Tie The Knot – Classical Music in Scotland

I was flattered to be approached by Tie The Knot – Scotland’s premiere wedding magazine to be included in their September/October 2018 publication.  This month they feature classical musicians who have the pleasure to perform for couples in venues across Scotland.  Click on the link below for the article

Classical Entertainment Tie the Knot 2018

Here is the article in full which  I shared with their editor about my opinion of classical music’s place in weddings and a little snap shot of my experience as a trumpeter playing at weddings.  There was of course much more which could have been written and included – perhaps I could have shared the experience of playing the opening theme from Star Wars for the exit music going into Imperial March – all specially requested by the groom!

” Music has a wonderful way of uniting people together from all backgrounds and beliefs and classical music is no exception – especially on a wedding day.  It’s a broad style of music that works in a variety of instrumentation or voice and it’s foundation is its strong sense of melody.  
Classical music is timeless and can offer a special personal touch to a wedding. There’s not only a great choice of classical music to choose from but it has the ability to be formal, fun, and most of all celebratory.
As a trumpeter I’ve played classical music at each stage of a wedding from playing the bridal procession with a trumpet fanfare or voluntary, playing an aria during the signing of the register to performing a selection of upbeat classical favourites throughout the drinks reception.
Couples have the choice to have as much or as little classical music as they wish at their wedding.  Being able to offer solo trumpet with an option of working alongside an organist or pianist, I can demonstrate through the sound of the trumpet the range of character it can display, including, brilliance, power, a regal feel and of course, a sense of joy.  I can also provide my own established brass ensemble (www.brasstracksmusic.co.uk) or trumpet and accordion duo, Albaccord, that offers the option of entertaining with a variety of musical styles as well as classical music.  My work is all acoustic without the need for an electricity supply, therefore ideal for those outside weddings or in a rural setting.   



Teaching and workshops

Full information to follow soon.

  1. Finlay Hetherington in action taking the Mansfield University trumpet ensemble class.

2.  Finlay sitting alongside Professor Sheryl Monkelien before my next lecture in the Mansfield University music department’s impressive auditorium.

The Scotsman newspaper featured Finlay Hetherington on the front page of their weekend section informing up coming my upcoming music workshops in Edinburgh.

Recording and session projects: Trumpet and Flugelhorn

Finlay enjoys being part of music sessions whether it is for live or a recording project.  Every experience is very different and varied, always providing an opportunity to think creatively, with an emphasis of keeping ideas fresh.  It forces us as musicians to engage with the sound and musicians around you intensely, especially as they are often one off without or with very little rehearsal.

Finlay’s background as a classical trained trumpet player has given him the foundation and interest to try and explore other music genres and styles.  The discipline of learning as a classical musician has given him the tools to study the characteristics, nuances and musical language of jazz, pop and world music.  Each experience keeps the challenge of playing the trumpet musically interesting and there is never not an opportunity to keep learning from listening to others both within ones own discipline and from others.

Finlay performs on the following instruments: Yamaha Custom 8335 LA Bb trumpet, Custom Satin Gold finish Eclipse flugelhorn, Schilke P 5-4 Bb/A Piccolo trumpet. 

Brass Tracks – Brass Ensemble

Brass Tracks is an Edinburgh based brass quintet which formed in 2013.  Over the years Finlay has been part of and played in numerous small to large scale brass ensembles throughout Scotland and other areas of the UK.   Forming Brass Tracks gave Finlay the ability to bring together friends and colleagues who have equal passions for brass chamber music and exploring its rich musical history over the last five hundred years to the present day.

Brass Tracks enjoys a diverse portfolio of performance projects which include recitals across Scotland’s music clubs and societies, recording sessions, commercial and corporate work, accompany choirs and premiere new works.

Albaccord – trumpet and accordion duo

Albaccord is a trumpet and accordion duo based in Edinburgh.  It has great flexibility to mix and match its instrumentation to move to adding a harp and flugelhorn/keyboards or augment to a trio or quartet with an addition of a tuba player.

Albaccord was born in 2014 after BBC producers got in touch looking for live music for their education tent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  The emphasis was to have Albaccord as the vehicle promoting classical music.  It was a little prequel to their Ten Pieces scheme which launched in the Autumn of 2014.

