A Festival of Making Music


Kilgraston School
Bridge of Earn
PH2 9BQ Perthshire
United Kingdom
Saturday, 8 October 2016 - 9:30am to Sunday, 9 October 2016 - 5:30pm
Ticket price: 
£70 course only, £110 course plus accommodation
About the event: 

Scottish members and guests are warmly invited to join award-winning educator Professor Richard Michael BEM for a weekend of creative music-making in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, The Festival of Making Music will take place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October at Kilgraston School in Bridge of Earn by Perth.

Whatever your musical background, instrument or voice, you will join with Richard and his colleagues, drawn from across the classical, traditional and jazz spectrum within Scotland, in exploring shared concepts of rhythm, melody and harmony using simple and familiar Scottish tunes as a basis for improvisation.  Sounds scary? Don't worry, mistakes are cool, and we can guarantee that you will have plenty of fun making them! And you'll go away with new skills, new confidence, new friends and a renewed vision for your music-making. 

About the programme

The Festival of Making Music will be very hands-on with plenty of participation by the players/singers throughout. Each day begins with a rhythm-based warm up session to make sure the mind and the body are both fully awake and ready for the day! The main plenary session on both Saturday and Sunday is 'The anatomy of a bonnie choon'. Using well-known Scottish tunes we will work together to identify the elements which make a successful piece of music, regardless of era, genre or instrument.

Participants will then break up into smaller groups, literally to play around with these elements and develop 'bonnie choons' of their own!  On Saturday evening, for those who are staying at the school or elsewhere locally, there will be the opportunity to get together informally in participant-led groups for yet more playing and singing. The event will end on Sunday afternoon with a very relaxed Festival performance to which friends and family are warmly invited.

About the tutors

The Festival of Making Music will be led by Richard Michael BEM.  Richard has had a long and illustrious career as a performer and educator, with a personal musical journey which encompasses playing in Scottish dance bands; training at the RSAMD as a classical pianist; church organist and choir director;  jazz musician and educator; and BBC Radio Scotland presenter, to name but a few!  

His work has been recognised through multiple prestigious awards: Jazz Educator of the year in the 2009 All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards; the Bank of Scotland Herald Angel Award 2010 for his Edinburgh Fringe Show "The History of Jazz Piano"; both the Media (2012) and the Education Work (2013) award in the Scottish Jazz Awards;  the British Empire Medal for services to music education in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2012.  

In the midst of it all, Richard remains one of the most down-to-earth, encouraging and humorous people you could ever meet.  The Herald sums this up in its review of his Fringe Show:  "Far too entertaining to be called a lecture-recital, it covers a lifetime’s research and fascination, mixing insight with anecdote and musical illustration with a sense of humour that keeps everything light and approachable without diluting the creativity, imagination and restless enquiry of jazz’s master musicians." 

Richard will be joined by a team of tutors drawn from among the best performers and teachers in Scotland, all of whom have experience in a range of styles and genres:


The cost of the weekend is just £70, which includes all teaching materials. refreshments and lunch on both Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October. We are offering six travel bursaries of £100 each, for which you are eligible to apply if you have a round trip of 160 miles or more from your home address to Kilgraston School. 

If you would like overnight accommodation at Kilgraston School for the Saturday night, this can be provided for an additional £40 for dinner, bed and breakfast. Accommodation is in single study bedrooms with shared bathroom and toilet facilities. Otherwise, there are plenty of accommodation options in and around the Bridge of Earn area: River Edge Lodges (01738 812 370) are offering a 40% discount to anyone staying for the Festival. If you require on-site accommodation, bookings must be made by 14 September. 


If you have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Festival Manager Ruth Irons (ruth@makingmusic.org.uk or 07518 384546).

Reserve your place now


This project is run by Making Music and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Conditions of Acceptance

  • Making Music reserves the right to substitute tutors if necessary and to cancel the workshop in exceptional circumstances. All fees will be refunded if the event is cancelled by Making Music.
  • Insurance: it is recommended that attendees arrange insurance for their musical instruments and personal property in case of loss or damage. It is regretted that neither the course organisers nor the venue owners can accept responsibility for any loss or damage to personal property.
  • Cancellation policy: for bookings cancelled up to and including 7th September 2016, 50% of the workshop fee will be refunded, and if applicable 100% of the payment for overnight accommodation at Kilgraston School. If a participant cancels his or her booking on or after 8th September 2016 the payment is non-refundable.