Tag Archives: Mike McGeary

International Guitar Night

On Friday 9 March Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall (map here) is hosting an International Guitar Night, featuring Brian Gore , Lulo Reinhardt (great-nephew of Django Reinhardt) and Adrian Legg.

My lifelong friend, Mike McGeary, Principal Officer Instrumental Music for City of Edinburgh Council, has managed to arrange an free, one-hour concert for pupils – and has extended this offer to pupils in East Lothian Schools. This will also take place in the Queen’s Hall (soon to be scene of our annual Showcase Concert) and will run from 4:00-5:00.

I should stress that this is not an organised school trip. Pupils are expected to organise their own transport – either with parents of friends. Once there, I can vouch for their being instrumental pupils in our schools. Pupils can ask me for more details in the two lessons which remain before that date.

Click on the hyper links for each player to take you to their individual websites – or visit YouTube for more idea of their styles.

Edinburgh International Guitar Festival

Guitarists in the Edinburgh/Lothians area may be interested in this year’s Edinburgh International Guitar Festival, run by my friend and colleague, Mike McGeary. Amongst other things, the weekend (23/24 Sept) features two recitals in Duddingston Kirk (map here) – both of which are open to the public:

Friday 23 Sept at 19:30 – Sean Shibe (2011 Gold Medalist in ROSL Annual Music Competition) – read a crit where The Herald’s Michael Tumelty explains how Sean ‘turned him on to classical guitar’

Saturday 24 Sept at 19:30 – Allan Neave, Lecturer in Guitar at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

During the day of Saturday 24, Allan will be running a workshop and masterclass.

You can see/download details of all the above here: Festival Brochure 2011

YouTube Guitar Videos

YouTube guitar videos vary enormously – from the teenage enthusiast who, having switched on the distant videocam, rushes over to the bed to play – to the more seasoned performer who has someone filming them and high post-production values.

Videos of the latter type are to be found on the channel of Roman Gurochkin. Three great videos feature the dynamic Asya Selyutina playing Preludes and Fugues by Nikita Koshkin, whom I once had the privilege of meeting when my friend, Mike McGeary, organised a recital and master classes by this maestro of guitar performance and composition.

Prelude and Fugue in F#m[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/rnQJqAxQMiY?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Prelude and Fugue in Am[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0nUuvxGdLGk?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Prelude and Fugue in A[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/YDxYmhze5Do?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="https://www.youtube.com/v/45-o8NxFIX0?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I’m also very taken by this sensitive, wistful performance of a “Ground” by Henry Purcell by Nataly Makovskaya. I really can’t tell if she is reading music, or simply looking straight ahead and listening keenly. What do you think?[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/rF1g7JimbKs?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Allan Neave – Guitar Recital

As part of the Edinburgh International Guitar Festival, Allan Neave is to give a recital at 7:30 on Friday 1st October in Duddingston Kirk (click for map). The programme includes works by Bach, Koshkin, Dyens, Falla, Barrios and Albeniz. Tickets (£8/£5) are available on the door, from Academy of Music & Sound (click for map), 1 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HY, Phone: 0131 656 0600 or from the organiser, Mike McGeary on 07884 007 240.

Having seen Allan play a few times, I can confidently recommend this recital!

Here is pdf for those who wish to pass on info to friends/colleagues etc.

Allan Neave Recital

See you there.

International Guitar Night

My lifelong friend and professional predecessor at Musselburgh Grammar School, Mike McGeary, dropped by there last week to see me – with an offer for East Lothian guitar pupils. In his capacity as City of Edinburgh Council’s Principal Officer for Instrumental Instruction, Mike is involved with the outreach side of the current International Guitar Night tour. In addition to the gig at our own Brunton Hall, the members of this outfit are putting on a concert/workshop for pupils in Portobello High School on Friday Oct 2 from 2:00 – 4:00. Entry price to pupils is a mere £5.

There is ample video footage on the tour diary site but, to give you a more immediate idea of the three players involved, have a look at the videos below.

Lulo Reinhardt (great, grandnephew of Django Reinhardt)[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/s5nNJki6nsM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

 Itamar Erez[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/1CrAZOeM6lM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] 

Brian Gore[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/flys8VqaszM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] 

Search for Portobello High School on Google Maps here.

National Instrumental Conference 1

In a previous post I mentioned how a necessary part of being an instructor, who truly wants to be part of school life (as opposed merely to using the buildings) is to absorb whole-school ideas and consider how they relate to the very specific nature of our work. Our five annual In Service days are slightly different in that, without feeling divorced from our institutions, we are more at liberty to discuss the specifics of our practice without alienating the remaining 99% of the staff. 

