Here’s a list of our current tutors and the main instruments they teach;
Andy Gray – Guitar (Acoustic & Electric): Melrose & North Berwick
Andy started playing the guitar (electric) at 15 years old. Mainly influenced by rock music, he had tuition from Sound Control in Dundee for an number of years before playing in a rock covers band in and around Tayside. It was not until the early 2000’s that he started to become interested in acoustic guitar. This coincided with the opening of the Merlin Music shop in Melrose where he was properly introduced to the traditional/folk music scene and was soon attending local sessions. 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.
Iain Fraser – Fiddle: Melrose
Iain Fraser is a Fiddler and Fiddle Teacher. His 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. 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 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. He’s taught at many summer music camps – The Sunshine Coast School, Rocky Mountain Fiddle School, Swananoa Gathering, Valley of the Moon, Lusaka International School and Southern Hemisphere Scottish Fiddle School amongst many others. Iain has been our fiddle tutor and music director for the last 7 years and is very passionate about offering high quality tuition in a fun relaxed environment. Iain leads the Merlin Academy Summer School every year and runs our Fortnightly Fiddle Club.
Linzi Coulson – Fiddle : Melrose and North Berwick
Linzi started playing classical violin at school and in her teens played with the Fife Youth String Orchestra as well as singing in the Fife Youth Choir and enjoyed performing in wonderful venues such as Culross Abbey and Dunfermline Carnegie Hall. After graduating from university she worked and travelled across Europe including spells as an outdoor instructor, cook and trainer before settling in the Scottish Borders and returning to her passion, music. 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 and is PVG registered. Linzi teaches/offers Group lessons and 1:1’s.
Kathy Stewart-Kennedy – Voice: Melrose
Singer-songwriter Kathy Stewart-Kennedy began her career as a studio back-up singer for the likes of Davy Steele, Dick Gaughan and Silly Wizard. As a resident of the Scottish Borders for over 30 years Kathy has retained her American identity in her original songs and with her band, The Frequent Flyers, yet at the same time has been influenced by her love of the Scottish Borders; the music, the land and the many people she feels so fortunate to know. Her most recent CD, “Almost Home” is a reflection of this and features much loved and respected Borders musicians such as Merlin Academy’s Iain Fraser and Selkirk pianist, Rod Ward, to name a few.
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. Kathy offers 1:1 tuition, adult, teenage and children’s singing groups. She teaches in Melrose on a Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lewis Powell-Reid – Guitar, Piano Accordion, Bouzouki, Mandolin: Melrose
Lewis is a multi-instrumentalist who plays various acoustic music styles, and is particularly interested in Scottish/Irish repertoire, and Eastern European music traditions. He studied Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University, winning the Harry Clews prize for his final recital. In addition to teaching at Merlin Music, he performs with several groups including the Matt Seattle Band, Horovod (Balkan and Klezmer music), and in a duo with Morag Brown. Lewis also works with the charity Live Music Now, providing performances and workshops in special schools, care homes and hospitals. Lewis is PVG registered. Lewis teaches/offers Group lessons and 1:1’s.
Helen Leach – Piano Tutor Melrose
Born just down the road in Hawick, Helen enjoyed a rich and diverse musical upbringing in the Scottish Borders, becoming Principal Clarinet of both the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and National Youth Chamber Orchestra of Scotland. Gaining a place to study clarinet, piano and academic music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, a Virtuosi Society bursary enabled a period of study with Gervase de Peyer in Washington DC. Helen graduated in 1996 going on to follow an exciting and varied career in and around Manchester for many years whilst raising a young family. As well as teaching, performing and directing across a huge spectrum of styles, she has directed the music for live BBC broadcasts, including her own compositions and arrangements on Radio 4. Helen is delighted to have now returned to her homeland with her husband Simon and their children and is loving her new lifestyle in this beautiful part of the world, combining instrumental and theory teaching with composition. Last May she composed a Fanfare and arranged music for Prince William’s trip to Edinburgh and she is currently working on a new commission for Marchmont House in Berwickshire.
