Tell us about your background
I am from Dundee and began learning to play guitar in a local school with a nun, we used to sing folk songs and strum away quite the thing! I then went onto various tutors, abandoned classical guitar for a rock band for a few years, then drifted back to acoustic guitar playing.
What sparked your love of the arts?
Probably my mother, she was a piano teacher in schools and we (siblings and I) all showed interest in music. I studied piano and cello (so I could play in an orchestra) but it was clear early on that guitar was the thing I spent most time working on.
Who was your most inspirational teacher?
I would say Jose Tomas in Alicante, he was pretty much the godfather of guitar and if you studied with him, it was badge of honour. Initially, Phillip Thorne MBE showed me how it all worked and was the person who started the guitar side of things at RCS many years ago. We are still in touch, often the way with your teachers.
What was it like returning to RCS as a teacher?
I was very active performing worldwide and was delighted to be asked to come in and teach students. I was 23 years old, so not that much older than the cohort, and we had a lot of things in common – principally the love of playing guitar.
What’s been your most memorable moment from your career so far?
There have been many to be honest; performing at Tartan Week in Grand Central Station, NYC was pretty cool, being escorted to stage in Venezuela with an armed guard (didn’t think I was that bad!?), playing to Hans Werner Henze in El Cimarron at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Maybe playing the Aranjuez Concerto with the RSNO at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is up there as well.
What do you love most about your job?
The students, plain and simple.
Any tips or words of wisdom for those ready to embark on their training?
Work hard, believe in yourself and keep going when thing are tough. If it’s meant for you, it will happen!