Meet our Percussion Teacher

Mr Matt McDonough has been our Percussion Teacher since 2010. Here is a little about him and his time at City of London School:

As a young student, I studied at Trinity College of Music on the Bmus Jazz course under Bob Armstrong, alongside playing with the National youth Jazz Orchestra and various other Classical Orchestras, shows and pop groups. Whilst at Trinity, I was offered a world tour with a Canadian group which, over 4 years, led to performances in over fifty countries along with every state in America (except Hawaii). We released a number of albums and appeared on many international stages, arenas and television programmes. After 4 years living abroad, I returned to the UK performing and recording for many different artists, tours, events and shows including Thriller Live, We Will Rock you, Little shop of Horrors, Legally Blonde on Tour and The Brit Awards.

Since 2013 I have been a composer and recording artist for the music exam boards Trinity College London, and London College of Music, with pieces published across grades 1-8 and both of whom run music exams up to diploma level. I also hold the certificate for music educators and deliver teacher development workshops to music services within the UK.

I have been teaching at CLS since 2010, having previously worked at other Independent schools. I had come to know of the fantastic reputation of music at CLS through not only the education network, but through professional colleagues alike.

Aside from teaching Drums and Percussion on an individual basis here, alongside Mr Crockatt, I help run our Jazz department, in addition to taking Orchestral percussion section rehearsals and involvement with School theatre productions. Further to this, I teach Junior class lessons in Latin American and orchestral music. It’s a very busy role!

For me, CLS provides an incredibly supportive environment for the pupils to thrive musically and not only offers a very wide range of musical activity, but continuously creates new, unique opportunities which I’ve not seen anywhere else. For example, every single pupil in Year 6 (OG) and Year 7 (First Form) receive free lessons for the year on an instrument of their choice. This means that we discover talents in the pupils which ourselves as teachers, the boys themselves, and the parents may not otherwise have known about, and it is one of the very reasons we have such a high standard of music here. This forward thinking approach to musical education, along with an incredibly dedicated department of professional musicians, makes working here very enjoyable.

Highlights over the past few years have included taking our Big Band and Jazz Quintet to Peter Gabriel's studios where we recorded the first-ever Jazz department album “Instant Jazz”. Additionally, conducting the Jazz Orchestra in the Final of the National Wind Band Festival at the Royal Northern College of Music (the orchestra received a Gold award!) and trips to Ronnie Scotts for our Sixth Form Jazz Orchestra leavers. 

Further to this is, of course, seeing pupils develop from beginners and working up to a very high standard of playing. My students both past and present have received Scholarships to Berklee College of Music in America, the Royal Academy of Music Junior Jazz department and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Each day is different and my work week is varied due to everything we have going on in the School Music Department. Here’s an example of a Wednesday:

  • Morning: Drum kit/Percussion lessons - one on one tuition for ten pupils
  • Afternoon: Latin American music/Orchestral music classes
  • After school: Big Band rehearsals/Orchestra/Combined Cadet Force training
  • Evening: School show production/School concerts

Alongside my music career, I am one of the CCF (Army section) officers at school, helping to train our young cadets as they work through their CCF commitment.

I’m passionate about passing on my experience to the next generation.