Music education hub

This page has information for schools, parents and students on the music hub in Northumberland.

Information on current events and reminders

The Northumbrian Ranters & Friends In Concert

Saturday 1st December at All Saints Church, Rothbury 7.30pm 

Please come and support the next generation of young musicians as they perform music from both Northumberland and further afield. They will be joined by our young Northumbrian pipe ensemble and a group of young musicians from the Coquet Valley.

Tickets are available on the door £5 adults, under 16’s free. Refreshments available.
For more information please contact

All proceeds to be split between All Saints Church Roof Appeal and Music Partnership North.



Click here to view our Autumn 2018 newsletter.


Register for Instrumental/vocal lessons -
Direct Billing Schools

(The Duchess's High, King Edward VI School, Morpeth Middle Schools, Dr Thomlinson Middle School, Abbeyfields First School, Burnside Primary School) register your child for lessons online at 

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 a range of musical activities for all children and young people, including those in challenging circumstances
  • to support and develop progression routes for all students
  • to work with local communities and educational establishments 
  • to provide continuing professional development and training to both school based and Music Partnership North staff
  • to be committed to the support of musical activities in early years settings
  • to support the aims of The Importance of Music, A National Plan For Music Education, ensuring every child aged five to 18 years:
    • has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument
    • has the opportunity to perform as part of an ensemble or choir
    • has the opportunity to progress and improve their talent 

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

Tel: 01670 624040

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

Tel: 01670 620525

Music Co-ordinator - Richard Johnstone
Manages School Partnerships: Alnwick, Amble, Berwick, Morpeth

Tel: 01670 624047
Senior Administrator - Lesley Scott
Tel: 01670 624045
Business Development Officer - Fiona Johnstone
Tel: 01670 624039
Administration/Instruments - Rachel Robbins & Charlotte Dyson
Tel: 01670 624046

Music Partnership North
Wansbeck Workspace
Rotary Parkway
NE63 8QZ

MPN Instrumental Tutors
Steven Ballantyne
Carly Blain 
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 both Northumberland and Newcastle. 

Please check with your school to see what tuition is available and cost.

We have a number of instruments for hire to children receiving lessons with an MPN tutor. A termly rental charge of £22.50 per instrument is collected via school.

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 different music in different styles and genres. Look on YouTube or go to a local concert or event. This may help you to find an instrument you like.
  • Ask if you can visit a local community band or group to listen to the instruments and talk to the members about their instruments. 
Click here to view the terms and conditions associated with instrumental/vocal tuition.

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

For more details on insurance replacement values, please telephone 01670 624046.
Whole class ensemble tuition (WCET) usually takes place in a first or primary school on a weekly basis. A Music Partnership North tutor, alongside a member of staff from school, will deliver music tuition to a whole class to give every child the opportunity to play a musical instrument.

Our WCET projects are designed to include performance opportunities, either within school, or as part of a wider performance with other schools.

Please contact the designated link officer for your school partnership to discuss further.

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

Click here to view a case study by Herefordshire Music Service, looking at the link between pupils who have been part of a WCET project and their progress in reading, writing and maths.

The music education grant is used to subsidise whole class ensemble tuition.  Schools can apply for a whole class project through the Service Level Agreement at a greatly reduced cost.

To view the 2018-2019 SLA document and link to the online application form click here

If you would like to see our supporting SLA documentation then please click here for the Appendix.

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.

Music Partnership North will offer 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 higher level course. It is expected that students will have attended a minimum of seven out of ten 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)

This page tells you about schools’ music curriculum and how the council supports them.

Curriculum delivery support
We can provide specialist teachers to deliver some of the music curriculum, or to work alongside the classroom teacher to develop their skills.

Schools that have bought into the teaching and learning package can attend any course free of charge. Alternatively, schools can buy into the SLA as a group and courses can be arranged within the partnership area.

Charanga can transform your curriculum delivery by giving you online access to hundreds of resources designed to enhance your music lessons. By purchasing the system through Music Partnership North, we can offer you a discount on membership.

Please click here for further information and to apply for a licence

Early years, primary and secondary network days are run through the year. They’re designed to keep schools and staff informed on musical issues, including current local, regional and national developments, policy and practice.

These usually include a practical element and are an opportunity for schools to keep pace with the ever-changing music education landscape.
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. We can also offer advice and guidance for students contemplating further education in music.

Click here to find out more about the ensembles we offer.

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?  

We meet for evening rehearsals at Morpeth Methodist Church from 6.00-8.00pm.
New members will be asked to come for a short, informal audition.
  • Instruments: Strings, Brass, Woodwind, Drums, Percussion
  • Entry: Grade 3 or equivalent
  • Rehearsals: Morpeth Methodist Church, Howard Terrace, Morpeth, NE61 1HU from 6.00 - 8.00pm
  • Cost: £145 per year
  • Contact:
Additional Information:  Students are accepted into this ensemble at any point throughout the year.  
Please note that students are required to re-apply each year for membership.

Rehearsal & Concert Dates 2018-19 
11th October
15th November
13th December  Christmas Concert at Morpeth Methodist Church
10th January
28th February
21st March
16th May 
17th May  Gala Concert venue TBC

Weekend Residential Course 2018
November 24th & 25th 2018 at Broomley Grange


Do you play the fiddle, flute, Northumbrian pipes, cello, harp, accordion, percussion, concertina, guitar or keyboard?

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

A quote from a parent:
"My daughter has had lots of fun with the Ranters – making lots of new friends – near and far.  The experience has been very important to her musical development.  Lots of opportunities -concerts, residential weekends and tours to Scotland and the USA – 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!"

