Monthly Archives

June 2018

An interview with Ash drummer Rick McMurray

Rick McMurray,Ash,Drummer,Drums,Band,

This week we interviewed one of our drum teachers, rock drumming veteran, Rick McMurray. The Irish rock chart-toppers Ash have amassed 1 Silver, 2 Gold and 2 Platinum selling records in Britain, and they have had a massive 18 songs in the top 40 UK Singles Chart. NME Magazine named their album ‘1977’ as one of the 500 greatest albums ever released. To date, Ash have sold over 8 million albums Worldwide.

Rick is currently over in the band’s studio in New York working on new material with his fellow band mates, singer Tim Wheeler and bassist Mark Hamilton. Between touring, Rick teaches drums at Morningside School of Music. Rick is based in Edinburgh where he lives with his wife & two young girls.

What is your very first memory of seeing or playing a musical instrument?

When I was three, I was asked to play Little Drummer Boy at the church Xmas service. And I screwed it up. I guess I just like a challenge.

Did you take drum lessons?

Not really. I wish I’d gone for drum lessons when I was younger as I know I’ve picked up so many bad habits, which I’m trying to iron out.

Did any of your schoolmates play any instruments?

Not really. Only a few in my year were into music, but luckily I found a couple of guys to start a band with who were the year below me at school.

How old were you when you got your very first kit and what kind was it?

I was 13, and it was a Thunder budget kit. I remember the review in Rhythm mag said the snare was brilliant.

Did you ever play a second instrument? 

I started out on guitar at the age of 11 I think but I was forced to go for piano lessons at age six or seven and I hated it. I wish I’d been more into it.


What bands/drummers did you practice along to when you were a kid/teen?

Most Aerosmith and The Black Crows before I joined a band.

How did the process of starting band happen for you?

I played a drunk detective in the school production of a Russian play called The Suicide. Tim was one of the gipsy musicians, and I asked him for a go on his guitar. He was forming a cover band, so I asked if he had a drummer. It only lasted two rehearsals, but then he asked me to play with himself and Mark doing original stuff.

Did you meet at school and practice at lunch-time?

We practised every Saturday at Tim’s house as there was an old outbuilding we could use. School wasn’t made for rock’n’roll. It was mostly percussion and recorders.

Do you remember your first gig ever as ‘Ash’? Where was it?

It was in a back room of a bar in Belfast called The Penny Farthing with Tart Confusion and Lazergun Nun. We were told to turn down by the some of the regulars in the front bar, who showed us a handful of bullets to persuade us. It worked. A bit.

T in the Park,Ash,1998,Balado,How did you go about getting gigs before you had a manager/record company?

We sent off loads of demo tapes to people, but it was our mate who managed us at the time who made the best contact with a guy called Paddy Davis at Bad Moon PR.

How did you get signed? Did you go to them or did they come to you?

Paddy’s wife was from Downpatrick, where we grew up, so he came to see us while he was on holiday and then passed our tape to the guy who worked next door to him, Tav Stevens, who was starting his label. He put out our first single, then became our manager and brought us to London to do a bunch of showcase gigs. We got signed by Korda Marshall to Infectious Records after that.

What do you prefer, live or studio?

Used to be I preferred to live, but these days I love the studio. It’s more creative, and you get to push yourself to grow as a musician. Having said that I’m looking forward to touring.

What type of kits and cymbals do you prefer to use when you are playing?

I love playing vintage gear at the moment. Gretsch and Ludwig mainly but I’ve got loads of different snare drums. Performing live at fly-in festivals you get to try out loads of different kits. I don’t mind what I play, to be honest; I feel it’s good to mix things up. I’ve also joined an Edinburgh band called Thirteen Seven, and I’m getting a kick out of playing old, beat-up house kits at the gigs we’ve done. It keeps you on your toes when you don’t know if the kit is going to make it to the end of the set. I’ll probably take out my Gretsch kit or my Ludwig Vistalite on the upcoming dates.

What is the biggest gig you have ever played?

We supported Robbie Williams at Phoenix Park in Dublin which was 150,000. It’s a bit of a trip playing to that number. It just doesn’t compute.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met, did it go down well?

