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.
Donald Knox – Guitar (Acoustic & Electric): Melrose
Donald started teaching guitar at the Merlin Music shop way back in 2008. He then moved with Merlin to teach at the Merlin Academy from 2011. Donald has many years of experience and has been playing the guitar for over 40 years. He has been a full-time musician since 2005. Donald teaches acoustic, electric and bass guitar in groups and on a 1:1 basis on a Wednesday.
Graeme Armstrong – Guitar (Acoustic & Electric), 4-string Banjo, Mandolin & Rock and Blues: Melrose
Graeme is a guitarist/singer from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. He is a graduate from the Newcastle University Folk & Traditional Music Degree. Graeme currently plays with The Rachel Hamer Band and is part of a due with Kelso fiddler Carly Blain. He has toured many countries, including Australia & Kazakhstan. Graeme teaches many genres, however he specialises in Traditional Scottish Music.
Gordon Campbell – Pipes: Melrose
Gordon had his first changer lessons from his father Allan at the age of 4. He played with many bands during his school years including Aberdeen Caledonian and Carluke Caledonian and progressed to guest with the Lanarkshire Police Band (Grade 2), whilst still at Hamilton Academy. On moving to Aberdeen University, Gordon played with the OTC Drums & Pipes, eventually leading them as Pipe Major to play at a Private Audience for the Royal Family in Balmoral Castle during The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year (1977). During this time he received instruction from many famous pipers including R. B. Nichol, Jack Taylor, Ian Duncan and Bert Barron.
On graduating, Gordon became a part time instructor at the College of Piping in Glasgow, under Seamus Macneil and then went to work in Pitlochry to join the Vale of Atholl band while they were in Grade 3 where he stayed until they won the European Championships in Grade 1 (1987).
In 1988, Gordon had the chance to become a full time Piping instructor, dividing time between Fettes College and Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh. He also became the Pipe Major of The Links of Forth Band and led them to Scottish, British and European Championships in Grade 2 (1991). The band produced a successful folk/Pipe Band CD “Out of the Blue” in 1993.Since 1981 Gordon has continued his links with the Army piping as Pipe Major of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt UOTC, 2/52 Lowland and 71 Royal Engineers and is currently a Lt in the Merchiston Castle CCF. He has taught on a part time basis at Glenalmond since 1999 and is currently Master I/C Pipe Bands at Merchiston Castle School.
Iain Fraser – Fiddle: Melrose & North Berwick
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 as well as our open Stage performances and concerts at the Abbotsford House.
Jessica Bennett – Piano & Saxophone: Melrose
Jessica has been teaching Piano and Saxophone on a Thursday at Merlin for the last 3 years. She is also a music teacher at an Edinburgh High School. She graduated with a BMus degree from Edinburgh University and gained her performance diploma on Saxophone (DipABRSM). Whilst at university Jessica developed her practical skills on both Saxophone and Piano. She has been a long term member of the Edinburgh University’s Jazz Orchestra and has featured in the Edinburgh University’s Symphony Orchestra.
Jo Wormell – Piano: Melrose
Jo has been teaching Piano at Merlin for the last 5 years. She took an interest in playing the piano at age 8 and for 15 years studied with Austrian born Elizabeth Sellers, whose teacher was taught by the Hungarian composer Bella Bartok. She went on to study violin making at the violin college in London and then moved to Cambridge to work for four years with violin maker Juliet Barker. During this time Jo had her first taste of teaching, in evening classes and summer schools for violin making and still visits Cambridge each year to teach at the summer schools. Jo still takes great pleasure in giving students the joy of music.
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.
Lena Ewan – Woodwind: Melrose
Lena has been teaching woodwind at Merlin for the last 4 years. She studied at Edinburgh Napier University as a Classical Music (BMus) student with Alto Saxophone being her main instrument. There she also learned Tenor Saxophone, Flute and clarinet and took many modules including Music Therapy, Music Psychology, Performance, Acoustics and Instrumental teaching. She also has experience in teaching double reed instruments such as Bassoon and Oboe.
Paul Capaldi – Accordion: Melrose
Paul has been teaching music for the past 33 years from beginners to grade 8/diploma including theory. He has achieved qualifications which include Associate and Licentiate Diplomas of the British College of Accordionists (performance and teaching). Paul has been in a Scottish Country Dance and Ceilidh band leader for the past 25 years.
Scott Jamieson – Drums: Melrose
Scott has taught drums for around 10 years. He started teaching in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire in 2007 before moving down to Edinburgh to study BA Popular Music at Napier University. During his time at Napier he continued to host drum workshops each summer back in Inverurie.
As well as teaching, he performs with ensembles on a regular basis. He is part of one of Scotland’s most in-demand function bands ‘The Jets’ and is also a member of a weekly residency band at The Jazz Bar in Edinburgh.