By using this site, you agree to cookies being set.
Please see our cookie policy for more details on what cookies we use and how.



Piano with Hamish Napier, on campus

Dates: 16/08/21 - 20/08/21
Price: £260 (£180 for students)
Eiligible for ILA funding: No

Book now!

Above: Hamish Napier
Photo of Hamish
Above: Hamish Napier

**Please note our accommodation options have changed.  We now offer accommodation on a FULL-BOARD basis only.  Please see our accommodation page for further details.**

Hamish’s distinctive piano accompaniment style is rhythmic, edgy and passionate, coloured with jazz harmonies and expressive dynamics ranging from sensitive spacious moments to highly spirited peaks.

- Open to intermediate to advanced piano player, or any style.

- No piano grade exam levels are required, but the course is not suitable for general piano beginners unfortunately.

- A little experience of Scottish folk piano accompaniment is required

- Naturally there will be students of different levels within the class. The amount (and level) of coursework given will be tailored to suit each individual student.


This course will cover four Scottish folk piano skill sets:

•             Modern accompaniment (similar to the general approach of guitarists - a rhythmic techniques, grooves and voice leading)

•             Traditional Vamping (how to accompany marches and strathspeys for ceilidh dances and incorporate 7th chords and rhythmic pushes). A little improv.

•             Pop and Country piano (techniques used for embellishing chord accompaniments to songs and slow tunes)

•             Solo folk piano pieces: mostly using slow tunes, melody and fingering in right hand will be explored, combined with left hand accompaniment ideas.


You do not need to be able to read music, but there will be a great deal of writing chord symbols. There will be an even balance of piano playing and music theory.  There will be mixed ability levels in each class but exercises/tasks will be tailored to suit the needs of each pianist. It is essential that you bring headphones and your own keyboard as there will be brief spells of individual practice during class time.  Ability to play the following scales with ease is absolutely essential for this course: F major, C major, G major, D major, A major.

It is recommended (but not essential) that you have a knowledge of:

•             Chords I, IV and V in the following major keys: F,C,G,D and A.

•             The scales of A natural minor, E natural minor, B natural minor.

Here’s a link to free streamable piano tracks on my website:

About Hamish:-

Hamish Napier is a Scottish folk multi-instrumentalist, educator and composer inspired by the heritage and nature of his native landscape. He was born and brought up in Strathspey. For 17 years he lived and worked in Glasgow and Boston’s vibrant, multi-genre music scenes. On returning home 4 years ago, he began his 'Strathspey Pentalogy’, an ambitious 10-year project to produce 5 landscape inspired albums. The River (‘16) and The Railway (‘18) received 5-stars in national newspapers. The Woods (’20) was awarded 'Album of the Year' in the Scots Trad Music Awards - he has previous nominations for Community Composer, Live Act and Tutor of the Year.

Hamish has collaborated with leading artists such as Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson (Capercaillie), Julie Fowlis (Brave), Duncan Chisholm (Wolfstone), Blue Rose Code and Martyn Bennett. He has worked on national TV/radio as both performer and presenter, and appeared at festivals, theatres, music camps and universities throughout the UK, Europe and America.

Hamish's work often includes elements of Gaelic & Scots language and is modelled on traditional reels and jigs. He strives for a balance between tradition and innovation, celebrating and respecting Scotland’s rich musical heritage while transcending boundaries, with jazz, electronic and classical techniques. Hamish combines wooden flutes, fiddles and pipes, with a modern rhythm section and pioneering music production.

His work is often interdisciplinary: syncing my music to landscape films or incorporating poems and stories. Hamish produced a film 'Strathspey Stories' that premiered at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and is currently gathering and recording local stories for Badenoch Heritage & Cairngorms National Park.

“There’s stunning craft to Hamish’s music-making. The sleeve-notes for The Woods are little Nan-Shepherd-esque prose-poems in their own right.”
Robert MacFarlane ‘The Lost Words’

★★★★★ “The Woods is a beautifully constructed, evocative and distinctive album…a splendid and rare treat.”  SONGLiNES Magazine

★★★★★ “Scintillating…brilliantly vivid”  The Scotsman

★★★★★ “Napier has the composer’s gift of painting a picture with sound, more evocative that an artist. Superb.” FATEA Magazine

"A vivid exploration of woodland, and its connection to the past and present. Meticulous research and authenticity drives it…a work of passion and commitment.”
Cameron McNeish, Scots Magazine


Click on the links below and take a look at some of Hamish’s work -

Duncan Chisholm accompanist:

General film page: