The Barnyards o Delgaty
An example song worksheet from Amy’s Scots Sang and Language Project, with pupil worksheet and Teachers notes.
Scots Song & Language Tutor
Singing Group Leader
Amy uses her friendly and enthusiastic personality to share her passion for Scottish heritage and culture through its beautiful music and song.
Her ability to engage people with her fun, relaxed and earnest teaching style means she is much in demand to work with several groups and projects throughout Scotland and overseas.
Amy is the founder and tutor of one of the leading community singing groups in Scotland The Liltin’ Lassies and co-designer and educator of the successful YMI funded Scots Sang & Language Project.
Brought up in Dunblane, Amy’s love for Scottish and traditional music was forged early on in life. Growing up in a musical home, she was constantly surrounded by song, history and humour which has nurtured both her fun and enthusiastic personality and a great passion for her Scottish heritage. She started singing publicly in her teens at Dunblane and Stirling folk clubs, and community singing group, Singin’ Stirling at the Tolbooth.
Obtaining her Honours degree in Scottish Music from the RSC (formally the RSAMD), meant she had the privilege to study under and be mentored by some of Scotland's most respected Scots traditional singers and musicians, such as Alison McMorland, Gordeanna McCulloch, Karine Polwart and Brian McNeill. Shortly after graduating, she was a finalist in the 2008 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Competition, and in 2015, she was nominated in the Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year category at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.
Whilst still a student, Amy realised her skill, passion and enthusiasm for educating when she began tutoring for youth projects at the RCS, and in 2007 set up successful women’s singing group The Liltin’ Lassies as part of her honours degree. The group was nominated for an award at The MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in 2010 and continues to grow and flourish under Amy’s inspirational teaching and organisation. This has led her to be invited to teach several other singing groups, becoming a tutor for Angus Folk, Blackford Sings, Song Squad and The Wighton Singers, to name but a few, and is a popular choice as a workshop leader for many other groups around Scotland.
In 2008, in partnership with Carolyn Paterson and the Tolbooth, Stirling she co-designed a Scots Sang & Language Project where, through Scots Song, she helps cultivate an understanding and introduction to Scotland’s beautiful language, fascinating heritage and culture in primary school aged children. This has been delivered to children at primary schools all across the Stirling and Clackmannanshire area with great success, and was nominated for Community Project of the Year at The MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in 2014.
Her humorous, relaxed delivery, as well as her all round enthusiasm and love of teaching ensures that her pupils learn quickly and efficiently in a fun atmosphere, meaning that the music and language that she is so passionate about is shared and passed on to children and adults from all walks of life.
Started by Amy in 2007, The Liltin' Lassies is a fun, community singing group for women, located in Dunblane. It started as a traditional music based group, but its repertoire soon expanded to include pop, rock and world music. Classes are friendly, relaxed and sociable and all women who enjoy singing are welcome to join.
The group was started in 2007 as a piece of coursework for the honours year of my degree in Scottish Music. It ran initially in the spring for 8 weeks and was a huge success, so I decided to continue it for another term in the Autumn and it has been running ever since. We have recorded a few wee CDs and taken part in many gigs and events over the years. In 2010 the group was delighted to be voted as one of the nominees for Community Project of the Year at MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.
There are two groups per week, held on Monday and Thursday, and both are run in the Dunblane Cathedral hall. Monday's class is held in the Leighton room and Thursday’s class in the Helen Lamb room. The Leighton room is upstairs on the first floor, and the Helen Lamb room is on ground level. This is sometimes subject to change, but there is a white board at the main entrance, which marks this clearly, and the hall is well sign posted inside.
Both classes are held between 7 - 9pm. There are either four or five terms a year (depending on when holidays are etc) and are generally 8 weeks long. The price for an 8 week term is £48, though there are sometimes slight changes if they are 9 or 10 week terms. If you can’t make your regular class, then you are very welcome to come to the other to sing that week or any other, to make up your full quota of classes.
The emphasis of the group is to learn the music and harmonies by ear in the traditional style, which means the music is accessible to all. Song sheets are given to all and as the teaching is oral, there is no requirement for the ability to read music (Though sheet music is sometimes available to those who would like it). I generally teach everyone the melody of the tune and then let everyone hear the harmonies in order that people can choose which part they'd prefer to learn. You do not need to stick to a certain part once you join Liltin’ Lassies (e.g. Always a low/alto).
We do all sorts of songs, a lot of rounds and canons, and a lot of Scottish and traditional songs as that is my particular area, however we cover songs from other genres, such as gospel, world, rock and pop. We have an extensive repertoire already, but if something is being sung for a performance we will always practise it to within an inch of it’s life so that everyone’s confident with it. And, I’m always on the look out for new songs to arrange, so if you have any suggestions I’m always really happy to hear them.
