The Highland Council
Fèisean nan Gàidheal continues to enjoy a successful Youth Music Initiative (YMI) partnership with Highlife Highland, delivering 8 weeks per year of an introduction to traditional music in all 173 primary schools in the area. Identification of target classes allows for progression and development, particularly as the Initiative has been running for twenty years. 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 Inbhir Narainn, 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 three main areas; tin whistle, song (particularly Gaelic) 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 Fèisgoil Manager Eilidh MacKenzie on firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources and Information
You can download song and whistle resources on the right-hand side of this page. A video resource, Thighibh is Cluichibh, has been created by Fèis Phàislig to accompany Stòras na Fìdeig, an accompanying resource can be found at the right-hand side of this page. This video shows the introduction and the playlist of videos can be found here.
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.ARVE Error: src mismatch
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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.
We are continuing to develop our YMI capabilities in the Western Isles and are delighted to be tasked by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) to lead Gaelic song sessions as part of the YMI scheme in all 6 of their Uist and Barra schools. Peigi MacVicar, originally from Skye but with close family connections to Uist is leading the sessions in Uist schools and Claire Frances MacNeil from Barra is doing the same in her locality. Both tutors are embracing the opportunity to deliver songs with local connections and re-engage island children with songs from their own communities wherever possible.