We caught up with Margaret Robertson, musician and Musical Director of Hjaltibonhoga, about her experiences of studying at Mareel.
What first drew you to study at Mareel?
I studied at Mareel through Shetland College and the University of the Highlands and Islands. The inspiration to study came about when UHI offered a BA in Applied Music online. Whilst students were encouraged to attend Video Conferences live, the VC's were recorded thus meaning I could continue working fulltime and study fulltime too.
What are you up to these days?
I now teach privately, I compose with a third book of tunes being prepared, I am Musical Director of Hjaltibonhoga, the Shetland Fiddlers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo organising the band, rehearsals and arranging the music, I also perform either on fiddle or piano when the opportunity arises.
Is there one bit of knowledge you gained from your time with us that you'll always remember?
One of my favourite studies was analysis of music, digging into the concepts and devices used by some of the greatest composers. However a lasting memory is standing at the desk with Jonathan Ritch which is one of the most terrifying places I have ever been and witnessing his thoroughly calm approach....
What advice would you give to people looking to start their careers in music?
It will be your passion to play that inspires a career in music but there is so much more to having a successful career. Resilience and diversification are incredibly important as well as understanding that you are a business which needs all the same support as any other, work space, finance, materials, time off! Be prepared to work hard!
When you're not making music, who are you listening to right now?
My listening is wide and varied, recently I've listened to Nicola Benedetti, Gregory Porter, fiddlers Pierre Schryer, Chirs Stout, Sean Maguire and the Black Rose Ceilidh Band.