We’ve met Bono a few times. He’s the singer in U2. He didn’t get to where he is without being very charming.

What is your favourite Ash song?

Hard to pick one but today it’s probably Shining Light.

Which Ash video was the most fun to make?

We got to go to Cuba to do the Sometimes video which was a real trip. I was driving around in this old, 50s American car with boxes taped to the pedals so I could reach them. The weirdest thing was not seeing any advertising other than the Bacardi bat on top of the building where they used to make it and a sign saying ¡Viva la Revolucion! Sounds good to me.

What is the coolest moment of you’ve had with Ash?

We’ve always had a special affinity with Reading festival so we are doing it for the 9th time this year. Last time they said if we make it to 10 appearances, they will erect a statue. It was quite late when they said it but we’ll hold them to it anyway.

If you could have one person in your band, who would it be?

If I could get a liver transplant I’d love to do a tour with Nathan Connolly from Snow Patrol.

What is the one piece of advice you would give drummers for their practice/technique?

Get yourself a good practice routine and do it every day because it’s a physically demanding instrument.

What is the one piece of advice you would offer musicians who want to go professional? 

It’s probably 25% about being a great musician and 75% about being able to get on with people.


Check out the Ash online store where you can buy their new album Islands. Tickets for the upcoming Ash tour are on sale now.

Ash Website


Napier University’s Popular Music


My name is Conal Mooney, and I am a first-year guitar student at Edinburgh Napier University Popular Music Course. This small blog is about why I chose the BA (Hons) Popular Music course. I will also mention what it has to offer you as a potential student and what it is like to study music in Edinburgh.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

After finishing my sixth year of high school, I knew I wanted to study music at uni. However, I had no real idea where I wanted to study. I was also unsure of what course path to take; whether to apply for a classical or a popular music degree or to study a music technology degree with no performance aspects at all. I decided I was most interested in a course which had the option of exploring many issues of music. I attended open days at Glasgow, Ayr and Edinburgh and spoke to friends and read student reviews. After my research, I found the BA Pop course at Edinburgh Napier University piqued my interest. Reviews of the course, as well as the vast array of career paths available, stuck out to me.

I visited Napier’s Merchiston campus and was very impressed with the facilities and what the course had to offer. The four-year course has a wealth of areas of study. These include composition, performance and technologies, as well as music therapy and community music projects. The lecturers and tutors are of the highest standard, with sought-after session musicians and accomplished academics making up the music team. Another aspect of the course that particularly attracted me is the option of a year abroad.

Napier University’s Popular Music Course Syllabus

First and second-year offer a focus on music genres, cultures and industries. These are centred around group discussions in lectures as well as analysis of studies and academic works on music. These years also focus heavily on practical music studies and technologies; the former encouraging a strong focus on theory and one-to-one instrument lessons. Instrument/vocal lessons ensure that you’re always seeking to improve your playing skills and help you to apply your learning in compositional tasks.

Music Technologies modules are where Napier’s superb technical facilities are put to use. Lectures in first and second year offer extensive use of digital audio workstations such as ‘ProTools’, ‘Logic Pro X’ and the advanced music notation software ‘Sibelius’. Rehearsal rooms, as well as studios in the uni, are open to students 24/7 for practice and recording use. These rooms are fully equipped with amps, drum kits, keyboards and professional mixing desks and speakers.

Third and Fourth-year modules allow for you to further develop skills in areas that you have strengths in. Modules such as music therapy, music psychology and instrumental/vocal teaching offer an insight into applying music practices in the real world. More advanced technology modules are available, using Ableton for advanced mixing and producing. Additionally, performance modules can be taken right up to fourth-year, as well as the more academic ‘Music in a Globalized World’ and ‘Entrepreneurship in the Music Industries’ laying a foundation for music research projects.

A Lecturer’s View.

In my brief time at Napier, it is clear that both the staff and students are happy and actively engaged with course. There is never a shortage of opportunities for musical exploration and work. Fourth-year student, Corin Anderson (composing, producing and DJing under the name CoriAnder) says,

“I recently accepted the post of Music Technology Lecturer on the Junior Napier Music course. My job is to teach high school students how to use industry-standard software to record, edit and mix music. ” adding, “Edinburgh Napier’s Popular Music course has opened up so many opportunities for me. The past few years have undoubtedly been the best of my life so far”.

