Petestack Blog

28 November 2015

Master of nine?

Filed under: Music — admin @ 11:37 am

A slip of the tongue, a Facebook post later and ‘master of nine’ seemed too good a mistake to waste, so here’s what I wrote with appended list of my non-masterly ‘skills’…

Having described myself yesterday as a ‘jack of all trades and master of [oops!] nine’, I’ve tried to count the instruments I ‘play’… not a clear-cut task when some things maybe count separately (e.g. Boehm flute vs. simple flute or smallpipes vs. border pipes) whereas others clearly don’t (e.g. different sizes/makes of recorders and whistles), but let’s say ten or eleven to a useful (not master!) standard and a few more I’ve dabbled with, taken lessons in or (trombone alert!) started learning now. No way I’m still as good at anything as the recorder player who spent a year at Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag, nearly thirty years ago, but it’s fun… sometimes frustrating fun when I can’t practise everything all the time, but fun!


  • Recorders (learned at school, then studied with Rosemary McGillivray and Jennifer Hill in Glasgow, Alan Davis in Birmingham and Michael Barker in Den Haag)
  • Flutes (studied Boehm flute with Frances Wilson and Joanne Boddington in Glasgow, self-taught on simple/trad. flute and dabbling with baroque flute)
  • Whistles (short course with John Gahagan at Battlefield Band’s Highland Circus, Ullapool 1989, otherwise self-taught)


  • Piano (studied with Ian Dobie, Vince Chudy and Robert Foxcroft in Glasgow)
  • Accordion (self-taught)
  • Guitar (self-taught, and better 20 years ago than I am now!)
  • Bass (self-taught, and much the same as guitar!)
  • Scottish smallpipes (started March 2012 and largely self-taught, but have also attended several of Ian Kinnear’s smallpipes weekends)
  • Border pipes (started August 2013 and basically self-taught)

Working knowledge (mostly for school)

  • Tuned percussion
  • Drum kit (intro. from Ron Forbes at Northern College teacher training)

Now seriously starting and intent on keeping up

  • Trombone


  • Violin (had one for a while)
  • Cornet/Trumpet (tried as a boy when my dad bought an old cornet at auction, but it was my brother Angus who became the trumpeter)
  • Oboe/Baroque oboe (lessons from Maurice Checker while at university, but ended up just playing recorder with his group!)
  • Clarinet (had one and tried, but not for me!)
  • Bodhran (sure, I own one, but haven’t touched it for years!)

NB the main bar to violin, modern oboe and clarinet would be my lack of fingers… not so much of an issue on guitar and bass, which I play left-handed to get four fingers on the fretboard.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog powered by WordPress. Feedback to