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Ian Lowthian's Music Weekends

All about the weekends

Where does it all happen?

The weekends take place in Ettrickbridge in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Borders, either in the village hall or in Ian's house.

The Weekends

Most of Ian's weekends specialise in accordion tuition, often themed or set at a particular level, but he also does a few mixed instruments weekends throughout the year which have proved to be great fun and a great opportunity to play with other musicians. These weekends are always of mixed ability and often include a wee performance or even the opportunity to play for a ceilidh. We always have a session on the Saturday night in the Cross Keys Ettrickbridge.

The weekends start at 10.00 on the Saturday when everyone arrives and has a wee cup of tea and cake! Tuition usually starts about 10.30 and we will work until lunch, usually about 12.30ish. After lunch we will then work until about 5.30 with a break for tea/coffee when required! Janey will feed us about 6.00 then we head for the pub for the rest of the evening. Sunday is much the same but we'll finish about 3.00 then have a cup of tea.

The Tuition


Most of the tunes covered on the weekends will be from the field of traditional music, unless it is a themed weekend or the ‘Anything Goes’ weekend when any kind of music may crop up!

Apart from the odd mixed instruments weekend the weekends are not all about performance so it won’t be expected that you will be able to play all the tunes by the end of the weekend, think of it more like a big concentrated accordion lesson that you can filter out over the following weeks and months!

The music will be provided for all the tunes but will often be taught firstly by ear, which for confident readers can be a bit daunting at first, but it's good to at least have a wee go at it. There may be some participants who don't read music at all so this can be a good opportunity to discuss fingering etc.

Once we've roughly learned the tune we may then discuss bellows phrasing, ornamentation, articulation, style and other technical questions that crop up in the tune.

There is usually a bit of discussion about bass patterns and some of the jazz chords that may appear on the music such as Dm7 or Cmaj7 etc. We may talk a bit about arrangement, use of the couplers and more general techniques such as the bellows-shake and vibrato.

No doubt you'll have some questions too so there will be time for a bit of discussion and usually some banter.

You may want to bring some kind of recording device along to remind yourself of the tune and style etc. when you get home!

The Costs


The cost of the weekend to include the tuition, all resources, tea and coffee and an invitation to join us for lunch and an evening meal on the Saturday night is £140

All the meals and soup etc. will be vegetarian but please let us know of any particular dietary needs.

You will need to find your own accommodation sadly! The Cross Keys Ettrickbridge where we will have the session has limited space so book early if you want to stay there. Have a look at the accommodation page for more places to stay.

The cost to join in by Zoom is £95


The Session


We'll all invade the Cross Keys on the Saturday night for a tune. This is an opportunity for you to play some of your own repertoire, whatever it is! Those that can may join in. You may even want to burst into song or give a wee recitation. Sessions can be daunting but this one shouldn't be! Don't worry about having your music with you or making mistakes it's all about having fun, and it's great for others to hear new tunes and styles from round the country! You can also just sit back and enjoy the music if you feel you've been working hard all day!


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