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.
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 duo 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 chanter 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.
Linzi Coulson – Fiddle : Melrose
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.
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.
Lewis Powell-Reid – Guitar, Piano accordion, Bouzouki, Mandolin: Melrose & North Berwick
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 now also teaches at Merlin Music Academy North Berwick on a Sunday.
Sam Cracknell – Piano: North Berwick
Sam Cracknell is a professional pianist, keyboard player and tutor. From the age of 4, he was taught piano and quickly fell in love with the instrument. Through childhood, he played mostly classical music and won many piano competitions alongside his brother, earning acclaim in and around his hometown, Bridge of Weir. Sam soon became interested in jazz and more contemporary musical styles through which he learned to love music theory. In 2017 Sam earned his BA(hons) in Popular Music. Sam is passionate about offering high quality tuition but within a fun, supportive environment. He teaches group keyboard lessons as well as 1:1s. Sam is PVG registered.
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.
Freya Rae – Flute/Whistle/Clarinet/Saxophone : Melrose
Freya is a multi-instrumentalist hailing from the Scottish Borders,
she works in a wide variety of settings as a performer, composer and teacher and has a wealth of practical experience on her instruments, flute, whistles, clarinet and saxophone!
She graduated in 2013 with a 1st in performance from Newcastle University’s BMUS Folk and Traditional music degree and has since toured and recorded albums with Manx music group Birlinn Jiarg, Holiday Club and Freya Rae & Louis Bingham. She is very passionate about finding different ways to encourage learning and enjoyment of music, she is aware that everyone learns differently and the most important outcome is that her students enjoy learning and playing music!