Over the course of the festival Finlay’s friend and duo partner, Johannes put together a series of arrangements for trumpet and accordion using numerous themes to introduce classical music to our young audiences.   Finlay and Johannes had only planned for one intensive weekend of performing but were asked to do another after the positive response. This time it was to consider the music of classical composers using animals as their muse.

Johannes and Finlay had a lot of fun trying our ideas out from playing extracts from Saint Saen’s Carnival of the Animals to jazzing things up a little by adding in Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther.

Albaccord has had the opportunity to work in its many forms and guises with the following musicians: John Sampson, Eleanor Hetherington, Shane Brogan and Robert Fraser.

In addition to private clients, Albaccord has worked with numerous corporate clients too over the years. Including, the BBC, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Perth City Council, Fife Sports Council and Edinburgh University.

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Perfecting How To Practice

Perfecting how to practice your instrument takes time and patience in knowing what works best for you and demands both focus and discipline.  These latter two principles can be tricky for anyone learning an instrument or maintaining and developing their skills, regardless of age and ability.

The idea that ‘practice make perfect’ is an easy throw away cliche that could confuse many a younger, less experienced musician, who may still to learn to differentiate between playing and actual practice.  There are other phrases which I prefer to use with my students, like, ‘practice doesn’t always sound pretty’, or , ‘practice make permanent’.  Take the last statement for example, how often do you hear someone play a section of music over and over, stumbling over the same areas of either the rhythm or note reading and when it finally sorts itself out, move straight onto something new?!  I would recommend a couple of suggestions to try and avoid this form of ‘practice’ or habit.  If you have identified a ‘tricky’ section of music, then firstly you have already isolated an area to hone in on and practice.  Find a metronome or download a metronome app (see links below) – plently available for free if you don’t have one, and find a tempo/pulse that allows the section of music to be played without hesitation or a stumble.  Mark down the tempo that works for you in your designated progress/planner book and begin to play around with the music – try playing it a different dynamics, vary the articulation, ear mark any key note or rhythm, or if possible stick it down or up an octave.  It’s one way to allow the music notation to become ‘3D’ – becoming more alive, expressive and most importantly more easily manageable to perform.  The tempo by this point can be gradually increased and brought up to the suggested speed.

I asked a couple of colleagues about their top tips on ways to perfect practice: Here are their top 10 tips.

1. Small, regular amounts. Avoid ‘cramming’ or binge practicing, especially prior to lesson or performance.

2. Avoid practicing when tired and unfocused.

3. Start practice with most difficult sections, while fresh and alert.

4. Vary practice from what you focus on, where and time of practice.  Randomise practice.

5. Divide what time you have to practice into sections e.g 10 minute slots.

6. Minimise playing though a song or piece of music until ready and perform to friends or family.

7. Record practice. Use recordings like an audio diary.  Soundcloud is a good online resource for this purpose. See link.

8. If your attention starts to wander – Stop practicing and do something else e.g make a cup of tea

9. Listen to as much music as possible for inspiration.

10. Learn music you enjoy and find out as much as you can about the piece, song and composer. It will help with your understanding of the music and put it into some form of context.

Happy practicing!




Trumpeter Wows Edinburgh

On Friday 27th June, 2014 there was a special concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Finlay Hetherington’s trumpet students had the opportunity to hear and meet with some of the finest living jazz musicians from the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, with their trumpeter and director, Wynton Marsalis.  Benedetti and Marsalis share a musical kinship that crosses genres after meeting ten years ago. Picture: John Devlin

There was even a surprise guest appearance of the Scottish violin virtuoso, Nicola Benedetti. It was fascinating to watch Wynton direct Nicola on some of the jazz nuances in his violin piece.  Not only did this inspire us as musicians, but demonstrated that no matter your level of artistry, you can still learn and be open to lessons from others.

Following the rehearsal, which were kindly invited to observe, our students were able to have a Q&A session with the drummer and pianist of the orchestra, who explained that they were in charge in keeping the melody and rhythm together within the orchestra.

That evening, a busy Usher Hall, were able to enjoy and be, quite literally, blown away by the musicianship and virtuosity of the Lincoln Centre band, who performed a selection of arrangements of the best Blue Note Records.  A very memorable performance that was topped by a very generous and breath taking encore given by Wynton and his rhythm section.