Ally Forsyth is a traditional musician based in Glasgow. Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he is now working with some of the most talented and in-demand musicians in the country.
Brought up in Westhill, near Aberdeen, Ally played piano from a young age. He learned traditional music through Sharon Hassan and The Gordon Gaitherin and played for two years with the Fèis Spè Cairngorms Ceilidh Trail.
For his final year of high school Ally attended the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, taught by Andy Thorburn (piano) and Jack Evans (guitar). It was here that he became part of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated band, Thalla.
Since moving to Glasgow, Ally has studied under the tuition of Mary McCarthy and James Ross, playing at some of the UK’s most prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall and the Steinway Hall, London. Ally is a regular piano tutor at Riverside Music College and has taught both piano and guitar at Gaitherin and Fèisean across the country. Ally has appeared on television and radio across BBC Alba, BBC Radio 2 and Classic FM.
In 2019, Ally was brought on board by Riverside Music College to curate and launch the HND Traditional Music course, lecturing in group work and piano. During the summer, Ally is involved in coordinating the Fèis Fhoirt Ceilidh Trail.
Born and raised in Glasgow’s southside, Robbie began taking piano lessons aged 7 and has been working as a keyboard player in bands since age 14 where he was drafted in to play with a group of musicians including Bluebells drummer David McCluskey and former “Del Amitri” guitarist Bryan Tolland.
A graduate of the University of the West of Scotland with 1st class Bsc (Hons) Music Technology, Robbie divides his time these days between teaching, performing live, working as a session musician, composing music for film and working on the set of documentaries in the sound department.
A former graduate of Riverside’s HND music performance, Robbie works with a plethora of artists including Carly Connor, Lynnie Carson, Connor Selby and Calum Frame and has performed repeatedly at venues such as the Clyde Auditorium (Armadillo), London’s famous 100 club and countless sold out shows at Glasgow’s famous King Tuts and 02 Academy. Robbie also frequents the festival circuit performing at TRNSMT, Party at the Palace, Celtic Connections, EH6 and the Eden Festival where he has supported artists including KT Tunstall, Glasvegas, Gerry Cinnamon and The View to name but a few.
Working in recording sessions has allowed Robbie to travel as far afield as rural France for laying down keyboard tracks with bands. Weekly, he travels the length and breadth of the country performing in one of Scotland’s most sought after wedding bands, “Chart Society”. You can often hear songs featuring Robbie’s playing on shows such as BBC Scotland’s Janice Forsyth show and he has frequented STV’s Riverside TV show playing with a variety of bands over the years.
Hannah is a Glasgow-based musician graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016 and throughout her studies developed a passion for engaging and collaborating in various art-forms and practices.
At RCS, she trained as a music teacher and has years of experience teaching in one-to-one, group and class settings across all ages.
She studied flute with Sheena Gordon and second study with Marilyn Smith. As a student, she developed her passion for teaching, community music, and Kodaly methodology. She now works as a freelance performer, music teacher and collaborating artist. Hannah regularly attends workshops and CPD training constantly developing her skills as a musician but most importantly as a teacher.
Hannah currently teaches a variety of instruments and workshops for Riverside Music College, Reel Kids Music Club, Glad Foundation, Glasgow Children’s Music School and Connecting Sound. She is also the musical director for Hear Me See Me Choir and regularly deputes for East Renfrewshire Music as a woodwind instructor and peripatetic musicianship tutor.
Kirsten has been playing the fiddle since the age of seven. She grew up in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, and has had tuition in both traditional fiddle and classical violin. She has performed with the Aberdeen Strathspey and Reel Society, the North East Folk Collective, and the Cairngorms Ceilidh Trail.
Kirsten was a student at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music based in Plockton for two years, with fiddle tuition from Iain Macfarlane. She has studied Swedish Folk Music at Bollnäs Folkhögskola in Sweden, and she is currently part of organising a weekly Scandinavian music session in Glasgow. Kirsten has gained a wide repertoire of traditional music from different areas across Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.
After attending Riverside and achieving his HND Music Performance, Michael started as part of the Private Tuition Staff at the college.
In between working at Riverside – you can find him playing all round Glasgow and Edinburgh, with his band The Rhubarb, where they have played The Garage, Nice ’N’ Sleazy’s, Stereo, Opium (Edinburgh).
Michael can also seen and heard writing, producing, or recording songs with Wildfire Sessions, who have been working along side The Gladiator Film Company, producing music for films like “Quel che non ti dirò mai” which was featured in the Cardiff International Film Festival 2017, and the Savigliano Film Festival where it won best trailer, featuring the Wildfire Sessions Single “Call When I Get There”.
Michael’s open and detailed approach to lessons provides a unique and fun experience for all ages and playing abilities of students.
Niall Ford (Piano/ Drums)
Niall has been working in music for the past seven years across a variety of music making and teaching. Studying piano in Aberdeen from a young age, he quickly fell in love with classical, jazz and popular music. Alongside this he discovered percussion and drums.
Having been fully involved in the youth ensembles Aberdeen Music Centre had to offer, he also got to work with vocalists and instrumentalists providing accompaniment for exams and concerts. Studying music at the University of Aberdeen for a few years, Niall got exposed to even more music and other musicians, and started to offer music tuition. It is since then that he has had a great passion for helping others play music, teaching privately for the past three years.
Sam Andrew Morrison
Sam was brought up with Traditional Scottish Music from a young age. Listening to his Fathers Traditional band, he quickly got a feel for rhythm and music. Starting with accordion, he swiftly developed a strong passion for piano. As a self-taught musician, Sam discovered improvisation, and this ignited his passion even further.
