Traditional Music Summer School

Welcome to our 6th Annual Summer School and to our fabulous new location of Abbotsford the home of Sir Walter Scott which runs from Tuesday 8th – Friday 11th August 2017

Eventbrite - 6th Annual Merlin Traditional Music Summer School


2017 Summer School Info.

Welcome to Our 6th Annual Summer School and to our fabulous new location of Abbotsford the home of Sir Walter Scott. The Summer school runs from Tuesday 8th to Friday 11th August inclusive and classes will be taught in the beautiful house and grounds of Abbotsford House, the Historic House where Walter Scott wrote many of his novels. The new location is easily accessible by rail to Tweedbank and a great variety of accommodation is available in the nearby towns of Melrose and Galashiels.

The summer School is led by our Music Director Iain Fraser who will be offering classes in fiddle and mixed instrument groups. We will also have Kathy Stewart offering vocal harmony & song writing classes and our special guest teacher Ed Miller from Austin, Texas will be offering classes in Border Ballads & Traditional Scots Song

All instruments and ages are welcome including Fiddle, Voice, Guitars, Piano, Accordion, Drums/percussion (give us a call if you are not sure). for 4 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. In the registration form we have three levels for you to choose from;

Improving Beginner: You’ve been playing for a short time but can feel your 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 match to your current level.

Teaching Material

We use a combination of guitar and other tabs, chord charts, IMG_20150813_141447notation and learning by ear to teach tunes and arrangements. It also helps if you can bring a recording device and a music stand.

The Summer school is an intensive experience that is as much about creating a healthy participative and sharing musical community as it is about developing instrument skills and so the evening activities are an important part of the week that should be regarded as part of the experience. There will be a Tutor Concert, Talent Show, Community BBQ, Singaround plus much more.

On the Friday evening participants will have the opportunity to share the material we’ve been working on with friends and family.

Teachers Confirmed so far

Iain Fraser, who has a world wide reputation for leading and teaching Music Camps and workshops as far afield as Canada, the USA and New Zealand.  Iain is an inspirational musician who is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge. Between 1990-1995 he took on and developed the Glasgow Fiddle Workshop from a small group meeting in his house to a broad range of classes operating in central Glasgow. He’s been actively involved and supportive of the Feisean movement for almost 30 years – primarily with Feis Rois. He was principal fiddle teacher in the Scottish Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland between 1995-2005 before being appointed Head of Instrumental Music for the Scottish Borders Education Authority until 2011.

Kathy Stewart is our delightful resident vocal coach, singing teacher and native New Yorker. Kathy has been performing and teaching from her base in the Scottish Borders for over thirty years. Not only does she have a beautiful voice herself, she works magic on other voices too and she’ll be leading our harmony group, offering whole school warm ups, teaching songwriting and help us integrate voices with the other instruments. We’re delighted that she will be with us once again.

Ed Miller is joining us for the first time as our special guest tutor and will be teaching Border Ballads and Traditional Scots Song. He has been hailed as “one of the finest singers to come out of the Scottish Folksong Revival” and as “one of Scotland’s best singing exports.” Originally from Edinburgh, he has for many years been based in Austin, Texas, where he earned graduate degrees in Folklore and Geography at the University of Texas. In addition to having recorded 9 CDs of Scottish songs, Ed is a tour leader, speaker, radio host, and teacher. He is sought after for concerts, clubs, house concerts, festivals, Highland Games, Burns Suppers, lectures, and workshops.

The four day summer school will for the first time be held in the house and grounds of Abbotsford House and will include at least 5 hours of teaching, lunch, snacks and hot and soft drinks and all our evening activities every day.

May at Abbotsford

Registration & Cost

You can book and pay for the summer school online by just clicking on the Summer School 2017 button below. You can book for more than one person but you need to complete the registration details for each person.

The fee to cover the four days of classes, evening activities, lunches and refreshments is £285 for adults and £250 for young people 16 and under.

Come along and join us for this magical, musical journey and meet some wonderful folk along the way.  We cant wait to see you all!

Eventbrite - 6th Annual Merlin Traditional Music Summer School


Hostel Information

Friends of Nature House,

Tel: 01573 420639

Jean Muir Student Accommodation
Heriot Watt University Residences
Tel: 01896 892274

Bed and Breakfast

Dunfermline House
Tel: 01896 822411

Old Bank House
Tel: 01896 823712

Tel: 01896 822984


Burts Hotel
Tel: 01896 823712

The Station Hotel
Tel: 01896 823147

The Buccleuch Arms
Tel: 01835 822243

More accommodation details can be found at: