Tag Archives: Transition


Always a nice end of term event – a trip to Law PS with a troupe of NBHS guitarists to play for P7s. Normally seniors fulfill this role but as many are out of school at the moment on trips, a group of S1/S2 pupils took on the job. Three of these pupils were in the audience last session, when in P7. With the younger pupils we were able to demonstrate some of the pieces and techniques that new pupils will meet in a few months. At the end of the gig, the pupils huddled together for a group photo:

Loose is not the same as slack

At this time of year the formal timetable often yields to entertainment, liaison and evangelism. Apart from the obvious benefits, this removes the incongruity of final lessons where no homework is given and no sense of urgency obtains.

Here are a few examples of recent and pending events:

Fri 13th

The Big Gig @ MGS. This event always involves self-taught pupil bands, dance groups, staff performances (usually comical) and a staff-student band. This year a new element was included in the staff-student House Band which had interesting consequences – a horn section. As the horn parts had to be arranged and written out, this meant that the band had to adhere to and memorise the structure. The rehearsals were definitely a little more fraught than usual as there was clearly more discipline than some would have liked in their spare time, but the results made it all worthwhile and I feel sure that all involved felt that they’d raised their game.

Mon 16th

Campie PS – guitarists from P5-P7 put on a concert of ensemble and solo music for P4 pupils. The audience contained next years new guitar players, and I was bowled over by their rapt attention. The situation also includes an opportunity for the P4s to question the existing players about what is involved in learning an instrument at school.

Tue 17th

Four S3 guitar pupils from NBHS will accompany me on a trip to Law PS to play for the P7s. This coincides with the eve of the P7 pupils’ visit to the High School and so there should be an extra edge to the transitional feel of things. The P7s eduBuzzers plan to podcast the event so keep an eye on the Law PS blog. There will also be time for questions at this event.

Thu 19th

MGS Summer Concert. There should be a doubly transitional feel to our Guitar Group this year. We are to be joined by two extremely enthusiastic P7 pupils from Wallyford PS and also by two former pupils who, as they are coming in to lend a hand with sound-mixing, will no doubt join the ensemble. This means the age gap between youngest and eldest will be 8 years (I’m not including myself in this equation). In addition to playing in our own ensemble, some of the pupils play in the orchestra, jazz band and a new traditional music ensemble.

Wed 25th

P7 Leaving Assembly @ Wallyford. I can’t be at this event as I’ll be in another school but will be present in digital form – on a CD to accompany the pupils. This will be a new discipline for them as a CD can’t jump to their aid like a teacher.

Fri 27th

Retirement Assembly @ Wallyford for a much loved member of staff. The plan is to bring six former pupils across from MGS so that, along with the P7s we can play, for the pupils and staff at this send-off. I can’t think of a nicer way to end the school year.


What better way to start the day than to sail past your normal school, and enjoy the beautiful drive from Haddington to Gifford on a sunny morning? Senior moment? Wrong turning? In fact it was a Transition-based event featuring three S2 guitarists from Knox, returning to their old school to play for current Yester pupils.
They seemed delighted to be there, as was I – it’s a lovely, bright and welcoming school and it was clear from converstaions beforehand that Dorothy Hilsley, the Head Teacher, remembered not only these pupils well, but also their older siblings.
We played a selection of repertoire from lessons and finished with an ensemble piece – the three pupils involved were among the only five S2 pupils to take part in this year’s East Lothian Guitar Ensemble. The ensemble piece allowed us to demonstrate how pupils practise ensemble music at home using the Guitar Group Midis page. The class teacher, Mr Purves, was also very interested in this aspect as he is the technical brains behind Yester Primary’s very impressive blog.
In addition to having a fun hour out of school, we hoped that the audience will have a more vivid idea of what guitar instruction is all about when they arrive at Knox. The trio also racked up extra house points – a triple whammy as, by an amazing coincidence, all three are in Lammerlaw – as was I thirty-odd years ago.