Music Education Hub

Information for schools, parents, students and supporters on the music hub in Northumberland.

Information on current and upcoming events

The Northumbrian Ranters at Wylam Winter Tales

Sunday 27th January - Click here for more info:  Wylam Winter Tales - Northumbrian Ranters


Big Sing ‘n Sign for SEND Schools 

31st January, Gala Theatre, Durham 10.30 – 2.00pm. Join together with SEND schools from across the region in a celebration of singing and signing!

How to get involved

Email: with the following:

School Name, Contact name, phone number & email, approximate numbers of students, approximate numbers of staff, approximate number of wheelchair users.



Adult Clarinet Lessons Now Available

Click here to find out more and how to sign up! 

Register your child here for Instrumental/vocal lessons - Direct Billing Schools

(The Duchess's High, King Edward VI High, Morpeth Middle Schools, Dr Thomlinson Middle, Abbeyfields First, Burnside Primary)  For further information please call 01670 624045.

"Music Partnership North is committed to enriching the lives of children and young people in Northumberland & Newcastle through engagement and participation in quality music activities"

Music Partnership North is one of 122 music hubs across England set up to support and enhance music education for children and young people in their area in line with The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education (NPME)

Music Partnership North is a partnership between:
  • Northumberland County Council music service
  • Newcastle City Council music service
  • Sage Gateshead
Our aims are:
  • to provide musical activities for all children and young people
  • to work with local communities and educational establishments 
  • to provide professional development & training to both school based and MPN staff
  • to be committed to the support of musical activities in early years 
  • to support the aims of The Importance of Music, A National Plan For Music Education

Lead Officer - Jacky Craig  01670 624040
Manages School Partnerships: Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington

Deputy Lead Officer - David Francis  01670 620525
Manages School Partnerships: Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Seaton Valley

Music Co-ordinator - Richard Johnstone  01670 624047
Manages School Partnerships: Alnwick, Amble, Berwick, Morpeth
Senior Administrator - Lesley Scott  01670 624045
Business Development Officer - Fiona Johnstone  01670 624039
Admin/Instruments - Rachel Robbins & Charlotte Dyson  01670 624046

Music Partnership North, Wansbeck Workspace, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 8QZ

Instrumental Tutors
Steven Ballantyne
James Boyle  
John Bradford
Stephanie Brown
John Buckton   
Richard Burns   
Rachael Chesney
Alison Coates  
Andrea Devere
Stephen Doyle 
Heather Ferrier  
Ann-Britt Hedley
Stephanie Naisbett  
Annelise Nicklen
Frances Orde 
Flora Smith 
Justin Radford 
Christopher Reay 
John Reed  
Christopher Robertson  
Alison Rudd 
Julie Shevlin
Julie Silversides  
Emily Stephenson  
Robert Vallance  
Daniel Ward  
Heather Willshire
Jonathon Winter

Information on how we work with schools, students and parents to provide a quality musical experience.

Music Partnership North provides an extensive range of instrumental, vocal and class music tuition to schools in Northumberland.  Please check with your school to see what tuition is available and cost.

Click here to view our academic year planner.

We have a number of instruments for hire with a termly rental charge of £22.50 per instrument.

It can be hard to choose which instrument to start playing. Here are some tips which may help you decide:
  • Find out which instruments are available at your school. Sometimes schools will organise a demonstration to help students decide.
  • Listen to music in different styles and genres. Look on YouTube or go to a concert or event.
  • Ask if you can visit a local community band to listen to the instruments and talk to the members about their instruments. 
Click here to view the terms & conditions associated with instrumental/vocal tuition.

Click here to view and print an Agreement Form for the hire of instruments.

For more details on instrument insurance values, please tel 01670 624046.

Whole Class Teaching

Whole class ensemble tuition (WCET) takes place in a first or primary school on a weekly basis. A Music Partnership North tutor, alongside a member of school staff, will deliver music to a whole class to give every child the opportunity to play an instrument. Our WCET projects are designed to include performances, either within school, or as part of a wider performance with other schools in the area.

Click here to watch our young musicians showcase at The Alnwick Gardens 2017.

