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Making a song and dance

Teachers interested in traditional music were given a teaching taster at a weekend of workshops held by the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh last term.

The group, part-funded by the Scottish Arts Council and affiliated to the Adult Learning Project (ALP), a City of Edinburgh Community Education organisation, provides classes, workshops and social events throughout the year.

The weekend workshops, aimed at non-specialist teachers of all levels, from early primary through to late secondary, were tailored to help teach traditional music to children. "They're aimed at anybody who wants to find out more about traditional music, dance and song," explained Scots Music Group development worker Ros Gasson.

"The idea is to give them the confidence to be able to teach children. It's about helping people to become more involved in their local communities."

Roots and Rhythm workshops focused on injecting rhythm into tunes, for players of the bodhran, guitar, accordion and percussion, as well as a step dance class.

Most of the workshops were geared towards teachers who already had a reasonable grasp of playing their instrument.

Power of Song workshops included harmony singing, songwriting, chorus songs, Scottish lullabies and accompanying song with bodhran, as well as a soloists' masterclass and a workshop titled Let the Bairns Sing, exploring how to encourage children to join in.

The Power of Song is the Scots Music Group's annual community celebration of the human voice. The workshops are open to all, and singing experience and the ability to read music are not required.

The workshops, held at Boroughmuir High and St Oswald's Hall, both in Bruntsfield, also included ceilidh dancing. "We try to make what we do as accessible as possible to different groups," said Ms Gasson. "We're really teaching teachers to teach children of all levels."

* www.alpscotsmusic.org

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