Portobello Music School student off to the Yehudi Menuhin School

12 year old Finlay Hay has been offered a place to study music full time at the prestigious Yuhudi Menuhin School in Surrey starting this September.  Finlay joined Portobello Music School in 2011 where he studied classical guitar with Gary Craig and for the last year with Richard Callaghan as well as playing in our Senior Guitar Ensemble under Jenny Clifford.  This year he won the Level 3 Classical Guitar class at the Edinburgh Competition Festival and received a distinction for his Trinity Grade 5 Exam.

Finlay is an outstanding young musician and we wish him well as he begins the next stage of his music education.  I have no doubt that we are going to see a lot more of Finlay in the future.
To celebrate Finlay's success we have launched a Portobello Music School YouTube channel which currently features two pieces being performed by Finlay. I hope that Finlay's performances will inspire more of our young students to prepare performances for our YouTube channel in the coming weeks and months.

You can view and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


New for 2013: ABRSM Music Medals

Portobello Music School is delighted to announce a new syllabus being introduced this year in partnership with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). Music Medals is a syllabus designed to provide graded assessments to children learning instruments in groups so it is ideally suited to primary-aged children as it provides progressive steps from Primary 3 through to Primary 7. There are five progressive levels:

Copper: beginner to pre-Grade 1
Bronze: Grade 1
Silver: Grade 2
Gold: Grade 3
Platinum: Grade 4

Assessments take place during normal lesson times. Performances are filmed, marked by the teacher and moderated by ABRSM.

To find out more about Music Medals, please watch the Introduction to Music Medals video by ABRSM  and/or visit the Music Medals website at


Portobello Music School pupils take part in Practice-a-thon

Edinburgh Competition Festival 2012

Portobello Music School Guitarists win 1st and joint 2nd place

Congratulations to all our young musicians who took part in this year's Edinburgh Competition Festival and a huge thank you to all our teachers and parents for helping to make it such a successful event.

On the first day we had wonderful solo singing performances from Katy, Lucie, Catherine and Ewan at St Cuthbert's Church and some very confident performances from our pianists Charlie, Grace and Aidan on the lovely grand piano at St Mark's on Castle Terrace.  During the second week we had some beautiful woodwind performances by Angus, Olivia, Catherine, Beth and Kiana, again at St Cuthbert's Church and at the same time our violinists, Liam, Meltem, Emma and Lorne were impressing the adjudicator at Palmerston Place Church.

Friday was a very special day as we had 11 guitarists taking part in the guitar competition.  Our guitar ensemble came joint 2nd with an excellent performance.  The guitar ensembles were described by adjudicator John Mills as "some of the best ensembles he'd heard" so well done to our teacher Gary and the ensemble (Ewan, Rachael, Joachim, Jasper, Lucy Cunningham, Lucy Banks, Innes and Iain) for an excellent result.

Following the ensemble competition we went straight into the solo competition class with wonderfully confident and assured performances from 11 of our young guitarists:  Jack, Lewis, Eleanor, Fraser, Ewan, Rachael, Joachim, Jasper, Lucy Cunningham, Lucy Banks and Innes.

We are delighted to announce that Rachael Butler was awarded first place with joint 2nd place going to Lucy Cunningham and Joachim Vanneste so a truly excellent result all round.  Again the adjudicator John Mills was very impressed by the standard of our young musicians.

Our final performances were given on Saturday by two of our saxophonists Lois and Corin at St Cuthbert's Church.

A special thank you to Sam Reidel our accompanist who spent her days dashing from venue to venue to accompany our young musicians.

We hope you all enjoyed taking part in the festival which will now become an annual event on the Portobello Music School calendar.  I'm sure you will agree that it really does provide an excellent opportunity to perform in front of a supportive audience and in some of the finest music venues in Edinburgh.  It also gives an opportunity for our musicians to hear some very good, constructive feedback from some of the UK's finest adjudicators.


Practice-a-thon 2012 

We are delighted to announce that our Practice-a-thon has raised £2288! £1716 (75%) will go to CLIC Sargent, the children's cancer charity and the remaining 25% will be matched by Portobello Music School and donated to our host school Towerbank Primary School bringing their total to £1144. Towerbank can now go ahead and buy their 30-piece Samba Kit to start a Samba Band in the school!!  Well done and a huge thank you to everyone involved.



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