Service Level Agreement 

The music education grant is used to subsidise whole class ensemble tuition; schools can apply through the Service Level Agreement at a greatly reduced cost.  Please contact the designated link officer for your school to discuss further.



Charanga can transform your music curriculum by giving you online access to hundreds of resources designed to enhance your music lessons.  By purchasing charanga through us, we can offer you a discount on membership. click here to apply for a licence.

Curriculum Support

We can provide specialist teachers to deliver music curriculum in school, or to work alongside the classroom teacher to develop their skills.  For more information please email

Many schools will offer financial assistance to students in receipt of pupil premium, which can be used towards the cost of instrumental lessons. Parents should enquire with their school about this.

Music Partnership North offers free instrument hire to students who are eligible for free school meals or is a looked after child.

A discount of £30 per term is available to students having music lessons with a Music Partnership North tutor as part of a GCSE or A-level course. (It is expected that students will have attended a minimum of 7 out of 10 lessons to qualify for the discount.)

Some organisations may offer grants for instruments or tuition. Please see the links below.

Awards for Young Musicians
Future Talent

EMI Music Equipment Purchase Funding
Music For All
Take it away scheme
EMI Music Sound Foundation

Instrumental purchase
HMRC will allow parents to purchase an instrument free of VAT if a student is having music lessons in school. All instruments must be portable and be taken to music lessons on a regular basis. Northumberland will organise these purchases on behalf of a student if they are having lessons with a Music Partnership North tutor within a Northumberland school.  Please click here for an application form and instructions on how to apply.

If you would like further advice please email:  (Northumberland)  (Newcastle)

Become a supporter today and help to make a difference


Click here to download and complete a supporters direct debit form

The arts have the power to change and shape young lives. They provide knowledge, skills and attributes that can play a significant role in young people’s development, creating opportunities for them to express their ideas and form their values, and equipping them to navigate a rapidly changing world.

The arts are not an add-on, or a nice-to-have, but are part of the fabric of our society. All young people have a right to experience the best, and to be given the opportunity to contribute to the arts and culture of the future.

Funding from central government and Arts Council England is reducing every year and families are finding it harder to find the money to pay for music lessons and workshops.  

Your support can enable Music partnership North to reach more children, from any background, and support their lifelong learning through music.

  • £15 per month can sponsor a child’s place in a county ensemble
  • £18 per month would provide free instrumental or vocal tuition for a student
  • £6 per month would provide a free instrument loan for a student
  • A one off donation of £15 would buy a child’s place on a workshop day

bedlington brass1-02.jpgBedlington to Ashington Building Brass

“Brass is Back”

Following the success of the 'Bedlington to Ashington Building Brass' initiative we are delighted to announce that Youth Music have once again agreed to support our ongoing brass band regeneration project in south east Northumberland.  

Over the last three years we have worked closely with primary schools to create school 'mini brass bands' who meet at either lunchtime or after school. These mini brass bands have provided a progression route from their whole class project brass tuition.

This new round of funding will see the project expand into Bedlington, Ashington and St Benet Biscop Academies and expand our current project in Meadowdale Academy. Students will have the opportunity to progress and experience different instruments such as baritone, trombone and tenor horns.

Students will take more of a lead in providing peer to peer support and performing at Sage Gateshead, Woodhorn Miners Picnic and joint brass band concerts across the region. Students will also have the opportunity to complete their Bronze Arts Award and
 work closely with Bedlington Community Brass Band by supporting and leading sessions with their trainer band.

Music-making is life-changing. Every year, Youth Music provides more than 75,000 young people with the opportunity to make music. For more information on Youth Music and the excellent work they support please visit

Our outcomes built into the project are as follows:

  • Through the creation of school mini bands students will have the opportunity to increase their musical ability and technical skills.
  • To raise students aspirations to be involved and continue to be involved in music.
  • Improved group cohesion and mutual respect amongst the students throughout the project.

On the 25th May 2018 Woodhorn Museum came alive to the sound of youth brass bands!
Over 400 children
 all came together for the first time to play at an open air performance like no other!

