Martin Fender-Gibson's Story


Story submitted, August 2012.


Some background information

  1. So that I can compare responses between countries and across generations, please give me the following background information on when and where you went to school.

    Your nationality:

    - Scottish -

    The country in which you went to school:

    - Scotland -

    Your age:

    - 57 -

    The year in which you left school:

    - 1972 -

  2. I also need some information on your formal music education (if you had one), so please give details below of any lessons or qualifications in music that you have taken.  You will have chance to expand on these answers later, so brief details are fine at this stage.

    Years of classroom music in school (e.g. aged 5-14):

    - 3 -

    Instrumental / vocal lessons (e.g. piano from aged 9 to 15):

    - Some guitar lessons, age 14. -

    Other musical study (give details):

    - Self-taught on guitar, mostly as an adult. -

  3. Please give a brief description of your current involvement in music:

    - I play professionally as a folk musician, and songwriter, recording, touring. I also work in the development of traditional music at a policy and advocacy level. -

  4. Please tell me where you heard about this research project:

    - Jo Miller. -

Thank you for those details.  The rest of the questionnaire is more open-ended: there are five prompts about home background, school experiences, influential people, highlights and regrets, and you can use those to tell your story in whatever way makes sense to you.

Please answer in as much detail as you feel able to, focusing on those questions which are most relevant to you, and giving specific memories and examples whenever you can.



Life history prompts

  1. What kind of music was going on in your home as a child? How influential do you think this was in your development?

    - BBC Light Programme (later Radio 1 and 2), Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops, White Heather Club on TV. The latter had a bearing on my attraction to traditional music, but pop music was my main interest as a child. No one in the house played. -

  2. What are your memories of school music? (These might include people, activities, opportunities…)

    - Up till year 7 school music was practically non-existent, although the BBC's 'Singing Together' radio programmes saved the day. Some of the songs we sung to that programme stay with me to this day. In year 7 I moved to a school where the head teacher was passionate about choral music and ran a school choir which enjoyed some success in school music competitions. At secondary school I sang in the senior choir, which was run by an ambitious and talented music teacher, who had us performing Handel's Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Faure Requiem in prestigious venues, such as Paisley Abbey and St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. Classroom music was pretty desultory in comparison. -

  3. Who has been influential on your musical behaviour at various stages of your life?

    - Guitar playing peers at school, instrumentalists met through folk clubs, my musical partner.. More remotely BBC broadcaster, John Peel, musicians like Ashley Hutchings, Jack Evans, Simon Nicol, Richard Thompson, Ralph Towner, Neil Young, Steve Marriott and hundreds more. -

  4. What have been the highlights of your musical life history so far?

    - First recording with my band, three recordings with my partner, performing for the President and First Lady in Washington DC, touring in Germany, festival appearances, having a song synchronised in a Hollywood movie. Finding my voice as a songwriter. -

  5. Do you have any regrets about missed opportunities in music?

    - Should have started younger. Should have practised more when I did get serious (well into my 20s by then)! But otherwise, no. -