Young musicians funding boost

Three young musicians from the Western Isles have just been awarded funding by The Agar Trust. The grants will help develop their talents.

Singer, Caitlin Mackenzie (15), from the Isle of Lewis, bagpiper, Katie MacDonald (14), from Barra and clarsach player, Margaret Macdonald (10), from Benbecula, were among 18 talented musicians living in remote and rural areas of Scotland who received awards to further their musical education.

The grants will help them attend the National Youth Choir of Scotland girls’ choir, the National Youth Band of Scotland and private clarsach lessons in Glenfinnan respectively.

The Trust was delighted to welcome new recipients as well as 8 previous award winners from 2014.

The Trust recognises the wealth of talented young musicians living in remote and rural areas of Scotland who wish to further their musical education or develop a career in music.

While enjoying the advantages of their location, these young people face difficult challenges such as long journeys to attend lessons, rehearsals, courses and auditions.

Local music opportunities offer youngsters an excellent start. But often they must also travel for specialist tuition or to play with others of a similar standard.

Journeys can range from a weekly 200 mile round trip to a 500 mile round trip made 3-4 times per year. Inevitably, the financial and time costs are significantly demanding on families.

In April 2015, Donald Martin, a 17 year old double bass player from Stornoway received Trust funds to attend NYOS courses in Perth and Edinburgh.

His teacher said: “We don’t have an orchestra on the Isles, so the chance to play with the best of Scotland’s young musicians would have a long lasting effect on his musical future.”

Music teachers, music schools, and national music institutions are encouraging young people to apply for funding.

The Trust is keen to make these vital funds available to all talented young musicians living in remote and rural areas of Scotland.

The next deadline for applications is in Spring 2016. Visit