This video also shows the children exploring Woodhorn Museum and the heritage of the mining industry through their Explore Arts Award.


Click here to download and complete an alumni direct debit form

If you have clicked on this page then you already know the benefits that music can bring to young people's lives. You have seen first hand the added benefits in your life and you have the power to make that same impact on another young person in Northumberland.  

You can provide a bursary for students who would otherwise not be able to pay for their ensemble membership or for them to attend a workshop.

How different would your life be if you had not been involved in music?  Don’t let Northumberland students miss that same opportunity.  Even the smallest amount can make a huge difference!
To ensure the success and continuation of the brass regeneration project, it is essential that students have the opportunity to be involved in large scale performances such as Brass in Concert at the Sage Gateshead.

We were delighted that Brass in Concert once again funded 2 days of workshops to give the students a chance to rehearse the music that they performed at the Sage on 17th November. There was over 100 students performing both on the concourse and in Sage One. 

Quotes from students involved:

"I feel as if my self belief has gained a lot throughout the project, being in the band I have met new people who had faith in me and helped me when I needed it."  

"I love playing my cornet - It makes me feel peaceful. Music really helps me because it lets me know I can be successful in something!"

If you would like to know more about the project please contact
We promise to make the best use of each donation to help reach as many students in Northumberland as possible.

In 2008, 8% of students who were taking GCSE maths also sat GCSE music and in 2017 this reduced to 5.5% with fewer pupils also taking A level music.  Through your donations we will continue to reach more and more students and provide extra curricular activities to help maintain a balanced curriculum.

We will keep you updated with our work (unless requested otherwise) and show the progress your donation is helping to achieve.  We will treat your personal information in full accordance with your preferences and UK law.

In response to your generous donations, we promise:
  • Your donation will be processed efficiently and used to fund front line musical activities
  • Your donation will be promptly acknowledged and we will always be incredibly grateful for your support
  • We will keep our administration costs to a minimum and provide clear and transparent systems
  • If you would like to allocate your donation to a particular area of our work we will respect your wishes, and where this is not possible, we will advise you of this and proceed as you request.
We endeavour to provide exceptional supporter care and so when you contact us we promise to:
  • Handle your enquiry in an honest and professional manner
  • Provide a response to your queries as quickly as possible, and if we are delayed, let you know when you can expect a response
  • Treat all complaints seriously, investigate them fully and report back to you with a solution
  • Welcome and encourage feedback from you to improve our work.
Thank you for your ongoing support - together we can change and shape a young person’s life through music.
Music Partnership North have partnered up with GoRaise. It’s now easier than ever before for our members and supporters to join us in fundraising.

It’s simple, it’s safe, and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Once you've registered with GoRaise, every time you shop online at thousands of brilliant online retailers - including M&S, John Lewis, Argos, Ebay, Sports Direct, & Expedia - those retailers will donate a portion of what you spend to our cause, for free. So, how do you get started?

Just go to our page at Music Partnership North - GoRaise and register for free today.

Once you've done this, just make sure that you visit the GoRaise website and click your chosen retailer from the list of over 3,000, each time you want to shop online.

Whether you're an individual or a company, please do sign up today, it will make a huge difference to us and we could raise £1000’s of extra funding every year just from donations generated by ordinary, everyday online shopping.
The Children’s University is a national organisation that provides 7-14 year olds access to exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside of the normal school day.  As well as school based activities (after school, lunchtime or school holidays) this can include, workshops, lectures, libraries, museums, sports and creative arts such as music.

This programme rewards children’s participation through the National Certificates.  For every hour they take part in an activity they receive a stamp within their passport and these go towards their National Children’s University Award Certificate. 

Students who are over 14 can also sign up to become a volunteer and there is no upper age limit so parents can get involved too.  The volunteer system runs alongside the student passport scheme with evidence and stamps being collected while gaining experience in volunteering and learning new skills.

Schools can sign up to become a member or parents can purchase their child’s passport independently at a cost of £5.  However, many areas within south east Northumberland have purchased passports for all the children within their school.

