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Free online traditional music tuition service launched to ease lockdown blues; Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise back music tuition bid

By Hector MacKenzie

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Robbie Greig is amongst the top musicians taking part.
Robbie Greig is amongst the top musicians taking part.

AN arts organisation has launched a new free online music tuition service to help people learn traditional music and Gaelic skills at home during lockdown.

Under the banner of FèisTV and with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, a video series of traditional music lessons, at different levels, has been created in Gaelic and English to support those with no Gaelic, learners of the language and fluent Gaelic speakers.

The Oide – or tutor in Gaelic – series currently offers lessons in accordion, fiddle and Gaelic song, with more instruments available soon, thanks to further funding from the Scottish Government.

The lessons, which are suitable for all ages and abilities, are led by some of the most experienced traditional music tutors in the country, including accordionist Ian Smith from popular folk band, Trail West, fiddler Robbie Grieg, who plays with electronic folk bank, INYAL, and singers James Graham, Eilidh Cormack and Deirdre Graham.

With more than 70 video lessons at levels appropriate for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners, the resource promises something for everyone, allowing people to continue their musical creativity or even learn a new skill during lockdown.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s chief executive, Arthur Cormack, said: “It was always our plan to develop our FèisTV resource to offer online music lessons in addition to live streaming of events. Normally these lessons will be part of a paid subscription service, but we are delighted to offer this new service for free at this time whilst people are safely at home and looking for activities to keep themselves going. We are grateful to the funders who have enabled us to develop this resource.”

Laura Nicolson, project officer at Fèisean nan Gàidheal said: “As part of the new programme #cleachdiaigantaigh, in which we are involved together with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Comunn na Gàidhlig and other Gaelic organisations, Fèisean nan Gàidheal will deliver more live events online in the coming weeks.In the meantime, we hope people will get some enjoyment and new skills from the Oide video lessons.”

Steven Kellow, funding and project officer at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “We welcome this resource which is extremely useful in supporting music tuition through the medium of Gaelic. Fèisean nan Gàidheal and other groups have been working hard to produce resources through the #cleachdiaigantaigh / #useitathome initiative and we are grateful for the creative opportunities like this they have delivered at this challenging time.”

The Oide video lessons can be found online at https://tv.feisean.org.

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