Traditional Music Summer Camp Scottish Borders / Scotland for Adults/Children/Kids


Welcome to our 9th Annual Music Summer Camp which runs from Sunday 2nd – Thursday 6th August 2020 
Open to Adults/Children/Kids All Instruments / All Abilities 
Residential, motor-home, camping and course-only options available

Due to the huge success of last years’ Summer Camp at the Haining House we are delighted to announce that we will be returning to the Haining House, Selkirk, Scottish Borders again for our 9th Annual Summer Music Camp!

About The Haining House

The Haining is a park and woodland estate landscape centred on an A-listed, classical house and loch, developed mainly in the late 18th to earlier 19th centuries. The house and grounds were used by the military during World War II and in 1944, the older house that had stood adjacent to the present mansion was mostly destroyed by fire. Having sold the estate, the core policy grounds of The Haining were repurchased by descendants of the same Pringle-Pattison family in 1959 and remained in the ownership of the last estate owner’s grandson, Andrew Nimmo-Smith, until his death in 2009. In his will, Nimmo-Smith gifted the house and immediate grounds to the town of Selkirk.

Selkirk is an attractive town extending from the hilltop location of its Market Place and High Street down steep slopes to the impressive old woollen mills and more modern industrial estates along the valley of the Ettrick Water.

The Merlin Academy Summer Camp will have exclusive use of The Haining House estate for the duration of the camp.
Motorhomes and tents are welcome!

Summer Camp Info

Adults and children/kids alike and all instruments are welcome including Fiddle, Voice, Guitars, Piano, Accordion, Drums/percussion (give us a call if you are not sure) for 5 days of great music, sessions, food and the opportunity to learn from some of Scotland’s finest musicians.

You will be learning and playing tunes, improving your technique and invited to come up with arrangement ideas. Teaching will be mainly in mixed instrument classes but with regular break out sessions for back line, melody players and voices.

As a general guide to levels, you will probably get more out of the experience if you are not a complete beginner. When you book you will be asked to confirm your level.

Improving Beginner: You’ve been playing for a short time but can feel you way around the instrument and can play a few tunes or chords.

Intermediate: You’ve been playing for a couple of years and know a dozen or so tunes or can play a few by ear, although not necessarily up to speed. Or you can accompany songs or tunes from chord charts given to you.

Intermediate/Advanced: You’ve been playing for longer, can play tunes more or less up to speed or accompany songs and tunes by ear. Can sight read tab or notation quite well.

It would help us plan classes if you can choose what you think is the closest mach to your current level.

Summer Camp Tutors

Mixed Instrument Tutors Iain Fraser & Guest Tutor Ian Lowthian

Fiddle Lessons with Iain Fraser

Iain Fraser
Our Summer Camp is led by our Music Director Iain Fraser. Iain’s
teaching includes group workshops, helping people young and old to pursue their musical dreams, as well as making music a fun social experience available to all.
Iain has been our fiddle tutor and music director for the last 8 years and is very passionate about offering high quality tuition in a fun relaxed environment.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Guest Tutor is Ian Lowthian who will be leading the mixed instrument groups alongside Iain Fraser as well as working with all accordion players.

Ian Lowthian
Ian Lowthian was born and bred in the Scottish Borders where he learned the piano accordion. He has worked with many artists on the traditional music scene and has worked as a session musician on many recordings, most notably with Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) on his album ‘Kill to get Crimson’ and the score of the film ‘A shot at Glory’.

He is a prolific composer of mainly traditional music and has composed many pieces for children’s ensembles and folk orchestra. He is constantly making arrangements for Folk bands in the schools.

On hand for extra help and support will be our resident Merlin Tutors Andy Gray (Guitar) and Linzi Coulson (Fiddle)



Andy has been teaching guitar for the last 8 years and is passionate about making music inclusive, fun and engaging.   His tuition encapsulates many different styles, genres and techniques.  Andy has obtained Feisan Nan Gaidheal tutor qualifications.
Andy is passionate about offering high quality tuition but within a fun, supportive environment. He teaches in groups and 1:1s. Andy is PVG registered.




Linzi has been our resident Fiddle Tutor at Merlin for the last 3 years.  After Discovering Merlin Academy of Traditional Music and under the stewardship of Iain Fraser, Linzi has rekindled her love of Scottish fiddle and now delights in sharing her passion with others in writing, performing and tutoring.

Singing Workshop Leader – Kathy Stewart Kennedy PLUS
Guest Tutor (to be announced)

Kathy Stewart-Kennedy will be leading workshops in Traditional and Contemporary Ballads, Singer/Songwriting and Vocal Harmonies.  Kathy will be joined by a guest tutor to run additional workshops alongside her.

Kathy has been teaching Singing & Harmonies at Merlin Music Academy for a number of years now as well as being involved in many of our events such as our yearly Summer School. As a Natural Voice Practitioner and Vocal workshop facilitator, Kathy welcomes students of all ages who wish to improve their technique, gain confidence, learn performance skills or to ‘find their voice’ in a safe and relaxed environment.

All of our Summer Camp Tutors are PVG Registered

Accommodation Options

The Ettrick & Yarrow Apartments
We have two self-catering flats available on site for guests to stay in.
The Ettrick Flat comprises of two double bedrooms allowing 4 guests to stay
The Yarrow Flat comprises of one double and one single bedroom with room for 3 guests.
Both flats are a stones throw from The Haining House

Motorhomes and Tents also Welcome
We are very happy to welcome Motorhomes and Tents. Please be aware that this will be wild camping and no hook-ups are available.
To book a Motorhome or Tent space please select the relevant option from our Add On section when you book.
Motorhome and Tent spaces will be located at The Haining House.

Ticket Prices Starting at:
£450 – Non-Residential
£400 – Non-Residential Under 16

One Day Pass option also available (applicable for Monday only) -includes all-day workshops, evening activities and meals.

Please note: Course only tickets available

All ticket options include lunch & evening meals*

To book a space at the Ettrick or Yarrow flats, a motor-home or camping space please book a Non-Residential Course Ticket and select a room ticket, Motor-home or Tent/Camping from the Add-On section

* Excluding Trad Feast when you are invited to bring a dish to share.

No refunds will be available after May 31st 2020. Should a refund be requested administration charges will apply.

Further accomodation options can be booked directly at the following hotels:

The County Hotel
The Philipburn House Hotel
The Glen Hotel