Mairi Campbell has been appointed by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to teach improvisation to students on the BMus (Traditional Music) degree course.
Students can spend time with Campbell throughout the academic year learning to improvise within the folk music tradition. Campbell will also work with the students to reframe what it means to be a traditional musician, and expand the boundaries of the genre.
“I’m excited to be working with these gorgeous young musicians who are the future sound-keepers of this precious tradition,” said Campbell. “Trad musicians don’t just play tunes. They preserve and pass down the songs and stories of their local areas, and actively participate in their local communities.”
Campbell is keen to encourage students to get in touch with their creativity and find new ways of expressing traditional music and themselves.
“Jigs and reels are great and have an important place,” said Campbell. “But I want to help these young people find new forms for the music. Something else wants to happen with this music, and these young musicians are the ones to call it out.
Joshua Dickson, Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said of Campbell’s appointment: “Mairi Campbell has been an inspiration to her peers and students for many years through her exploration of the true, the joyous and the authentic in Scottish traditional music. These are precisely the things we encourage our students to pursue in our trailblazing degree curriculum, so our students could not be more excited to work with Mairi.”
Campbell felt creatively stifled and repressed by her own classical musical education at the Guildhall School of Music, which she explores in her new one-woman theatre show Pulse.
“I really felt the lack of not being able to play music from my roots,” Campbell said. “I had a real hankering to connect with my own music and know it and to express my spirit and creativity. You could say I’m now doing for my students what I wanted someone to do for me.”