Welcome to Manor Music City

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. 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. From June 2021 please email us to let us know if you’re interested in this opportunity. 



Year 7/8

Every student in Year 7 and 8 studies our ‘Core’ programme. This helps all students to build on the musical knowledge and experience they have gained before arriving at Manor, and equips everybody to be able to engage in MMC activities. 

The ‘Core’ is an intensive course to ensure all students have confidence in describing music using the correct language, and they develop true understanding by experiencing and exploring practical music through a range of activities. All students learn to control their voices to create music. All students have the opportunity to own an iPad and when these are introduced after term 1, students are challenged to record, edit and mix a song, helping them to see how different musical parts work together. Students are challenged to develop critical listening skills and excellent production values even at this early stage. In the final term of year 7, students begin to analyse familiar melodies to learn how to read and perform music from notation and to experience examples of music by a range of composers in terms of tempo, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, articulation, timbre, melodic shape and purpose. 

Entering year 8, all students learn to play the piano using their built-in musical ability. They learn how to control pitch and rhythm to be able to perform accurately with a given pulse. Students are challenged to improvise and to compose variations based on a given melody. Students perform melody and harmony parts, separately and together. Students return to the analysis skills work from year 7 to consolidate that type of learning. They analyse a famous film melody involving more advanced melodic features, and then record and edit it to play perfectly using technology. The project is developed into a 6-part texture with contrasting sections to support a narrative. This is the students’ first experience of a Performance Via Technology (PvT), which is an option in the GCSE course. By this time, students must control more complexity in the texture of their music while continuing the excellent production values and musical accuracy. Finally, to end the ‘Core’, students produce music for a defined purpose, composing music to a given client brief for a new video game. 

By the end of the ‘Core’, students will understand how music works and be able to apply the knowledge independently to perform, to perform using technology and to compose short phrases with a specific purpose, having learned to read notation and to listen critically to a range of music. 

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 the iPad and will 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

From the ‘Core’ onwards, 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:

Our MMC+ Activity Leaders

JULES MOCK-MORTON

Jules Mock-Morton has over 15 years experience teaching all ages and styles of singing whilst enjoying a career performing all over the world with bands and musical theatre productions. Jules moved to York to complete her MA in music at the University of York before studying for a PhD in music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Jules has conducted the Yorkshire Youth Choir, led nationwide choral festivals, directs international music summer schools & regularly conducts a large community choir as well as directing musical theatre productions for York based amateur theatre companies. Having enjoyed taking lead roles in many well-known productions including Sweeney Todd, We will Rock You, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jules currently coaches singing to students all over the World via her SuperSing vocal studio. Jules joined our tutor team at Manor in 2019 and is already helping students to boost their confidence through her great energy, enthusiasm and encouragement.

MARCUS BOUSFIELD

Marcus studied Violin with Haroutune Bedelian at Chethams school of Music in Manchester and with Erika Klemperer at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He studied Guitar with Fred T. Baker at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music. He has worked as a freelance musician in both this country and abroad travelling as far afield as South Africa. He has been an instrumental teacher in York for the past 20 years and plays with several ensembles and orchestras including the English National Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra as well as York Opera. He has performed with renowned international artists, including soprano Angel Blue, tenor Alfie Boe and Classic FM’s presenter and singer of the Snowman theme tune Aled Jones. Marcus has written, arranged and recorded string parts for groups including Shed Seven with music featured on BBC Radio 1. His quartet performed for the Queen on her visit to York and he has appeared on BBC Television and Radio.

JOHN MARLEY

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. 

ANDY JENNINGS

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’.

IAN CHALK

Ian is Musical Director of York Music Forum and York Jazz Initiative leading 6 educational ensembles for all ages and abilities. As well as being the Brass Tutor for Manor CE Ian also teaches in other schools and universities. Ian performs in jazz clubs and festivals throughout the UK and has been the trumpet player in local party band Huge for the last 20 years.

AL MORRISON

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.  



Students Opt-ing in and regularly attending at least one MMC or MMC+ Activity will open access to MMC Club performances, events, concert trips, masterclasses and workshops. The friendships you’ll develop by engaging in music regularly together will be unique. To continue to celebrate your involvement in MMC, Club members will be invited to keep-in-touch via MMC Alumni. From the moment you begin your journey at MMC you’ll inspire others in the way you make music. MMC Alumni creates opportunities for you to continue to inspire younger musicians and for our community to continue to celebrate your future successes with you.



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 as such we have several support packages available to help. 




Year 9

In the spring term of year 8, students can choose to continue their curriculum music lessons into Year 9. The year 9 course is more advanced, enriching everything learned so far with greater challenge. Projects are designed to enable all students to confidently progress to GCSE Music in year 10 if it becomes one of their option choices. 

The year 9 course takes students deeper into music to be able to write and control it with greater detail, precision and understanding. Students are challenged to broaden their vocabulary greatly, and study a range of musical styles through the ‘Tune of the Week’ interactive project. The course is very practical and, in smaller classes, and using technology, students learn how to compose their own complete pieces of music. There are also more advanced Performance Via Technology projects, open mic opportunities to perform for instrumentalists and singers, and Portfolio and Playlist projects. 