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: 6.00 - 8.30pm at Morpeth Methodist Church 
  • Cost: £190 per year
  • Contact:
Additional Information

This ensemble requires a high level of commitment as the group are involved in a substantial number of high profile performances throughout the year.

As part of the performance students are required to sing and will have the opportunity to participate in other traditional experiences such as clog dancing.

Rehearsals & Concerts Remaining for 2018-19
10th-11th November  Seahouses Youth Hostel Residential
29th November
1st December  Concert at Rothbury Church
24th January 
27th January  Performance at Wylam Winter Festival
14th March
25th April
9th May
17th May  Gala Concert venue TBC
27th June
6th July

This ensemble is a community based project and membership is made up of both adults and students.

Please click here to find out more about joining Bedlington Community Brass Band!

  • Instruments: cornet, flugel horn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium, trombone, bass
  • Rehearsals: Bedlington Community Centre on a Tuesday evening from 6.00 - 6.45pm (trainer band) then 6.45 - 8.30pm full band rehearsal
  • Cost: Free!
  • Contact: For more info email,

Rehearsal Dates Remaining 2018-19
October 2nd / 9th / 16th / 23rd  
November 6th / 13th / 20th / 27th 
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

Performances Scheduled
September 27th Concert at East Bedlington Community Centre
December 13th Christmas Concert at Morpeth Methodist Church
May 17th Gala Concert venue TBC

This ensemble is sponsored by Bristol Street Motors, Morpeth.


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
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
13th October
24th November
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, 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.

Fiona Johnstone
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. For all other enquiries relating to the ensembles, please contact Jacky Craig.
This page details current projects and sponsorships with external partners, cultural and community organisations.


bedlington brass1-02.jpg

Bedlington to Ashington Building Brass

“Brass is Back”


Following the success of the Youth Music funded 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 first access brass tuition which is funded through Arts Council England.


This new round of funding will see the project expand into Bedlington, Ashington and St Benet Bishop Academies and expand our current project in Meadowdale Academy.  


Students will have the opportunity progress in their ability and will have the opportunity to experience different instruments such as baritone, trombone and tenor horns.  Students will take more of a lead in attending and providing peer to peer support in high scale quality performances such as 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.


The students will also 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. Our Brass is Back project supports young people to develop their creative and social skills, make positive contributions to their community and improve their wellbeing.

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.

Big Sing ‘n Sign for SEND Schools 



Thursday 31st January, Gala Theatre, Durham 10.30am – 2.00pm

Join together with SEND schools from across the region in a celebration of singing and signing!

The exuberant Dr Paul Whittaker OBE will be leading the day with a fun and exciting workshop in the morning, a break for packed lunches, and then we’ll be joined by musicians from Durham music service and the Big Sing ‘n sign will commence!

The repertoire will be sent out to participating schools after half term – but expect a range of fun and uplifting songs your students will love singing.


How to get involved

Email Jo James with the following information:

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

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


£75 per school. (The charge will be made to your school either by internal journal if you are a DCC LA school or by invoice if you are a Durham Academy, Darlington LA/Academy or out of our area)

Coming soon.....
Coming soon.....
The Children’s University is a national organisation that provides 7 to 14 year olds access to exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside of the normal school day.  These activities are known as Learning Destinations.

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.

As well as school based activities (after school, lunchtime or school holidays) Learning Destinations can include, but are not limited to, workshops, lectures, libraries, museums, sports and creative arts such as music.

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 web site:
Information on past events

On the 25th May 2018 Woodhorn Museum came alive to the sound of youth brass bands! Over 400 children from across the Bedlington and Ashington school partnerships came together to celebrate the work that has taken place in their schools during a three year brass regeneration project. 

Through the life of the project students have received weekly tuition on cornets, trombones, baritones and tenor horns.

On the 25th May they all came together for the first time to play at an open air performance like no other! Please click below

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 very busy day with a visit to a care home in Stockport to provide musical support, we then met up with the Fosbrooks and held a Northumbrian tunes workshop. The whole day culminated in a joint concert which was a major success.

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!


Tyne Valley Tunes comes to Corbridge

On Saturday 10th March 2018, MPN came to Corbridge to present Tyne Valley Tunes - a workshop designed to give young instrumentalists their first experience of playing in an ensemble. 25 children from 14 different schools took part.

The group learned and performed material along to backing tracks, supported by MPN tutors and led by tutor and composer Justin Radford. The children said that taking part had helped them improve sight-reading, learn how to stay in time and to play as part of a group. When asked what they had enjoyed most many said “Playing in a big group with different instruments” while one child enthusiastically replied “Everything!”

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

In partnership with the Royal Opera House, Music Partnership North are offering a limited number of schools the opportunity to sign up to this 10 week school based project.

Based on Bizet’s world famous opera Carmen, this KS2 singing programme will inspire a generation of school children to engage with opera through story, character and song.

The programme includes:
  • CPD day on the 26th January 2017 at St Cuthbert's Church Bedlington for up to 2 school members of staff with a director and vocal leader from the Royal Opera House
  • A 10 lesson scheme of work with learning outcomes and curriculum links to be delivered through the spring term
  • 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 will be 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 is the 1st December 2017.

We are committed to providing a high-quality musical and cultural experience for all young people. We provide support and guidance at all levels of the Arts Award journey.

Arts award supporter logo
We deliver Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award qualifications.

Delivery of these programmes can be through either your involvement in a whole class instrumental or vocal programme in school, your membership to one of our ensembles, through a project delivered with our partners or through a standalone bespoke programme to match your needs. 

Click here to read 'Arts Award & Music Education Hubs' Blog by Lead Officer Jacky Craig.
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 with TB. The air was full of coal dust.”
  • 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

For more information on Arts Award, please contact 01670 624039
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

Policies and guidelines for Music Partnership North - Northumberland.