I’ve enjoyed reading the Trad Music Forum blogs about peoples lives and actions. I always think my life is one of mystery – when people say to me “What do you do?” I’m never sure what the answer is!
Like many musicians I do lots of things. When I wake up in the morning my first job is to prepare breakfast for my children. Once they head to school I pluck up the courage to look at my emails.
I check and deal with anything urgent (is anything urgent?) and then I open my Omnifocus and check the days tasks. This helps me reflect on what I will be doing on this day and keeps me focused. I’m not someone though who is very good at sitting still so I get out the front door as quickly as possible. if I’m not meeting musicians first thing in Tinderbox in Glasgow, I’m usually in Costa Coffee writing my newsletters. When I get started I tend to work on lots of different Hands Up for Trad projects at the same time – doing a little action here for say the Scots Trad Music Awards and another one there for Tinto Summer School. This works for me as every action is small and it means I can move fast across all our projects to make things happen.
I am very lucky with my job. I live a creative life and have been very lucky to have been able to do this. I’m married to Clare (who has all the good music ideas) and work with Persephone at Hands Up for Trad who does all the complicated work (and has more great ideas) and I float around having more thoughts to promote Scottish music.
One of our latest Hands Up for Trad projects is Hands Up for Trad TV. I’ve always been interested in new media and technology and last year I started making a Hands Up for Trad TV music programme to promote videos made by our musicians to the wider public. This then branched into the Hands Up for Trad Quiz where I write lots of questions about trad music and, with the help of Martin Forry and Alana MacInnes, it gets filmed and turned into a show. Both go out on Facebook and our other social media.
I also try to carry on my own musical career and this year I started filming weekly vlogs on topics such as technique, tunes, listening and anything else that comes to mind. I then post them on YouTube and my Facebook channel. As I tell musicians all the time you have to keep yourself in front of the public so I create content that features my concertina playing. One reason for doing this is, to show that while it is easy to give advice it takes a lot of work to make it actually happen. It is definitely easier NOT to make a vlog! Making videos and content is very tiring and creativity is never easy, but I believe In pushing myself hard to make something I can feel good about.
After all this happens it is time to make tea (dinner if you’re not from Edinburgh!) for the family and make sure homework is done. I then maybe head back to the computer to do some admin / video editing and think about how lucky I am to work in music.