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 is a guitarist/singer from Jedburgh. Growing up around the traditions of the Scottish Borders he started playing the guitar aged 12. Bringing this to a new level he embarked on the prestigious Folk and Traditional Music course at Newcastle University where, through specialising in performance and composition from the Scottish Borders, he achieved a BMUS Honours Degree. During his time in Newcastle he co-founded the award winning Rachel Hamer Band. Their debuting album ‘Hard Ground’ was boasted by Folking as “exceptional2 and managed to get itself a 4 star review in ‘Music Republic Magazine’. In his career Graeme has extensively toured throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia, United States, Canada and played at the World Rainforest Festival in Borneo, with bands and musicians such as Carly Blain, Black Market Tune and Ideoms theatre group. Joining Talisk in 2017 he brought a new lift to the band growing it from strength to strength resulting in them being crowned the 2017 Folk Band of The Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. Graeme balances his touring with teaching and has been teaching groups and 1:1s at The Merlin Academy of Traditional Music for the past 4 years and 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.
Benjamin Williams – Melrose & North Berwick – Piano
Benjamin Williams is a certified pianist and teacher. Ben has recently relocated to the Scottish Borders from London. Ben started his music education at the age of 14. He has gone on to win numerous competitions and had lessons with renowned artists including Pascal Rogé, Christopher Elton and Edna Golandsky. Ben gained a First Class Honours in his Bmus Degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance under the guidance of Mikhail Kazakevich. Amongst Benjamin’s performing career, his proudest performance was of Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh. Ben has taught Piano for the past thirteen years to students of all ages, abilities and educational needs. Ben’s students regularly achieve Distinction in their Theory and Practical examinations. In 2017 he was awarded an LTCL in instrumental teaching. Benjamin is passionate about offering lessons within a safe, fun and supportive environment.
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.