Music Partnership North have signed up to become a member of the Children’s University and so students can now receive stamps for attending our ensembles, lunchtime clubs or large scale events.  

If your child has a passport and would like to have their activity evidenced and stamped then please contact Fiona Johnstone 01670 624039.

Leading Link manage this programme in Northumberland and for more information on purchasing passports and the support they can offer please visit their website:

For more information on the Children’s University please visit their website:
We encourage all students to take part in music groups and ensembles, whatever their ability. Playing a musical instrument and performing with others is rewarding, enjoyable and a valuable skill.

Click here to find out more about the ensembles we offer.
Do you play the fiddle, flute, Northumbrian pipes, cello, harp, accordion, percussion, concertina, guitar or keyboard?

The Northumbrian Ranters are made up of talented young musicians from Northumberland. Their aim is to promote and raise the profile of traditional music both in the county and further afield.

New members will be asked to come for a short audition as soon as applications are received.
  • Entry:  Fiddle, grade 3 or equivalent. Flute, grade 5 or equivalent (for all other instruments please email the contact below)
  • Rehearsals:  6 - 8.30pm at Morpeth Methodist Church 
  • Cost:  £190 per year
  • Contact:

This ensemble requires a high level of commitment as the group are involved in high profile performances throughout the year. Students are required to sing together and will have the opportunity to participate in traditional experiences such as clog dancing.

Click here to watch the Northumbrian Ranters & Alistair Anderson performing in Berwick Upon Tweed. 

Rehearsals & Concerts Remaining 2018-19
1st December  Concert at Rothbury Church
24th January 
27th January  Performance at Wylam Winter Festival
14th March
15th March  Concert at Eglingham Church
25th April
28th April   Morpeth Gathering
9th May
17th May  Gala Concert venue TBC
27th June
30th June  Mindrum Gardens
6th July

"My daughter has had lots of fun making new friends.  The experience has been very important to her musical development.  Lots of opportunities -concerts, residential weekends and tours to Scotland – not to mention making a CD – amazing!

"As a parent, so many opportunities to watch and feel so very proud! Thanks to all the staff –  it would not have been possible without you!"
Do you play strings, brass, woodwind, drums or percussion?  Would you like to meet other young musicians and learn to play new and exciting music? Improve your playing in a fun and friendly environment and perform in concerts?  
  • Entry:  Grade 3 or equivalent (new members will be asked to come for a short, informal audition)
  • Rehearsals:  Morpeth Methodist Church from 6 - 8pm
  • Cost:  £145 per year
  • Contact:

Additional Information:  Students are accepted into this ensemble at any point throughout the year and are required to re-apply each year for membership.

Rehearsal & Concert Dates Remaining 2018-19 
13th December  Christmas Concert at Morpeth Methodist Church
10th January
28th February
21st March
16th May 
17th May  Gala Concert venue TBC

Please click here to find out more about joining us!

Use this link to directly support Bedlington Brass Band each time you shop online.  Your money can make a big difference to us!  Support Bedlington Brass Band as you shop

  • Instruments: cornet, flugel horn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium, trombone, bass
  • Rehearsals: Bedlington Community Centre, Tuesdays from 6-6.45pm (trainer band) then 6.45-8.30pm full band rehearsal
  • Cost: Free!
  • Contact:

Rehearsal Dates Remaining 2018-19
January 8th / 15th / 22nd / 29th 
February 5th / 26th
March 5th / 12th / 19th / 26th  
April 23rd / 30th
May 7th / 14th / 21st
June 4th / 11th / 18th / 25th
July 2nd

December 13th  Christmas Concert at Morpeth Methodist Church
May 17th Gala  Concert venue TBC

This ensemble is sponsored by Bristol Street Motors.


The aim of this group is to encourage young piper's to share their enthusiasm and skills with other pipers from across the county. They meet once every half term on a Saturday morning and the group is open to any student in full time education!
  • Instrument: Northumbrian small pipes
  • Entry: Six months of playing experience
  • Rehearsals: Morpeth Chantry bagpipe museum, Saturday mornings 10.15-12
  • Contact:

This initiative is made possible through the partnership working of MPN and the Northumbrian Piper's Society.

