Scots Music Group is a charity with a strong ethos of community-building, using traditional music, song and dance to bring people together.

We actively support and encourage our students to gain the skills and confidence to take their music back into their own communities. To make this happen we rely on the enormous goodwill of all our members who get involved in making things happen. Over the years, several other similar organisations have set up across Scotland, often modelling themselves on Scots Music Group’s successful format.

Over the years, the organisation has been instrumental in the resurgence of interest in Scottish traditional music, song and dance, both in Edinburgh and further afield. Much of this has happened due to the enthusiasm and commitment of our team of tutors, and the willingness of members to join together in developing a large number of opportunities for sharing music, song and dance with others in the community. We support regular sessions, performances, ceilidhs and many other exciting events. SMG members regularly go out to perform at community events such as the Edinburgh Marathon, Doors Open Day, TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann etc, as well as contributing their skills to countless fundraising events, family celebrations and many others.

Scots Music Group plays a significant role in Scotland’s lively, diverse, traditional music scene and was voted ‘Community Project of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards in December 2007. We run a regular programme of classes, workshops and a range of social events.

An important aspect of Scots Music Group’s valuable work is raising funds to help ensure our classes and events are accessible to as many people as possible, through generous discounts to concession-holders. It also allows us to actively support community development, which is an important aim of the organisation.

Scots Music Group is a registered charity number SC032702. SMG is a membership organisation with a volunteer Board of Directors. We have two part-time staff members: Steve Byrne (Development Worker, 20hrs per week) and Helen Reid (administrator, 16 hrs pw) and a team of volunteers.

SMG’s aims are:

  • To create a critical relationship of respect and status to Scottish music, song and dance that it may live in the heart of the community and beyond.
  • To build a repertoire in the Scottish idiom with reference to the past and present and into the future.
  • To encourage and maintain the oral and aural transmission of the Scottish tradition.
  • To create opportunities to foster connections with, and explore the traditions of, the music, song and dance of other cultures.
  • To bring the best practitioners of Scottish music, song and dance into the life of the organisation as performers and as tutors to inspire and encourage students.
  • To give students the skills and opportunities to perform together in the community.
  • To maintain a democratic and participative style of voluntary organisation.

the Adult Learning Project
Scots Music Group started as a small part of the Adult Learning Project (ALP), an adult education organisation funded by the City of Edinburgh Council. ALP supports a variety of community learning and development groups including The Welcoming. The Welcoming encourages people of different minority backgrounds to meet with others and celebrate cultural diversity.

For further details contact:
Adult Learning Project
Tollcross Community Centre, 117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QG
0131 221 5800

affiliated organisations

Scots Music Group has a number of affiliated organisations. These organisations have all started as part of the Scots Music Group, and have developed into independent organisations over time:

  • Auld Spice – Auld Spice Ceilidh Band play a variety of Scots-based and other tunes and easy listening sets at dances, parties, ceilidhs, weddings, sing-alongs, festivals, community, corporate and fundraising events.
  • Edinburgh Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra – Formed in 2007, this class became an independent organisation in April 2009.The orchestra enjoys music from Scotland to Latin America, from the Beatles to light classical. The orchestra is a friendly group with people of all ages. Playing with it is fun and a great way to develop playing and music-reading skills.
  • Sangstream is a community choir which orignally started as an SMG class. They aim to be a friendly and fun place open to everyone who has an interest in group singing. The group provides the opportunity to develop skills, to learn about and share Scots songs and traditions (although they stray to contemporary and from around the world too!) and to take these songs out into the wider community. Sangstream have performed at many events in Edinburgh and further afield. They were invited to sing at the opening evening for Ceilidh 2008, joined Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis to perform ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at the 2008 Trad Music Awards ceremony, and went to Italy in September 2008.
  • Scots Fiddle Festival –  an annual weekend of non-stop fiddle music, with concerts, ceilidhs, sessions, workshops, talks, masterclasses, recitals, and an exciting programme of Youth Gaitherin events.
  • SMG is a member of the Traditional Music Forum.

The Scots Music Group family

Over the years a number of groups have begun under Scots Music Group’s wing. Click on each link to find out more about them.