Updated 21.09.20

Now (Re-)Open

Northern Music Academy:
'The Conservatoire for Where You Are'

Today, any safe community relies on three things:

i) Washing Hands Well - with soap and water!
ii) Wearing a Face Mask when Around Others
and most important of all -
iii) Always Keeping a Safe Distance

Welcome to 'Safer Sound' at nma

All this, and wonderful music too. You're going to love it!

#Darrell & Eileen Priestley

News * Developments * Updates

Rock (Cake) Music




08.04.20 – Eileen Priestley

Are you finding while we are in the lock down that you are taking more time over meals? I mean, what’s the hurry, we aren’t going anywhere for once and it doesn’t really matter what time the meal is!

I’ve started baking again. I haven’t done this for ages. I never seemed to have time, and when I tried to bake I found myself looking at the clock all the time. I started to dislike baking because it started to invade my time.

I did home economic class, ( it was always called ‘cooking class’), for one year at high school. I loved my teacher, but was never very good at cooking. I remember on the very first lesson the teacher saying.’When you get home your Mother will probably tell you that I’m doing everything wrong, and I’m going to say to you, everyone has their own way of doing things and this is my way”. Right from that moment I really liked my teacher, Mrs White, because I knew my Mum would say exactly that when I got home and she saw the recipe I had written down. Forty seven years later and I still have and still use that same cookery book. Each recipe getting harder the further on you go.

For Christmas 2019, I wanted to give my two adult children a special gift. I came up with the idea that I would copy out my old school recipe book, one copy for each of them. But I wanted to do a little bit more than just copy out my old school cookery book. So I started adding their Grandma’s baking recipes, close family members and close friends started adding their favourite recipes. The two books started to become very special and the look on the faces of my two grown up children said it all. I knew those two books would always be treasured.

I thought some of our younger students might like to try one of the easy recipes. So here it is:- (No apology for ‘proper’ imperial measurements!)

Rock Cakes



  1. Heat oven Gas No. 6, Electric 400 (These are old settings, I would put my oven on 175). Grease a flat tin.
  2. Sieve flour salt and spices, if used, into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Add margarine, chop into small pieces and rub in.
  4. Stir in the currants.
  5. Add beaten egg and milk. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Pile in nine rough heaps on a greased baking tin.
  7. Bake in a hot oven for about twenty minutes until golden brown and firm.


Socially Distanced Excercise is Cool!




05.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

Hi Everyone, the shortest of posts today. It’s an amazing Sunday morning, but of course, no trip to the seaside! I’ll be getting my daily exercise while enjoying the freshest air I can ever remember breathing on a solo bike ride. I’ll give other riders a wide berth, but wave a cheery hello (we’re a very friendly breed) as I pass at a safe distance. Sixty minutes in the sunshine will help compensate for a week spent mostly indoors.

Commendations to all for doing such a fine job of socially distancing. It’s not an idea that comes naturally, but it’s the right thing to do now, for sure, and none of us can ever really know the number of lives we saved by isolating. Looking back on this years from now, we will all be proud of what we did in the pandemic.

In normal times, we may tell someone ”You’re a life saver!” Now when we say it, it’s actually true. A Pat on the back for you today, because YOU ARE AWESOME!

Post Script: I’m now back from my ride, which honestly was a bit surreal. Even in the 1970’s when I began to venture further from home on two wheels, I don’t ever remember the roads being so quiet. Odd, but blissful. I’m surprised I didn’t see any deer, they often pop up when there’s no cars about. There were a few other riders, and several couples and the odd parent with child out for a constitutional walk in the quiet lanes, and pretty much everyone said hello to me. Strange how isolation begets friendship and cameraderie.

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