Helen is delighted to join the Merlin Academy and is warmly looking forward to meeting the students and enabling them to develop their own skills and love of music.
Frazer Watson – Drums & Percussion – Melrose
Frazer Watson BA(Hons) has been performing since the age of 14. As well as experience with theatre and cruise ships, he has a diverse range of gigging experience from punk to jazz and funk to folk with numerous BBC radio appearances such as; The John Peel Sessions, Celtic Connections, Mary Anne Kennedy Show and Global Gathering. He regularly performs with Horovod Balkan Ensemble, Matt Seattle Band, Crafty Beggars and The Stevie Creed live hip hop band.
Frazer also has many years of experience teaching both drums and percussion
in groups and individually. Frazer is PVG registered.
Lucy Spratt has been playing and teaching woodwind for over 25 years and is a qualified teacher. Starting out as a clarinettist and pianist, she enjoyed playing with numerous groups, gradually acquiring a broad repertoire. After graduating from Newark School of Clarinet Making and Woodwind Repair, she worked as a flute specialist, broadening her interests to playing and teaching flute and saxophone.
Lucy currently teaches clarinet, piano, saxophone, flute, ukulele, recorder and whistle in classical, folk, blues and jazz styles. Lucy is keen to share her love of music and believes that anyone and all ages have the ability to learn. She is passionate about offering high quality tuition within a fun, supportive environment. She teaches group lessons as well as 1:1s. Lucy is PVG registered.
Alison has been teaching and performing for over 10 years. She began learning piano aged just 4, and picked up violin at age 12. She studied under many tutors, learning Scottish fiddle with Lauren McColl at the Junior Academy RSAMD (now RCS) in Glasgow, and classical violin and piano with local tutors in East Lothian.
She studied Music at Aberdeen University, specialising in classical violin and piano, but continued pursuing traditional music in her free time.
Upon completion of her BMus degree, she moved to Glasgow to complete a masters in traditional music performance. She studied fiddle under the tuition of Marie Fielding and Alistair Mcculloch, and piano with James Ross.
She has performed worldwide, touring America, performing in Budapest, and teaching workshops in Norway. She also performs regularly throughout the UK, and has appeared in the Royal Military Tattoo, Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Taste of Scotland show. She is also a member of multiple ceilidh bands and performs for events all year round.
Alison loves teaching, and being able to pass her passion for music on to other musicians of all ages and teaches within a safe, welcoming and very supportive environment.
Momo Low – Piano Tutor – North Berwick (Thursday)
Momo has been playing piano for 13 years now and love’s passing on his passion to keen students. Momo received professional tuition in order to work his way up the ABRSM grades with a view to teaching the Piano himself. Momo performed at many local events which helped hugely with his own confidence in playing the Piano which further inspired Momo to teach this wonderful instrument to others. Over the years he has learnt quite a diverse repertoire of pieces from genres such as: Classical, Pop, Japanese contemporary and Jazz and Rock. Teaching has become as much of a passion for Momo as playing is, and he loves to create an ambition in students rather too. Momo teaches within a safe, supportive and welcoming environment and is fully PVG registered.
Ewan Gibson – Guitar (Acoustic & Electric) and Bass (Electric): North Berwick
Ewan has been playing and studying music for 30 years and has taught professionally since 2007. As a seasoned session musician he currently works as bassist with both Siobhan Wilson and Nicole Smit. He also has host of other experience recording and touring internationally with bands such as The Blueswater and 2011 Scottish BAFTA nominees The Black Diamond Express. More recently he was Assistant MD and guitarist for the White Album Live at 50 Band. Along this journey he has studied music at North Glasgow College, AMS Scotland and in 2017 graduated with Honours (1st) in Popular Music from Edinburgh Napier University.
Ewan teaches most styles and abilities of guitar and electric bass. Whether you’d like to learn you first simple folk tune, build confidence with music reading, study jazz and blues walking bass techniques or just enjoy playing along with your favourite rock, and pop songs then Ewan can help you achieve your goals in a fun,engaging and supportive environment offering either 1:1 or group lessons. Ewan is fully PVG registered.