Teaching and promoting the Scottish Harp..
When Patsy first started to learn the harp there were probably no more than 100 players at any level in the country, mostly using the instrument to provide basic accompaniment to traditional songs. Her work has helped to put the harp onto the stage and then into centre stage. Her own harp arrangements and original compositions are now played, and recorded, by many hundreds of accomplished players in Scotland, and worldwide.
Patsy has contributed to the Edinburgh Harp Festival almost every year of its 27 year history as a performer, teacher and organising committee member. This festival is enormous fun and an excellent introduction to the harp for potential players.
Patsy has always enjoyed teaching individual lessons and in group settings at workshops, courses and festivals, at all levels from complete beginners to advanced. She teaches pupils in several Edinburgh schools, including St Mary’s Music School and St Margaret’s. Complementing her own teaching, Patsy has recently been involved in developing the national Grade Exams in Traditional Music both as consultant and examiner.
In 1995 Patsy was asked to create the harp syllabus for a new degree course in Scottish Music at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) in Glasgow. Since 1996 she has been teaching on this innovative course, influencing many young players of Clarsach and other instruments.
Teaching Singing and Song
Patsy recently completed the 12 month postgraduate ‘Sound Progressions’ course run by The British Kodály Academy at Roehampton University, on practical music-teaching and its underlying philosophy. She is now exploring its potential for teaching traditional music. She is employed, part-time, through the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) to teach music in Edinburgh schools using the Kodaly method. As well as helping to instil musical awareness into young children, and to introduce a range of traditional songs, this teaching is proving to have wider benefits for social development and learning behaviour of children. And it is fun for all!
Patsy’s Kodaly training has also led her to take on a new role as a leader of The National Youth Choir of Scotland in Midlothian.
Now and Next...
In 1999 Patsy became a mother to Jamie, so became more home-based and developed a local solo performing and teaching career, including providing music for local weddings and other social and corporate occasions. She has been playing more fiddle, at pub sessions, and with Jamie she is now a regular at Fiddle Force gatherings round the country. Life is fun but often complicated, organised round Jamie’s school, teaching commitments, concerts and short tours with Sileas and The Poozies, with spice added by sudden requests from the BBC to sing and record on remote islands! Look out in November 08 for the BBC2 programme on Scottish history. Other exciting current projects (2008-2009) include being Artist-in-Residence at the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University, performing at the Spanish Peaks Festival, in Colorado and at the Whare Flats Festival in New Zealand and a new kitchen! All this is made possible by wonderfully supportive and flexible friends.
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