Category Archives: Additional Pages

Mary McMahons/Miss Lyons

Six play-along midi files of Mary McMahons/Miss Lyons are now available for download, from the Guitar Group Support (midi files) page. This is our third item for the East Lothian Showcase Concert (Friday 16 March at 7.30 in Musselburgh Grammar School – a fantastic hall for guitars).

If you can, try to sit in the middle of the speakers while practising or listening, to get the most out of the overlap/spatial effects in the first song. It is these overlapping effects which bring about the unusual rhythms in Guitar 2 and Guitar 3 parts in sections 1 – 8. In you speakers these parts will seem a few centimetres away. In the hall, they will be more like 5 metres apart.

The articulation (which notes are joined and which are separate) can be picked up and copied effortlessly by listening to and playing along with these files.

Thanks to all for an excellent rehearsal on Friday. I have invited our genial hosts at St Mary’s Primary to listen to our three items on the last rehearsal which is Friday 9 March.

A Typical Friday?

Friday’s are, by their nature, are rarely typical. This should be a busy one, so I’ll squeeze this in now.


Musselburgh Grammar School – including full staff playtime when news is disseminated. The atmosphere is always very cheery.


East Lothian Guitar Ensemble Rehearsal – chez our kind hosts at St. Mary’s Haddington. The third and final piece in our programme for the East Lothian Showcase Concert (Friday 16 Mar) will be unveiled.


NBHS Burns Supper – where a small group of guitarists, together with a singer, will be providing the musical input. These pupils will also have been at the rehearsal mentioned above.

This occasion threw up an interesting spin-off of having this blog. A former pupil, who has piped many a haggis to the top table, was keen to join the guitarists by was of a reunion. I emailed the music and directed him to the play-along files on the blog. A face to face rehearsal was just not going to be possible. It’s nice to have sufficient confidence in former pupils to be able to say, “I’ll see you on the stage.”


Having stumbled across, and been referred to, many interesting guitar performances on YouTube, I decided to create a list of links here in the hope that pupils (and anyone else interested) might find some inspiration. Enthusiasts of CDT might be interested in the extraordinary guitar played by Andy Mckee in a piece entitled Into The Ocean – and perhaps also in the interior design of the room where his recordings take place. The link is in the sidebar on the right, at the bottom of the Pages section.

Corn Rigs

Thanks to all who volunteered to play in the NBHS Burn Supper. There are now 5 playalong midi files (4 verses long) on the Guitar Group Support Page – speeds range from 70 to 110. Good luck with your rehearsal on Thu – see you next Tuesday.

Just to confirm the deal – all players are offered free entry to the ceilidh which follows the supper. The band is one of the best around – The Robert Black Ceilidh Band – featuring the internationally reknowned Dave Swanson on drums! Be there, or wear tartan flares.

A Guide To Home Practice For Parents

I’ve been deliberating for a while on ways of putting together a guide to home practice for parents. The ideal beneficiaries of this would be parents keen to be involved and supportive, but with little personal experience of formal instrumental instruction.

Preparation involved running it by management for approval, and a few parents for feedback. The general consensus was “could it be pruned a little?”

It struck me that the main reason for its original length was that factors of both primary and secondary were being described in the same document. The answer seemed to be to create two discrete versions – now visible on your right.

Thither page

Quicker to get off the ground than the Pupils’ mp3 Performance Page will be the Guitar Group Support Pages (on your right). One of these, will include all the parts of an arrangement (notation and tab, where appropriate) so that pupils can access parts other than the one they have been assigned. The idea is to broaden their knowledge of the piece and also to give them more idea of how arrangements are put together. Many will go on to submit “inventions” in SQA exams and exploration of this type should prove helpful.

Already up and running is the “midi file” branch of this page. Continue reading Thither page