My own experience of the course has been fantastic as well. In seven months, the amount that I have learnt with regards to composing, recording and producing music is immeasurable. My guitar playing has come on massively, and my sight reading is improving as the weeks go on. The folk in my year are spot on. We all get along well, and I have made some really good friends. I am looking forward to the rest of this trimester and the years ahead. I’m ready to work hard and keep making music. Hopefully, this blog reflects my honest feeling about the course and shows you that if you want to study music, Edinburgh Napier University is the place to be.

Corin Anderson is a music producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ with a wealth of musical experience. Having written and released five albums and one EP as well as collaborating with other artists on many works, he is nothing short of accomplished. You can follow Corin’s music projects and releases on his website https://musiccoriander.weebly.com.


Charity Is Very Important To Us

Dan Beattie Award,Charity,Morningside School of Music,Edinburgh,

Since the day that Morningside School of Music was founded as a one-man band back in 1999, charitable giving has always been extremely high on our agenda. We try our best to help others in any way that we possibly can, and we very rarely turn down a request for assistance. From giving financially, donating equipment, supplying music lesson vouchers, playing live at events, organising charity concerts and events, working free of charge on projects, doing staff charity challenges and of course our annual dinner in November each year, our directors and teachers help where help is needed. We take this obligation very seriously.

We have supported a long list of charities over the years (we have listed just some of them below). We aim to be equal to all, but we do have a particular soft spot for child welfare and animal welfare charities.

If you work for a registered charity or are raising money for charity and need help, please feel free to get in touch with us, and we will do our very best to assist.

PETA,PETA UK,Animal,Welfare,Protection,People for the ethical treatment of animals,
Teenage Cancer Trust,Charity,Cancer,Edinburgh,Scotland,UK,
Edinburgh Napier University,Napier,University,

Children 1st
CHAS Children’s Hospices
Save the Children
World Vision
Sick Kids Friend’s Foundation
Cash For Kids
Children in Need
Great Ormond Street Hospital
Rainbow Trust
Moni Malawi

Animal Aid
Scottish SPCA
Mercy for Animals
Cats Protection League
National Animal Welfare Trust
Animal Advocates Alliance
Born Free
Battersea Dog & Cats Home
One Kind
Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home
League Against Cruel Sports
Dogs Trust
International Fund For Animal Welfare
Blue Cross
The Jane Goodall Institute
Compassion in World Farming
The Humane League

Capability Scotland
Alzheimer Scotland
Poppy Scotland
Scottish Charity Air Ambulance
Epilepsy Scotland
Drake Music
Dyslexia Scotland
Shelter Scotland
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
LGBT Youth
Cancer Research UK
Age Scotland
Marie Curie
Sands Lothians
Scottish Police Benevolent Fund
Sistema Scotland
MND Scotland
Beatson Cancer Charity
Macmillan Cancer
Guide Dogs
Teenage Cancer Trust
Help For Heroes
Anthony Nolan
Comic Relief
Prostate Cancer UK
Salvation Army
British Heart Foundation
National Trust
Diabetes UK
British Red Cross
The Samaritans
St Columba’s Hospice
Christian Aid
Masonic Charitable Foundation

South Morningside Primary School
Blackhall Primary School
Stockbridge Primary School
St. Peter’s Primary School
James Gillespie’s Primary School
Buckstone Primary School
Bruntsfield Primary School
Brunstane Primary School
Portobello Primary School
Corstorphine Primary School
Craiglockhart Primary School
Flora Stevenson Primary School
Pentland Primary School
Bonaly Primary School
George Watson’s College
George Heriot’s School
Fettes College
Mary Erskine School
Stewart’s Melville School
Merchiston Castle School
Rudolf Steiner School
St. George’s School for Girls
Loretto School
Kilgraston School
Edinburgh College
Edinburgh Napier University
The University of Edinburgh
Queen Margaret University
Heriot-Watt University
The University of West of Scotland
The University of Highlands & Islands

An interview with Gus Harrower

Gus Harrower Wonder

“Nobody would have to know, your secrets on the radio…”

Gus Harrower,Gus,Harrower,Live,Wembley,London,

Gus’ music career began at primary school when he started piano lessons at a relatively young age. However, he did admit that he “hated learning to begin with. I couldn’t get into it when I started, but I stuck at it”.