£1 suggested donation at each rehearsal.

Rehearsals & Performances 2018-19
1st December performance at Rothbury Church
2nd February
23rd March
11th May
17th May Gala Concert venue TBC
29th June
There are many community ensembles in Northumberland and Newcastle, which give students an opportunity to play and mix with a wider range of individuals.  Please contact us using the details below for more information:

Tel: 01670 624039

We strive for the best opportunities for students to ensure they fulfil their potential. Exceptionally talented students are signposted to regional and national ensembles and events. We can also offer advice and guidance for students contemplating further education in music.
Current projects and initiatives with cultural and community organisations

Information on past events

We were delighted that Brass in Concert once again funded 2 days of workshops to give the students a chance to rehearse the music that they performed at the Sage on 17th November. There was over 100 students performing both on the concourse and in Sage One. 

Quote from student involved:

"I feel as if my self belief has gained a lot throughout the project, being in the band I have met new people who had faith in me and helped me when I needed it."  

If you would like to know more about the project please contact

The Northumbrian Ranters & Friends In Concert

Saturday 1st December 2018 at All Saints Church, Rothbury.
With so many new members and a new programme we were asking a lot from the students and they more than delivered!  It may have been cold but the atmosphere was amazing and so inspiring for the younger players. We were joined by our Northumbrian pipers and a group of young musicians from the local area. It was great to see such a large audience and CD's were sold which goes towards the next musical tour!

Ranters Tour to Derbyshire 2018

Over the Easter period the Northumbrian Ranters visited the Fosbrooks, a multi talented Fiddle and Clogging group in Derbyshire.

We visited Edale Primary and Lady Manners Secondary School, at Edale we squeezed the whole band into a tiny classroom to play to the school!

Saturday was a visit to a care home in Stockport, we then met up with the Fosbrooks and held a Northumbrian tunes workshop. The whole day culminated in a joint concert!
Northumberland Youth Ensemble & Bedlington Brass Band held their annual Christmas Concert on Thursday 13th December at Morpeth Methodist Church. They were joined by students from Darras Hall Primary School.

We will be donating £197 to 'Save the Children' Christmas jumper appeal following generous donations from parents and supporters on the night. An extra thank you to Morrisons and M&S Morpeth for donating mince pies!

Northumberland School Games 2018

Music Partnership North were once again invited to bring students to perform at the opening ceremony for the Northumberland School Games at Cramlington Learning Village.

Students from St Wilfred's Primary School Blyth opened the event playing a selection of music on their trumpets followed by singing students from Newsham Primary School. 

The school games was then officially opened with students from Barndale House, Alnwick on Samba.

Though the day was very warm the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves performing to the participants throughout the day.  We are all looking forward to next year!


In partnership with the Royal Opera House, Music Partnership North offered a limited number of schools the opportunity to sign up to this 10 week project based on Bizet’s world famous opera Carmen.

The programme included:
  • CPD day on the 26th January 2017 at St Cuthbert's Church Bedlington with a director and vocal leader from the Royal Opera House
  • A 10 lesson scheme of work with learning outcomes and curriculum links 
  • 2 models of support from Music Partnership North
  • Singing strategies and drama exercises
  • Online support
  • Specially created short films for guidance featuring Royal Opera House artists and Youth Opera Company
  • Online resources including backing tracks, arrangements for children's voices and additional digital classroom materials
School staff were trained up in the skills of dramatic singing through their work with a song leader educator and a director from Royal Opera House and the support of an MPN singing tutor. The skills learned by school staff can be transferred to all aspects of the arts such as school performances, plays and concerts.

The closing date for all applications was the 1st December 2017.

Click here to view Autumn 2018 newsletter
Click here to view Summer 2018 newsletter
Click here to view Spring 2018 newsletter
Click here to view Autumn 2017 newsletter

We provide support and guidance at all levels of the Arts Award journey.

Would you like to receive a recognised qualification through your involvement in the Arts? Click for more!  We deliver Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award.

Delivery of these programmes can be through either your involvement in a whole class instrumental or vocal programme, your membership to one of our ensembles or through a school project.

