Alumni

Since EYM’s inception in 1998, over 2,500 children have attended classes, leading some to become professional musicians, many to become keen amateur musicians and most to develop a love of music that will last a lifetime.  We always love to hear from former pupils and hope to add to the contributions shown below.

Euan Bathgate
EYM pupil 2005 - 2019

I started going to classes at EYM when I was 4 and stayed till, I was 17. After three years of musical play classes I started learning the violin with Gill Simpson. I then joined Anne Giles' junior then senior orchestra. Anne was also my violin teacher who helped me get to grade 8.  

I also play cello and was a member of a chamber music group taught by Cindy Holden.  Angus, Matthew, Theo and myself were in a chamber group for five years. One of our best concerts was playing at the EYM 21st birthday celebrations, which was a fantastic opportunity.  The music we played in orchestra and chamber music was varied and challenging.

The playing opportunities I got by being in EYM helped me to audition and get into other orchestras such as NYOS, ESSO and EYO. EYM was a huge part of my Saturdays for 14 years. There were so many great opportunities and fantastic and encouraging teachers. Although I didn’t go on to study music, I did join an orchestra at Strathclyde University. Music is such an important part of life and I am glad that I went to EYM.

Rosalind Orr
EYM pupil 2008 - 2018

I started at EYM in my pre-school year when I was still three. I remember being in a very old building - which I now know as Bruntsfield House, part of James Gillespie's High School - sitting in a circle playing different singing and clapping games. I realise now that these were important early lessons in developing an understanding of rhythm and harmony. I also remember it was great fun and music on a Saturday morning became part of my routine, one that I continue today.

In my primary years at EYM I picked up the descant recorder, followed by most other members of the recorder family. Jean Murray was my teacher through these years and taught me to read music. I played violin for a couple of years at school but realised that I was more suited to woodwind. In P6 I had an opportunity to learn alto saxophone after school and took to this quickly because of my recorder playing. My saxophone playing developed to the point where I was able to join Edinburgh Schools' Jazz Orchestra (ESJO) aged 12, as the youngest member. I still enjoyed recorder playing with friends on a Saturday at EYM, in a quintet and ensemble.

At an open day at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland when I was 14, I was interested to hear young people playing in a jazz ensemble. A few months later, with the support of Andrew Carvel, I successfully auditioned for the RCS and was excited to start at the 'Juniors' (Jazz) in Autumn 2018. Attending the RCS has become my new Saturday routine and I have really enjoyed my first year there, studying with Paul Towndrow. I still play in ESJO too, as well as other bands and orchestras through school and the Council's music service. None of this would have been possible without my years at EYM and I am really grateful to Jean and all the other teachers who helped me along the way.

Alastair Bowyer
EYM pupil 2005 - 2018

I was an EYM student from age 5 up to 17. With EYM I learned to play the recorder through the excellent guidance of Simon Rennard, who always managed to balance progressing our skills with having a genuinely enjoyable Saturday morning. Learning the recorder was good fun and allowed me to play a lot of great, and often under-appreciated, music - like at the Baroque ensemble I am a part of at university. My skills on the recorder also greatly helped me to pick up the saxophone when I was older, and the grades I achieved on the saxophone benefited my UCAS application. I am very grateful to Simon and also to Jean Murray for the opportunities that were opened up to me by EYM.

I was also lucky to be able to pass on some of my recorder skills to a group of students I taught during my year volunteering in Myanmar. Teaching music was a challenge, and made me appreciate the ability of my teachers to deal with overactive children, but it was satisfying to pass on a skill that was not normally available to the students of the school and it was very nostalgic to teach out of the same book that I learned from at EYM.

Laura Johnson
EYM pupil 2004 - 2018

EYM was the very beginning of my experience with music. When I was little I went to the musical play classes, and then it was where I first started to play the cello, which I think is an opportunity all young people should get. Later I went on to play in the junior and senior orchestras. I made great friends through EYM, and it gave me the opportunity to explore a vast variety of music. The skills I learned while playing within the senior orchestra enabled me to audition and get into other well-known orchestras such as EYO and NYOS, and now I've also joined an orchestra at Leeds University. I will also always be grateful for this brilliant start to my musical life!