Gus continued his interest in music by becoming a student at Morningside School of Music. This is where he began to practice and excel at the piano. He only had praise for the teachers at the music school, saying that “the encouragement from Paul and my piano teacher at the time inspired me with the music I would go onto write”.

He continued, “listening to the music which the tutors advised me to, totally expanded my taste in music and helped with my songwriting”.

Gus’ Musical Influences

Musical influences were a thing Gus was keen to share, citing numerous artists that have shaped his career. He began with his favourite act, American indie folk band Bon Iver.

“Currently, I enjoy listening to Bon Iver. The band are very different from the music I write, however, the lyrics are brilliant and great to listen to”.

He carried on, “I enjoy listening to Billy Joel. He is an excellent pianist and was brilliant in concert when I saw him at Old Trafford”.

However, Gus was keen to point out that it’s not only famous musicians impact his music. He added, “I learn lots from my friends and other musicians around Edinburgh; they don’t have to be a big name to influence my music taste”.


What was very apparent in talking to Gus is that his music taste is very diverse. Other than Billy Joel and Bon Iver, Gus listens to different artists on Spotify and spoke about the last playlist he listened to. “On my artist page on Spotify, you can find a playlist called Ten Tunes. It’s quite varied; there is some Blossoms and Theo Katzman too”.

Music, Work and Studies

While on the topic of Spotify, Gus spoke about his music which features on the platform. He expressed that “Spotify is great for artists, as millions of people can hear our music”.

Gus Harrower

Gus already has some music on the music platform with his album “Where We Were” which is performing well. However, he isn’t content with tha

t. He continued, “the aim, for me, is to get my music on an editorial playlist. These playlists can be another way to get people to listen to my music, so I am hopeful that it could happen soon”.

Gus loves gigging and is part of a very successful wedding band. He said, “I am enjoying playing in the wedding band at the moment. I joined the band last year as a money maker on the side of uni, and we are now booked up every Saturday until November”.

In the band, Gus doesn’t play his music; however, he did mention that he likes playing covers of other musician’s songs. “I do enjoy playing covers, though we have had some strange requests for first songs. The other week we had a wedding and were asked to play the Foo Fighters, which was a change”. He continued, “we were also asked to play Peter Gabriel’s Book of Love which is a more common request.”

Our discussion then moved from music to studies. Gus is currently in his second year of Popular Music at Napier University. “I’m finding the course very enjoyable. The lecturers are great, and I feel I am learning lots of new techniques. That’s also how I fell into the wedding band; through my course”.


The Future

Gus is sure of his immediate future and has got the next couple of years planned out. “Firstly I want to finish my degree and try to fit in as many gigs as possible while I’m still at uni. I am also keen to work on my music over the next few years, as well as play in the wedding band”.

Gus Harrower,Wonder,Gus,Harrower,Edinburgh,Music,Musician,

Further down the line, Gus is undecided about what to do after university. However, he knows he wants to remain in the music industry. “I want to stay involved in music; I know that for sure. I quite fancy moving away from Edinburgh, possibly down to London for a while”.

He admitted that it is challenging to make it as a musician but, he does have a few ideas. “It’s hard to make it in music; however I am hoping to become a songwriter or session player maybe”.

Regardless of the future, Gus Harrower is aiming to get more of his music onto Spotify. In fact, his fantastic new single “Wonder” is available to download now. You can also purchase Wonder on Apple Music.

You can follow Gus on Facebook here: Gus Harrower Facebook

Improve How You Practice


If you have been following our blog posts, you will know that the number one thing that will make a difference in your music education, is practice.  We often get asked how someone can improve, or how to take your playing to the next level. Practice is always our answer.

The vast majority of our students have trouble practising – either because they find it boring or struggle to fit it into their busy days.  Here are some tips and tricks on how to fit practising into your (or your child’s) life.

Work it into your routine.

Are you a morning person? Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day and use that time to play. If you’re more of a night owl, make it part of your evening routine, like brushing your teeth. We have some students who practice during their lunch breaks, or as a reward for finishing their homework.