There are no auditions, you just need to come along and see if it’s for you, I only ask that you enjoy singing. There is absolutely no solo singing unless you volunteer to do so, and I will never ask you to volunteer. Also, as previously mentioned, the words are given out so although on occasion I may ask if you can learn something off by heart, there is never any pressure to do this. It’s helpful if you know where you are comfortable singing, higher (soprano) or lower (alto) (or you might be in the middle), though don’t worry, we can figure this out if you're not sure.
Normally, fees are paid up front and it is a set fee per term. I recommend coming to the first class and seeing if it’s for you before you commit to paying for the group. It’s very rare that people don't like the class, but it’s a very laid back, social, friendly group, and I am a definite blether, therefore it’s not like a traditional choir. But we DO get really good results and work hard :-)
We perform gigs, hold social events, go on trips and sing at festivals and concerts. Both groups are very friendly and welcoming and we always love getting new members. There are between 50-60 of us in total, split between the two classes. The groups are separate, but come together for occasional practices, gigs and events.
If there is anything else you would like to know or ask, please don't hesitate to contact me.
In partnership with the Tolbooth (Stirling) and Stirling Council, with Carolyn Paterson, Amy has co-designed the award nominated and YMI funded Scots Sang & Language Project where, through Scots Song, she helps cultivate an understanding and introduction to Scotland’s beautiful language, fascinating heritage and unique culture in primary school aged children.
The Scots Sang & Language Project has been running very successfully since 2008 in Stirling primary schools, reaching over 80 percent of Stirling schools and working with over 2,000 children. Led by Amy and co-designed by herself and Carolyn Paterson at the Tolbooth, between 4 and 10 projects are conducted each year in schools throughout Stirling council and the project is also now being implemented in Clackmananshire council run schools.
Using history, stories and language tuition, Amy gives the children she teaches an introduction to the varied and beautiful genres of Scots Song, passing on her own passion for the subject in a fun and enthusiastic way.
Each individual project consists of 6-7 weekly sessions per class, and depending on the size of school, working with 3-5 classes each week. They work from their own workbook designed by Amy, which they can keep afterwards, which features the songs they learn in the project, history, background and cultural references as well as comprehensive questions to help cement their learning and understanding. Each book/project is designed and each song chosen by Amy taking into account any class topics, seasons and celebrations so that the education resource can be used to it’s full extent. Each teacher is given an extended workbook with answers, helpful hints and tips and accompanying CD so that it can be used both during and after the project. To help secure their understanding of the songs, language and stories they learn, the children are invited to take part in an art competition, illustrating their favourite song from the project where the winners are awarded with a prize to further encourage their education in Scots Song.
As often as possible, we bring in Matthew Fitt, renowned Scots writer, poet and designer of the excellent Scots Hoose website and project, to come and lead a session with each class, to help their writing and understanding of the Scots language.
The culmination of the programme is a performance held at the Tolbooth (or in their school or the Albert halls depending on size of school and distance from Stirling) where family and friends are invited to watch a performance of the songs the children have learned. As well as this, professional musicians and Scots singers are invited to come and perform for the children - Paul McKenna, Siobhan Miller & Fiona Hunter amongst them. In many cases this is the first opportunity some of the children have of seeing live traditional music in a theatre/concert setting. Indeed for some it is their first taste of traditional music, and the first time they have performed in a venue.
In the 2013-14, schools from the Bannockburn cluster were invited to take part in a specialised project to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Over 350 children came together in Stirling’s Albert Halls where they sang songs and performed poetry about the battle, exactly 700 years to the day after the battle began. Art work from the project was also exhibited during the concert, showing how the children had understood and connected with their local history. Each school was visited by Matthew Fitt to develop their poetry, and also by local historian and expert Dr Fiona Watson, who used stories and games to engage the children in the subject.
Amy leads community singing workshops and is a regular and occasional group leader for several groups based throughout Scotland. To each workshop, she brings an in-depth knowledge of the history and background of songs, a patient and encouraging platform for singers to work on and an infectious enthusiasm for singing. Her beautiful and ingenious arrangements of songs range from simple rounds and light harmonies to full on seven part showpieces, and each song is chosen to reflect a group’s talents and abilities.
As well as community singing groups, Amy has had the privilege and pleasure of working with groups and charities who work with health issues and illnesses such as depression, Alzheimer’s, Dementia and special educational needs. All of these groups work tirelessly to improve the lives of those they cater for.
She was delighted to work on the first SMG Inspire project in 2010/11, has designed and lead projects with local charities such as Townbreak Stirling and Alzheimer Scotland, and has worked with several other groups where she leads singing sessions and provides entertainment for the patrons of the groups.
Accompanying practice track of first verse and chorus of The Barnyards o Delgaty. Each line is repeated twice so that the class can learn orally, by listening to the line first and then repeating it in a call and response style. This is then repeated with two lines, and then four.
Tel: +44 (0)7776 138 674