Friends on Baith Sides : Song Writing

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On Saturday the 10th of September we had the second of our Friends on Baith Sides workshops. Friends on Baith Sides is an intergenerational project funded by Austin Hope Pilkington Trust and Craigie Development Trust. The project takes its name from a line in Burns’ 1792 poem ‘Here’s A Health To Them That’s Awa’ and is aimed at getting people of different generations to form friendships and learn skills together, this week we had a song writing workshop led by Jamie McGeechan.

The workshop on Saturday was busy and vibrant with a nice mix of people of all ages. At the beginning of the workshop Jamie highlighted how important he felt it was to interact and form friendships with those of different generations to your own. One of the participants spoke to me during the break about how nice it was to see young people there getting involved and that it ‘Restored his faith in humanity’ he also spoke about the generation gap and how it only exists if you let it.


The workshop took the form of a nice big chat with everyone sharing their own ideas, opinions and experience of song writing and interacting with music. We also had quite a few participants performing for us. It was really lovely to see how comfortable the group was and how supportive everyone was of each other.


Jamie played a couple of his own songs for us including one called ‘These Days.’


Rosie sang a song for us about horses on the boat from Arran during the First World War. It was based on a photo she had seen which she had used for inspiration.


Rebecca is 15 and got into song writing after having been offered music lessons at school. She sang a song she had written called ‘Little Soldier’ for us, she had been inspired by other songs she had heard and the idea of telling another side of the story. The intergenerational aspect of the project was really highlighted when Rebecca said that she was inspired by singer songwriters such as Ed Sheeran and I saw one of the older men in the group looking up and mouthing ‘Who!?’


Hector then sang a song called ‘Smile’ that he had written the previous night which had been based on the good mood he had been in that night. He told us about how he writes about what he sees and how he feels. Hector is 13 now and has been playing guitar since he was in primary 5.


Kenny then performed the ‘Loch Fyne Herring Song’ for us. He wasn’t sure himself if it was a song or a poem but it told the lovely story of him being sent to buy herring for his family when he was a young boy.


Our youngest participants Maisie and Archie played us some music that they had made on an app called Garage Band and Archie also played a wee bit of guitar for us on this very snazzy blue acoustic number.


It was a brilliant day and everyone seemed to have a great time, two of my favourite bits of song writing advice that were shared was Hector’s advice of ‘Nobody said it had to make sense anyway’ and Scott’s comforting statement that ‘Persistent doubt is part of creativity.’ I think one of the participants summed the day up perfectly by saying ‘I enjoyed the workshop, brilliant company and young and old learning together!’

We will be hosting a creative showcase of the work that has been done during the Friends on Baith Sides project on October 1st from 11am-1pm.

For more information about Jamie and his work please visit his website.





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