There are currently 21 people in the East Lothian’s Instrumental Service so you can imagine the relative intensification of taking part in a one-day conference of Scotland’s 900 instrumental staff. The conference was the fruit of a partnership between Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland (HITS) and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama (RSAMD) – with the generous support of The Scottish Arts Council. The venue was Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall with some of the activities spilling over into the nearby RSAMD and National Piping Centre. 

Fittingly, the day opened not with words, but with music and dance – specifically samba drumming, dance and capoeira performed by Rhythm Wave – a mixture of students and staff of Perth College, led by founder, Ronnie Goodman, a lecturer at the college. It would be difficult to imagine a more rousing beginning to the day. 

This year’s chair of HITS, Mike McGeary, then welcomed us before introducing Adam Ingram, MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years. We were then invited to make our way to the first of our two chosen workshops. Across the day, the choice comprised: 

  • ASL – Drake Music Scotland – Making Music Accessible – with Brian Cope

  • Bagpipes – with Paul Warren

  • Brass – with Steven Mead

  • Conducting – with William Conway

  • CPD: Online Support – with Sheila Smith

  • Curriculum for Excellence – with Alan Armstrong & Aileen Monaghan

  • Early Years: Focus on Instruments – with Andrew Cruickshank

  • Early Years – with Naheed Cruickshank

  • Expanding the Electric Guitar’s Creative Potential – with Jonathan Quinney

  • Group Teaching – with Richard Crozier

  • Guitar – with Martin Taylor

  • IT – Music Notation Another Way? An Introduction to Finale – with Chris Swaffer

  • Jazz – with Malcolm Edmonstone

  • Kodály: The Relevance of Kodály Musicianship to the Training of Young Instrumentalists – with David Vinden

  • Lower Strings – with Elizabeth Harre

  • Percussion for All – how orchestral percussion can give access to a range of musical opporunities – with Elspeth Rose

  • Piano For All – with Havilland Willshire

  • Technology for the Rock & Pop Musician – with Craig Blundell

  • Traditional Music – with Josh Dickson

  • Upper Strings – with Géza Szilvay

  • Voice – with Christopher Underwood

  • Woodwind – with Pete Long

  • World: Samba, Reggae Brazilian Rhythms – with Ronnie Goodman

  • World: The Indonesian Gamelan – Cultural Connections In Scottish Education – with Gamelan Naga Mas

I’ll go into the particulars of the two workshops I chose in subsequent posts, but I’d like simply to sum up here some of the feeling of the day. Naturally I had come along prepared to learn but had not really figured on the inspirational and emotional content of the day. Much of the inspiration came from John Wallace‘s keynote speech. Trumpet in hand, he reminded us how music, and the arts in general will allow our students lasting freedom and individuality of expression. In the hurly burly of lessons, rehearsals and concerts it’s all too easy to forget that! Possibly the inspirational nature was due to John being not only a distinguished educator (Prinicipal of RSAMD) but also a world class musician. The old Shavian maxim “he who can does, he who cannot, teaches” was never more resoundingly refuted. 

However, furthering musical youth being our raison d’être, the greater part of the afternoon session was given over to to young talent: Nicola Benedetti (violin); Karen Geoghegin (bassoon); Ian Watt (guitar) and Pure Brass. 

In addition to the expressive performances, there was the additional emotional content of meeting up with old college pals (some of whom I hadn’t seen since 1979) and former colleagues (some of whom I hadn’t seen since the Lothians went their separate ways in 1996).

Ann Cruickshank

This Friday sees the retirement of Ann Cruickshank after 33 years of service to Musselburgh Grammar School’s Music Department. As this coincides with the beginning of the October holiday, Ann decided to throw a retirement ceilidh/party last night in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange. It was a fantastic occasion and Ann was clearly over the moon to be sharing the evening with so many friends and colleagues, past and present.

The ceilidh music was provided by Laurie Crump and friends. Laurie is the husband of MGS’s universally popular, and boundlessly talented Woodwind Instructor, Juliet Aspley. Between ceilidh sets, there were sessions of lovely solo jazz guitar by Robin Robertson.

Lifelong friend and guitar predecessor at MGS, Mike McGeary and I also performed a short, affectionate send-off to Ann. Between us, Mike and I represent 26 years of collegiality with Ann and it’s always nice when a send-off takes the form of the activity that brought us together.

Always one of the first in the building each morning and with barely a day’s absence since 1975, Ann will be a much missed member of staff.

Thanks for everything, Ann, and don’t be a stranger now.