mike

I started playing guitar at 13 years old and was promptly put off for a year by a really bad teach-yourself book. I started again at 14. I had a handful of “formal” lessons, but I learned mainly by going up to guitarists and asking “How did you do that?”. (I still do!) I then joined pals to form bands thinking that I would meet more girls that way. However, the music soon took over, especially, guitars.

My Brother-in-Law had a huge influence on me. He gave me the extra money I was short of to buy my first guitar. He had an extremely hip job as a photographer but, extraordinarily, he had shared a flat with English Folk Music royalty – Norma Waterson and family. This flat became a hub for sessions and a place to crash for luminaries of the folk music world. And all this wonder was passed to me. He also introduced me to the wonderful Tom Paxton and American folk. Growing up, I enjoyed watching the Corries and the McCalmans on TV but I was really drawn towards the JSD Band, Ossian and Steeleye Span.

I worked in a music shop for a time – I learned so much from the customers and got so many gigs standing in for people. I’ve been a member of many bands, different genres, including Acoustic, Rock, Country, Club and Showbands and even had a disagreeable stint in Cabaret. I currently play Bass guitar in a Ukulele band (the best of fun) and Lead guitar in a Gospel-type band.

I take Guitar and Ukulele classes for both adults and children, as well as private students. I go into primary schools to teach Ukulele. I also work with severely disabled persons and those with learning difficulties, mainly using percussion, and I take classes for people with Dementia – mainly blethering and a lot of singing (even though I can’t sing particularly well!). With these classes, I regularly see the power of music working its magic on people and in such short time.

I have been known to play the Moothie and have dabbled with Mandolin and Bodhran. I describe myself as a guitarist, but describe my wife as a musician!

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