Make your practice fun. 

Play games to work on your chords, or wait until the end of the practice session to play your favourite song. There are many websites and blog posts dedicated to making practising more enjoyable, so a quick google is always worthwhile. You could also ask your teacher next time you’re in how they make it fun for themselves.

Reward yourself. 

Find some way to keep track of how often you practice (make a chart, put pennies in a jar, etc.) When you reach different milestones reward yourself! You could get a new capo, buy some fun new sheet music, or get a new shirt for your next open mic night.

Variety is the spice of life.

Switch up what order you do your practising, which songs you play, and what rewards you give yourself. Changing little things during the practise sessions keeps it fresh and fun.

Book a gig.

The thought of a live audience often helps with motivation. Our live music nights are great opportunities to show off your skills, and improve your practising in the weeks before!  Alternatively, find an open mic night and commit to date you will be ready to play by.

Piano Man: Billy Joel

Billy Joel Picture

I first came across the music of Billy Joel while on holiday in America. We were driving along the highway, and over the radio Piano Man, possibly Joel’s most successful hit is played. I was a teenager at the time, and I was listening to the usual pop played on UK radio stations. However, it was refreshing to hear smooth and relaxing music that helps you unwind. It was from this moment forward that my love Joel’s music began.

The Early Years

Joel’s father, a German classical pianist, did influence Joel’s music. However, it was, in fact, his mother who insisted he learned to play. He practised the piano alongside Morton Estrin albeit Joel admitted that he was a better organist than a pianist.

The Piano Man

Billy Joel Piano Man AlbumIronically, despite Joel’s adamance that his future lay with the organ, his first major hit was Piano Man. This song explains the lives of the Saturday night customers in a piano bar in Los Angeles. Although the lyrics are very impressive, it was the intro that caught my attention. I would argue that the intro to Piano Man is one of the most recognisable of all time due to its unique blend of instruments. The intro provides fifteen seconds of complete relaxation, which continues throughout the piece.

The easy listening feel of Piano Man has made it one of the old ‘classics’ played by radio stations. However, it’s not the only one of Joel’s songs to have the same effect. ‘She’s Always a Woman’ follows suit and has become a favourite on Smooth Radio, appearing regularly on air and, to be honest, you can understand why. A romantic story, where Joel spends the entirety of the piece picking out the faults of the lady, but instead of letting these annoy him, he responds with the fact that ‘She’s Always a Woman’ in his eyes.

A Man of Many Talents

Billy Joel isn’t only known for relaxing pieces and, in fact, my favourite Joel songs are more upbeat toe-tappers. ‘The Longest Time’, is enjoyable because of the almost barbershop quartet feel. This song is less well-known than some of Joel’s other singles however it did gain some popularity by featuring in American comedy How I Met Your Mother. I enjoy the different vocals on the track, and it is, again, another song which will get you singing.

Only the Good Die Young Album

“Only the Good Die Young,” tells the story of one of Joel’s high school crushes, a Catholic girl called Virginia. The song was highly controversial on its release, with many feeling the song was anti-catholic, however, I disagree. I feel Joel is merely lamenting the fact that he cannot be involved girl whom he is fascinated with, which is something many people can relate to.

The Future

Billy Joel is now, sadly, coming to the end of his long and illustrious musical career. At the age of 68, the New Yorker’s tour this year could well be his last. He won’t be visiting Edinburgh on this tour, unlike in 1979 when he played the Usher Hall, and his only UK gig will be at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, in June. His gig in Manchester will undoubtedly be a brilliant night as we listen to the greatest hits of a true music legend.

For more information: Billy Joel Website

Guitar Giants file for Bankruptcy

Selection of Gibson Guitars

After more than 116 years in business, guitar giants Gibson have filed for bankruptcy. The files submitted on Tuesday have stated that the company has at least $100 million in debt. Gibson have taken the step in an attempt to rejuvenate the company. However, the move has shocked the music community, as no one would have expected that such an illustrious company could have such major monetary problems.

