Youth Music Initiative

The Highland Council

Fèisean nan Gàidheal continues to enjoy a successful Youth Music Initiative (YMI) partnership with The Highland Council, delivering 12 weeks per year of an introduction to traditional music in all 183 primary schools in the area. Identification of target classes allows for progression and development, particularly as the Initiative has been running for over a decade. Pupils and schools now see YMI (traditional) as an established part of the curriculum.

Eilidh Mackenzie has the responsibility of co-ordinating the service on behalf of Fèisean nan Gàidheal with her role focusing on quality assurance, training and resources. Individual Fèisean – Fèis Chataibh, Fèis an Earraich, Fèis Lochabair, Fèis Rois and Fèis Spè – have responsibility for timetabling within their area and identifying suitable tutors.

Feedback from schools and pupils has been very positive and tutors have been involved in a variety of school activities, establishing the importance and value of their role.

In order not to duplicate or interfere with any existing music provision in schools, the scheme focuses on four main areas; tin whistle, Gaelic song, children’s song and group music, although a more flexible approach has developed allowing YMI (traditional) to meet the needs of individual schools/pupils.

The Initiative has allowed for the employment of a number of musicians in the Highlands and, along with training, has given them access to a more formal approach to music. Many have found this valuable and exciting, leading to an interest in continuing in education with some having taken up teaching as a career.

Pupils also have had access to musicians of high calibre, giving them the opportunity of extending their musical knowledge and opening avenues, via local Fèisean, to continue.

In June 2015, Fèis Rois organised a gathering of young people from schools across the Highlands to celebrate BBC Music Day with a day of music-making in Inverness.  This video shows some highlights of the day and interviews with some of those involved.

For more information on the Youth Music Initiative (traditional) contact eilidh@feisean.org

Resources and Information

You can download song and whistle resources on the right-hand side of this page.

A ZIP of mp3 files of all the songs to accompany the above resource may be dowloaded here (101mb) and a ZIP of mp3 files of all the whistle tunes here (103mb).

YMI newsletter may be downloaded from the right-hand side of this page.

A series of short videos featuring interviews with pupils and tutors involved in YMI provision in Highland are available below.  A playlist menu can be accessed by clicking on the icon at the very top left of the video player.

Other Areas

Fèisean nan Gàidheal has also been involved in delivering Youth Music Initiative work for East Lothian Council and Renfrewshire Council and would be happy to discuss provision with other local authorities.

Creative Scotland The Scottish Government Highlands and Islands Enterprise Bòrd na Gaidhlig Highland Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Argyll & Bute Council