Just back from the Scottish fleadh

Just back from the Scottish fleadh in Motherwell. What an amazing amount of talent from our young musicians. Hosted by Taylor High School (surely the ugliest high school ever built – closer to a nuclear bunker than a school), there were hundreds of young people playing amazing tunes. I really enjoyed just entering the place. As you walked through the doors the music just hits you and as we walked the corridors to my son Charlie’s whistle competition, the quality of the musicianship in some of youngsters was breathtaking. The Ceoltas in Glasgow must be providing the majority of Scotland’s best young musicians. St Rochs school on a Tuesday night (where we go) is home to the Irish Ministrels branch. There are at least 120 young people from the age 5 to 20 there every Tuesday all playing the music. They all enjoy it but the thing I’ve noticed over the years of knowing these guys is that the kids all listen to traditional music. So many of the young folks I’ve taught over the years don’t listen to the music in their spare time which completely misses the point of playing traditional music. You’ll never be any good if you don’t listen it. You’ll never understand the nuances of what makes a great reel, song etc.

At St Rochs all the tutors are volunteers and they all work very hard for the kids. The main man is Frank McArdle. What a guy! He has given his life to teaching the kids music (and maths) for 30+ years. But more than that he has created and nurtured a generation of great musicians and invested in them a love and understanding of music. On a Tuesday night many of his original students are back with their own children and it all starts again with Frank leading the way. He needs an Award!

On another note Tinto Summer School is nearly full which is fantastic. If you would like more information check out www.tintosummerschool.com.

I heard an amazing piece of music yesterday by Arvo part. It was his setting of the Robert Burns poem My heart’s in the highlands. Check it out http://www.footstompin.com/public/forum?threadid=478930

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