History of Gibson Guitars

Orville Gibson founded his guitar company as Gibson-Mandolin Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd back in 1902. Originally, he began by making mandolin style guitars and by the 1930s the company had started selling acoustic guitars. In the 1950s the Les Paul was created which is still, the most iconic guitar in the world. Garrison Guitars took over the company in 2007, and only seven years ago they were renamed to Gibson Brands Inc.

Famous Gibson Guitar Players

Slash playing GibsonThe list of famous Gibson players is quite extensive. Slash, of Guns ‘n’ Roses, is the first famous player to mention. Along with his outstanding top hat, Slash always carries a Gibson on stage, most notably a Les Paul. Slash is probably best known for his 1959 replica built by Kris Derrig, which his manager bought for him in the 1980s. Slash used this iconic guitar in the recording of Appetite For Destruction and still has it in his collection to date.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones has played his famous Les Paul guitar for years. In fact, Richards became the first British ‘star-owner’ of the Les Paul in 1959. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Richards continued to use several Les Paul and ES models in many of his music videos, therefore, he has become a very well known Gibson player.

Another famous player is Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Like Richards, Page has owned several guitars and currently uses a 1959 “number 1”, which he once described as his “mistress and wife”. Jimmy Page most famously used a double-necked EDS-1275 in Led Zepplin’s live performances of Stairway to Heaven and The Rain Song.

Why Bankruptcy?

News emerged in February this year that the guitar manufacturer has financial difficulties. Their bankruptcy, however, has only come to light at the start of this month. According to CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, the company have decided to “re-focus on core business and instruments”. He added that his main concern was “the long-term stability and financial health” of the company.

Gibson’s financial instability is due to a culmination of several problems. Firstly their Chief Financial Officer Bill Lawrence quit after less than a year in the post. Then $375 million of senior secured notes surfaced and, also, the company now owe $145 million in bank loans.

Gibson’s bankruptcy, according to many in the music industry, is partially due to the demand for guitars decreasing. gibson guitarEric Clapton has said recently that “the guitar is over” and it is clear to see that the market for guitars has fallen since the early 2000s; encouraging the resale of guitars. This means that Gibson, are missing out on much-needed revenue.

What does the future hold?

Gibson hopes that they will undergo a restructuring process to return profitability to the company. Gibson have already begun offering redundancy to some staff to cut costs. Their aim for the near future is to reduce debts and generate funds to pay off their bank loans and senior secured notes. Gibson Brands Inc are hopeful they will retain their status as the guitar manufacturing heavyweights, by efficiently managing their debts. Most musicians seem positive that Gibson will re-emerge unscathed from this recent scandal.

Morningside School of Music director, Paul Boyd stated:

“Both the clients and staff of Morningside School of Music, are positive that Gibson Guitars Inc will overcome this significant glitch in their trading history and continue to be one of the leading international musical instrument brands.”

Written by Luke Shearer on Saturday the 6th of May, 2018.

We care about the environment


At Morningside School of Music, we have always taken great pride in the fact that we try our best to care for the planet and taking climate change very seriously. From our beginnings as a company, one of our first tenets was to consider the environment when operating in our day to day work. We didn’t mind if it was going to cost us more. We believed that if we were ethical from day one, then we could only do good for the planet.

Here are some ways we protect the environment.

  1. We decided not to renew our branded company cars. Instead, we opted for bicycles and public transport when needed.
  2. Our staff minimise their use of all materials as much as possible, especially plastic. Any plastic is recycled.
  3. We reuse everything that we can including cardboard boxes and paper.
  4. We only purchase recycled printer and copier paper.
  5. Our toilet rolls are purchased in bulk to avoid unnecessary deliveries.
  6. We recycle where possible through our appointed recycling contractor.
  7. All lighting inside and outside Morningside School of Music are LEDs.
  8. During daylight hours, we do not switch on any unnecessary lighting.
  9. We minimise power consumption of internal lighting by using the motion detectors installed in the music school.
  10. Our outside lighting has sensors that only switch lighting on when it is dark enough. This minimises power consumption.
  11. Unlike a lot of businesses and households, we switch off all electricity at night. (apart from our alarm and security lighting which is LED which helps climate change)
  12. Our computer monitors go into standby mode when not in use.
  13. Our printers go to sleep when not in use to save electricity and help climate change.
  14. We only use remanufactured ink cartridges.
  15. We send our used ink cartridges to a charity to be reused.
  16. Our digital pianos switch off automatically when not in use.
  17. Our toilets use water reduction devices.
  18. The music school has a very small hot water boiler which heats water only when needed.
  19. We do not purchase products which are tested on animals and very strongly disapprove of animal cruelty and abuse.
  20. We never switch our heating on until it’s cold enough. Usually, the heating stays off entirely from April until November.
  21. We open windows during summer and try to avoid using fans if we can.
  22. Our hand dryers are Dyson Airblades which produce up to 83% less CO2 than other hand dryers and avoid wasting paper towels.
  23. We monitor environmental advice from independent charities such as Greenpeace to learn of new ways to better the planet.

