Reference – Group Performance Advice – Finlay Allison

Here are some note that Finlay kindly supplied from the tutored practice on 15th October.

So – another point that our ‘committee’ will discuss on Monday 22nd – how we/who can update the playlists with the additonal detail suggested.

Thanks once again to Finlay for a super session – great fun and always makes you feel confident.


Hi Scratchies!

Thanks for asking me along the other night to advise about playing and performing-I really enjoyed it.

Here are some thoughts I had when I got home.

Some pointers about playing together………

Sit or stand together

If possible get melody instruments separate from rhythm

cellos somewhere between

Get ready!

Whatever the tune, take a few seconds to prepare where your fingers are going to go before the music starts.

Get set!

If one player is nominated as introducing the tune then it is the responsibility of the whole group to look at him/her and be ready for the signal. (Perhaps that person could stand and say “Ready?” to draw attention?) It is poor etiquette and unprofessional to keep chatting about some musical nugget when the whole group is waiting to start. You must get used to treating your audience and fellow players

with respect and this discipline helps your whole performance.


It is a major sin to ‘creep in’ to the tune once braver souls have begun. Play strongly and confidently especially the first few notes as you are really saying

“Here we are-listen to the this!” , not “Excuse me, sorry for bothering you….”

Don’t be apologetic (at least not before you begin!)

Look the part.

If you look nervous or bury your head in the music then you are sort of saying to anyone listening that they are secondary to your performance.

Why should anyone care what you’re doing? Make them feel included-make them wish they were in your group and having as much fun as you.

I know you were having fun but it really didn’t look like it! Relax! Smile! Look at each other! Encourage each other! And get your head out of the music now and again and into the room!


Perhaps an arrangement sheet like this (or something like it) would be useful instead of long discussions and reminders and chat among the players before you begin.

  Tune song or tune key type number of times through remarks start end leader
Banks   and Braes song G waltz   (1-2-3) 6 1-unison2-+harmony3-sing




last   4 bars slow   down last 4 bars Allan
Mason’s   Apron tune A Reel(1-2-3-4) 3 guitars loud open ‘a’ string on first   beat last   4 bars stop   short on last note-pause-chord-end together Neil

It’s a big group and no one wants to be bossy and lead it all. But you can’t have a committee meeting in between each tune-something like this might help……..

Right – that’s enough for now



4 Responses to “Reference – Group Performance Advice – Finlay Allison”

  1. Group Performance Advicwe – Finlay Allison « Scratchy Noises Says:

    […] […]

  2. allan storrie Says:

    brilliant advice from a seasoned performer!!

  3. Frances Says:

    Yes very good advice indeed!!!!

  4. Roy K Says:

    Thanks Finlay, a great session with excellent advice, as per usual.

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