Free music sessions to help aspiring musicians

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Scotland’s national music school is launching a series of free online music sessions which will be open to all young musicians practising at home while their schools tackle Covid-restrictions.

Starting with two workshops for the flute, St Mary’s Music School, is providing the additional resources to support music education across Scotland and encourage those learning to play a musical instrument to stay positive and motivated.

Led by St Mary’s Music School teacher Lis Dooner, who played with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for 25 years, the flute workshops will cover breathing techniques and musical phrasing. Both will be a mix of live introductions and commentary and pre-recorded material.

Divided into sessions suitable for Grade 3 and below and Grade 3 and above, participants will be able to follow instructions on screen and ask questions during the sessions. Teachers are also welcome to attend. Taking place on January 28 and 30, the flute sessions have already attracted more than 100 young musicians and teachers.

Other sessions with expert tips and friendly advice, technical nitty-gritty, help with practice and music theory are in the pipeline. Details can be found on the St Mary’s Music School website,

Dr Kenneth Taylor, headteacher of St Mary’s Music School, said: ‘It is important that we continue to encourage our young musicians. Music complements all learning and contributes to the wellbeing of pupils, so we are delighted to offer our resources to those who can’t get face to face with their teachers.

‘We have worked hard to create engaging and effective music lessons online and we’re happy to share that experience with other teachers and pupils.’

Talking about the flute workshops, Lis Dooner commented: ‘The sessions focus on simple techniques and exercises to improve playing skills. We use a demonstration lesson between pupil and teacher as an example, and those at home can play along or simply watch. The aim is to have some fun and provide some useful practice and instruction.

‘As human beings we derive a powerful and fundamental benefit from seeing and interacting with people “for real”. As musicians, that need is even more palpable and is core to how we develop and grow our craft. As a teacher it is a hugely important part of what we do and how we teach. I am really delighted to be hosting these sessions and hope that they support our young players.’