Click here to read 'Arts Award & Music Education Hubs' Blog by Lead Officer Jacky Craig.Arts award supporter logo
MPN is able to support organisations and predominantly schools in their Arts Award journey and delivery.

We can either deliver your Arts Award programme for you, within your setting, or we can work in partnership to deliver certain aspects/sections of the Arts Award portfolios thus reducing the workload while broadening the scope of the journey of the students.
Discover - start your arts adventure (around 20 hours to complete, ages 5 - 25)
  • Discover the arts and take part in different arts activities.
  • Find out about artists and their work.
  • Share your experiences with others.
MPN gives schools the opportunity to engage all students involved in a whole class project to embark on this journey of discovery and is well suited to a short whole class project.

Explore – be inspired by the arts (around 25 hours to complete, ages 7 - 25)
  • Take part in arts activities and record what inspires you.
  • Explore arts organisations and artists.
  • Make art work to demonstrate your skills and creativity.
  • Share your exploration with others and record what you do.
This entry level one moderated programme is EQF level one accredited and is a starting point for SEND pupils or students who are not yet 11 years old but want to carry on with their Arts Award journey.

Bronze – get involved in the arts & share your skills (around 40 hours to complete, ages 11- 25)
  • Take part in an arts activity to develop your skills.
  • Experience the arts as an audience member and record your response.
  • Who is your arts inspiration and why?
  • Share your arts skills with others.
This level one qualification, EQF level two is equivalent to GCSE D-G grade and starts to explore the arts in more detail and focuses on the individual’s arts inspiration and sharing a skill. This is well suited to smaller groups of students.

Silver – challenge yourself & build your creativity (around 60 hours to complete, ages 11 - 25) 
  • Set yourself an arts challenge.
  • Review a show, exhibition or event and share your views.
  • Research an artist and arts activities.
  • Get involved in arts leadership, sharing your skills with others.
This is a level two qualification, EQF level three project and is equivalent to GCSE A*-C grade. This is a step up from the previous qualification and expects students to take more responsibility for their progress.

Gold – drive your personal development in the arts (around 90 hours to complete, ages 11 - 25)
  • Extend your arts skills by gaining experience in a new field.
  • Get involved in the arts through volunteering etc.
  • Research and review high-quality arts events.
  • Make a case for an arts issue that you care about.
  • Take responsibility as an arts project leader.
This EQF level four qualification, A-level standard, also carries 35 UCAS points. Gold treats the young person as a “young creative” and expects experimentation, opinions and an arts project. This requires a large commitment from the young person and the advisor. 
Example of a student involved in completing their Bronze Arts Award:
  • This student performed at the Woodhorn miners' picnic as part of this project: “I learnt a lot about the mines at Woodhorn about how the conditions were terrible and lots of people got very ill.”
  • Describe what arts skills you improved: “I believe that my ability has vastly improved as playing at the miners' picnic meant I practised more. Pipes is all about perseverance. I have done that and it has given me a brilliant opportunity to give myself more practice at playing on stage.” - David, aged 12
Music Partnership North is working with Artsmark to deliver high quality arts and cultural education.

Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools and education settings, awarded by Arts Council England, recognising their commitment to high quality arts and cultural education. 

We offer education settings who are working towards, or currently hold an Artsmark Award, with all aspects of their musical creativity. We believe every child should have the opportunity to create, compose, and perform, as well as to visit, experience, participate in and review extraordinary work.

Awarded by Arts Council England, the Artsmark Award will help schools and education settings deliver a high quality arts and cultural education and provides an excellent way to demonstrate this. Artsmark settings gain access to exceptional resources and the country’s most treasured cultural organisations through the Artsmark Partnership Programme.

All aspects of our work are designed to support schools on their Artsmark journey linking directly into the music curriculum and specific guidance can be given to individual schools on developing a musical programme that can have a positive and progressive impact across the whole of the school.   

How to bring creative learning to life

Find out more about Artsmark at Artsmark

To find out how we can support your Artsmark journey, contact Jacky Craig 01670 624040

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