We do not claim to have everything perfect yet, but we are continually looking for new methods to protect the environment.



Morningside School of Music is also a very proud member of Greenpeace.

Have You Heard – Canadian Edition

Canadian Flag

Our new series ‘Have you Heard…’ will showcase new or lesser known artists.  If you have any suggestions for artists to feature, please feel free to comment or send us an email!  For the first edition of the series, our Creative Manager, Laura, will highlight some Canadian artists.  Being a Canadian herself, she is uniquely equipped for this job.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of lots of incredible Canadian artists- Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Tragically Hip, The Band, Leonard Cohen but you might not have known these people are Canadian.  I thought I would dig a little deeper into the Canadian music scene to highlight some artists you may or may not have heard of, but ones that I think deserve more attention on this side of the pond.

The Sheepdogs

Fun fact: after winning Rolling Stone’s ‘Choose The Cover’ competition in 2011, they also became the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of the magazine.  This folk-rock band from Saskatchewan is worth a listen.


Great Lake Swimmers

They just released a fantastic new album, A Forest of Arms.  This song is off their 2007 album, Ongiara.


Hannah Georgas

A Vancouver-based artist who has been getting a lot of buzz recently.


Arcade Fire

A band with an impressive array of instruments that they take on tour (viola, accordion, glockenspiel, hurdy-gurdy, to name but a few).  I am confident that many of you know already listen to Arcade Fire- but if you don’t, you should!


City and Colour

This is the alias for Dallas Green, the guitarist of Alexisonfire (another great Canadian band).  Each of his albums goes in a different musical direction, and, he recently did a collaborative album with Pink called You + Me.  City and Colour is my favourite, so here are two songs.



The Strombo Show

This is not a band, but if you are interested in music, especially Canadian music, it is a show you should be listening to.  It is available online here.

Recording Music At Home

home recording device

Music technology has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. The days of having to go into the studio to record your demo are over, with a plethora of DAW’s (digital audio workstation) now available to use for home recording. Home computers now have the strength to carry out significant musical tasks, such as recording multiple audio tracks at the same time. This has led to DAW’s being a key part of any budding musician’s tool kit. Below are the top three DAW’s currently on the market:

Cubase Pro 8 (£400)

  • From it’s humble beginnings on the Atari ST back in 1989, Cubase has come a long way in what it can offer
  • The layout is user-friendly as well as it being easier to find your way about
  • Cubase is very useful if working with MIDI (recording MIDI piano for example) interests you
  • The wide range of new plug-ins are useful for composition and making each track sound clean and professional
  • Suitable for Mac and PC
  • Perfect for the musician looking to start home recording

Pro Tools 12 (£600)

  • Pro Tools also started out back in 1989 as a software editor for a synth
  • The audio capabilities of Pro Tools are simply jaw dropping
  • Pro Tools is used in most of the major recording studios around the world
  • Fairly complicated to get to grips with but online courses are available for official qualifications
  • Not really suitable for beginners because of its complicated layout
  • Requires hardware such as the Fast Track Due audio interface which you can purchase with the software
  • Pro Tools is aimed more are producers rather than musicians

Reason 8 (£269)

  • Reason started out in 2000
  • There is a massive range of plugins & samples to individualise the software
  • Very easy to use
  • Suitable for musicians rather that producers
  • Lots of free online tutorials on their website
  • This is our favourite as it covers just about everything you could ever need, plus it is the most cost-effective!

For more information on any of the above, please click the links on the name of each piece of software.