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Greetings Programme - music teachers and early beginnings

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Cathy MacDonald Cathy MacDonald | 16:47 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

It's a fascinating question - but are people without formal musical training just as gifted, in musical terms, as those who have. It's definitely an art form and I can assure you that even if you can sing in tune, it doesn't mean you'll be a dab hand on a musical instrument.

Okay that last bit of research was based on the experience of one person - me. I started singing when I was as young as eight - not unusual in the Gaelic speaking communities where participating in the local and ultimately national Mod singing competitions, was more or less, a rite of passage.

Thanks to some great teachers, I could hold a note, but when it came to learning to play the piano, I was a disaster. In fact, curiously, and perhaps not surprisingly, I was just as inept when it came to typing - it was all in the fingers - or not in my case.

I wasn't much better on the recorder either, and then, realising my limits and in an effort to field off future disappointment, I gave up, preferring instead to listen to people who really could sing or play musical instruments. From Aly Bain to Phil Cunningham, to Mark Knopfler and Robert Plant - good mix there.

Who is your musical genius, who has the talent it takes - let me know


  • Comment number 1.

    Jake Thackray was a wonderful musician. His major influences were Georges Brassens and Jaques Brel, so much so that he was regarded as a chansonnier, a singer-songwriter in the French tradition.

    Ray Cooper is my favourite percussionist. It is my firm belief that Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy would not have been as successful without his contribution. Elton and Bernie should get on their knees and thank God for Ray Cooper.

    Bonnie Raitt is one of the finest Blues guitarists around. And she's utterly gorgeous! (As is our hostess).



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