they cannot possibly imagine the opportunities that lie ahead of them in their future. 

At MMC, we are actively talking to local 6th form providers about the opportunities offered to our students post-16. We’re also interested in conservatoire or university-level study and encourage students to learn about those opportunities while they’re with us. In recent years Manor Music students have continued on to study music at the highest level. 

Former Manor Music students have been successful in gaining bursaries and scholarships for advanced study and in being accepted into regional and national ensembles. Our music students have gone on to find success in a wide-range of professional careers including music, media, law, medicine, business, education and many more.  

MMC is constantly building partnerships with local, regional and national music organisations to create additional opportunities for all students. 

Our most significant current partners are:

  • The Music Teacher’s Association, which creates partnerships with many other school music departments as well as world class CPD for our music staff team
  • York Music Hub, who provide some funding for student music lessons at Manor and offer additional music opportunities throughout every year.
  • York Minster, who are students regularly work with
  • York Music Forum, a natural progression for our students wanting to explore jazz and funk ensembles at the next level. YMF are also based at Manor and their rehearse in the Hive Theatre every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night
  • Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Roar Team, who run a yearly opportunity for Manor student to sing with a live professional orchestra in a major concert event at York Minster.

Manor Music City Activities

Student Code of Conduct

You’ve already opted-in to strive for excellence in your music so these conditions should be easy to follow. However, it’s important for you to confirm you understand the expectations as failure to follow them will result in you being asked to leave your activity without a refund.

Expectations of behaviour are the same as in Manor curriculum lessons. 

In addition there are some important things you need to do to make sure everyone in MMC or MMC+ activities can make the most of every opportunity. 

  1. Always bring the correct equipment to every rehearsal and performance. Instrument, charged-iPad, Sheet Music, Notebook, Pen, Pencil, Rubber, Water Bottle and anything else you need. 
  2. Always take your equipment home and don’t leave anything behind.
  3. You may have a phone with you in a pocket or in your bag, but it must be switched off during every rehearsal and performance. 
  4. Always know when and where your rehearsals and performances are and be on-time and ready to start.
  5. On arrival to every rehearsal, set-up as directed by your activity leader. Help others first, particularly younger students, before getting out your instrument. Quietly warm-up and use a digital tuner/iPad app to tune your instrument. 
  6. Be ready to stop playing and listen at the start of the rehearsal and at other moments during the rehearsal when ‘quiet’ is requested. 
  7. Listen carefully to all directions and make notes on your music. Use a pencil if adding notes to printed music.
  8. If you need help or want to ask a question, raise your hand.
  9. If your music is too difficult for you, tell your leader. They will be able to simplify your part or give you a method to practise your part. 
  10. Think about those around you and how you can serve others and grow together. 
  11. Take every opportunity to encourage others and celebrate the achievements of others as well as the things you achieve together.
  12. At the end of every rehearsal put your instrument away first, then clear away as directed by your leader before leaving. 
  13. Practise your parts in between rehearsals and talk about any concerns with your activity leader or section leader (if appropriate). 
  14. Focus on being a part of something amazing.
  15. Enjoy every moment. If there’s a barrier to this, tell your activity leader.

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