Students choosing not to continue to year 9 music are very welcome to continue with MMC and MMC+ activities and instrumental/voice lessons.



Year 10/11

The highest academic course we offer is the AQA GCSE Music 8271. Having developed in their chosen instrument, their voice or using technology in the time before year 10, and having learned to compose in year 9, the GCSE is very much designed to allow students to specialise in creating and performing their music in a style of their choosing, while exploring many musical genres. Year 10 and 11 students receive 3 hours per week of curriculum time and dedicated 1:1 support as needed. Students are each allocated an Apple Mac music workstation to use during lessons as well as at lunchtimes when the department is open. GCSE students are encouraged to come into the department regularly, where they will find a great sense of community with other young musicians. 

To complete their GCSE Music there is one listening exam (marked out of 96) in the summer of year 11 counting for 40% of the overall assessment. The listening exam consists of 8 questions requiring students to use their knowledge of the elements of music to identify musical features in several unfamiliar excerpts. These 8 questions are grouped as Section A, marked out of 68. Section B (/28) assesses student understanding of two study pieces, which are pieces we will listen to and analyse in detail as part of the course.

The other 60% is assessed as coursework. 

GCSE Music Coursework

  • Compose one piece of music with a minimum duration of 1 minute 30 seconds. Submit an audio recording, a score and a programme note. The music can be written in any style and for any instrument or group of instruments, but it must have a specific purpose. (15%)
  • Compose one piece of music with a minimum duration of 1 minute 30 seconds. Submit an audio recording, a score and a programme note. The music should be based on one of 4 composition briefs given to students in September of Year 11. It can be for any instrument or group of instruments. (15%)
  • Perform a solo piece of music with a minimum duration of 2 minutes. An instrumental or voice performance must be recorded in exam conditions. Alternatively a PvT of the same minimum length may be submitted. In both cases a score is required and if the music is intended to be performed with an accompaniment or backing track, these must be included in the exam conditions recording. (15%)
  • Perform a group piece of music with a minimum duration of 2 minutes. An instrumental or voice performance must be recorded in exam conditions. Alternatively a PvT of the same minimum length may be submitted. In both cases a score is required and if the music is intended to be performed with an accompaniment or backing track, these must be included in the exam conditions recording. (15%)

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. 


For students aspiring to higher-level study in music, we recommend this pathway.

MMC Masters Pathway

Year 7&8

Get the most out of ‘Core’ by learning how to be a VIP in Music. Use the MMC on-demand music teaching and interactive coursebook (on iPad) to independently learn more and use the WordWall to help you to learn a wider range of musical language. Look out for class competitions. ‘Opt-in’ to make the choice to aspire to excellence in music. This choice alone gives you access to MMC Club, which opens up activities and performance opportunities. Join at least one singing activity and one playing activity. If you don’t already play an instrument, choose one to learn to play and ask for specialist tuition. You can buy your instrument from any shop and ordering through school will save you 20%. Decide when you’ll do your daily practise and when to work on your technique. Talk to your tutor about the opportunities available to you for graded exams. When you pass a graded exam, complete the form on the Manor website to add your result to the MMC Wall of Fame. Go for it! Look forward to the friends you’ll make and the confidence you’ll build.   

Year 9

Continue everything you’ve been involved with in Years 7 and 8, but now aspire to becoming a leader in music. VIPs, Opt-in, On-Demand Teaching and MMC Club will become even more important to you. Independently, and using the community and support available, you’ll be able to explore music extensively. Increase your daily practise time. Research post-16 and post-18 options and begin to make a plan for what you’d like to do in the future. Continue your singing and instrumental activities and look to perform at every MMC event. Look-out for additional opportunities through MMC Partnerships. Apply to join regional/national groups. 

Year 10/11

Choose GCSE Music. Continue to use everything from Y7, 8 and 9. Continue to play music and sing in regular rehearsals and perform at every opportunity. Look for opportunities in rehearsals and performances to lead younger students. Use MMC Partnerships to find advanced opportunities to engage in residentials and masterclasses. Split the focus of your practise into 3 parts. 1. Music for graded exams. 2. Music for your GCSE Performance. 3. Music for your ensemble activities, both at MMC and in regional or national groups. Know which Post-18 provider you’re aiming for and apply for your 6th form place.


Coming Soon…

Coming in 2022. Our ‘Spark @ Manor Music City’ project will create support for our feeder primary schools and opportunities for students in year 5 and 6 access to MMC instrumental and voice tuition, activities, performances and competitions. 

The MMC T-Shirt is £12. These are available to MMC students, staff and parents. To create a ParentPay link to order, please indicate this when you complete your son/daughter’s MMC registration form.



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.

Author: davelowemusiceducation

Dave Lowe MA PGDip PGCE(M) BSc(Hons) MMA SLE - Currently Director of Learning: Performing Arts & Head of Music at Manor CE Academy, York - Specialist in Music Education using Technology - Author of "How to Write Great Music" (Lulu Publishing, 2015) - National examiner and moderator for GCSE Music Composition

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