He began creating his own methods for understanding music theory, not knowing at the time that he would go on to share these signature techniques to students and show them a new way to learn music.
Starting with Traditional, Pop, Blues and Jazz Music, Sam then studied HND Music Performance at Riverside Music College which introduced him to new genres and playing in different bands. He now enjoys playing genres from Modern Classical music to R&B, Soul and Rock music.
When it comes to teaching, Sam’s main aims are to motivate help and inspire passion in beginner musicians and to rekindle old flames with music for previously experienced players. With his unique approach to teaching, his students learn skills like creativity and confidence that will not only help them in music, but elsewhere in their lives. Finally, Sam carefully caters lessons to each student to ensure they are learning what they want in an enjoyable and memorable way.
Stephen is a drummer and percussionist who has played in various bands in and around the Glasgow area over the past 6 years and gigs regularly with Dead Coyotes, Craig Borland and Beggar In The Heights as well as working in various covers bands and one-off projects. He began playing drums when he was 15 and was self-taught until 2016 when he began taking lessons from Gordon Wilson. Stephen has been teaching drums for around a year now and is loving every minute of it!
Stephen also studied Sound Production at Riverside Music College from 2014 to 2017 which gave him even more first-hand knowledge of working in a studio.
Being so active in the Glasgow music scene for the past few years has given Stephen a lot of hands on experience in the studio and at live shows, as well as a working knowledge of various styles of music including Blues, Hard Rock, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Grunge and Ambient music.
Joanna McBride is a versatile vocalist with specialist training in Musical Theatre and Contemporary music. She has been singing since attending UKTheatreSchool in Glasgow at the age of 8.
During her time at UKTheatreSchool Joanna took part in various full-scale productions including- Honk, Seussical the Musical, Hot Mikado, Thoroughly Modern Millie, All Shook Up as a chorus member and The Wiz where she played Aunt Em.
At 16 Joanna began studying HND Musical Theatre at Stow College in Glasgow where she took specific interest in the Estill vocal programme and learned about vocal anatomy as well as various techniques for singing in different styles while keeping the voice healthy. As the Estill classes took place in a masterclass set up Joanna was able to learn how to identify areas of weakness in other vocalists as well as how to correct these weaknesses.
After completing her HND in Musical Theatre and taking some time out from singing, Joanna then attended Riverside Music College where she successfully completed her HND in Music Performance. During her time at Riverside Joanna performed at the Classic Grand in Glasgow as a vocalist in two bands. As well as successfully achieving a distinction grade in ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory, she also took the opportunity to offer vocal lessons to other students at Riverside who were able to successfully progress with her support.
In addition to her experience in Musical Theatre and contemporary music, Joanna has been a member of various choirs where she has also gained experience rehearsing and performing in a group. It is also notable through these experiences that she has performed advanced harmonies and can also sing basic harmonies by ear.
Owen Curtis Williams
Owen has been a drum tutor at Riverside for over 3 years and started teaching after gaining an HND in Music Performance at the College.
With around 20 years of drumming experience, Owen has been a regular fixture on the Scottish music scene playing with a great number of bands and musicians as a full time band member and as a session musician.
Owen has Toured the UK, Europe and Canada with bands including Withered Hand, eagleowl, Kirsty Law, Woodpigeon, Benni Hemm Hemm, Two Wings, The Pictish Trail, and Rob St John.
He has played the Main Stage of music festivals including Green Man, End of The Road, Fence Homegame, Lost Map Howlin’ Fling, Doune the Rabbit Hole, Cloudspotting and Eden and has played in major concert halls such as The Barbican (London), Queens Hall (Edinburgh), O2 ABC (Glasgow), Palladium (London), Schouwburg (Rotterdam), Old Fruitmarket (Glasgow).
Owen has drummed on albums and sessions in many different situations from commercial recording studios to DIY home set ups and is credited on LPs and CDs released by independent record labels such as Tin Angel, Song by Toad, Lost Map and Fence. Owen has also appeared on Live Radio Sessions for Marc Riley Show (BBC 6 Music) and Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland).
In addition, Owen has performed live film soundtracks at Glasgow Film Festival and in various live art performance pieces in spaces such as galleries, indoor climbing arenas, caves and velodromes.
Owens sought after drumming style is musical, open and creative, with a keen attention to detail. He greatly enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills with the next generation of drummers.
Sam has been teaching guitar and bass at Riverside since March 2017.
After spending 5-10 years in a variety of bands from Metal/Hard Rock to Pop and various Ambient projects, Sam decided to focus on engineering and recording musicians, trying to get the best performance possible.
Taking this focus on performance and musical ability, Sam can work with students to reach their goals, whether it be understanding Music Theory, attaining Trinity Grade Exams or growth of playing style, creativity and technicality.
As well as his one-to-one lessons, Sam also Engineers and mixes various Artists, Bands and Projects in our Studio.
From the very beginning music has always been a part of Shaun’s life whether playing or producing it.
Starting in live performance at a very young age with his first “commercial” performance at age 12, he learned and practised multiple instruments through out, as well as performing as a DJ/MC in Cape Town and later in Johannesburg.
Joined the SA Navy 1993 where he served as a drummer/percussionist in the Senior staff band.
Notable gigs performed after his Navy service include being hired as a drummer for productions “50 Something”, “60 Something”, “Solid Gold” tribute theatre shows as well as support band for Uriah Heap and Deep Purple(1995).
Following this, Shaun started studio session work with bands which introduced him to studio life and work, this led him to producing singles on albums and EPs. Singles progressed into producing albums for artists he worked with this led him to start producing albums for artists upon request as a bona fide producer.
During this time he started scouting for and nurturing up and coming talent, and ultimately supporting the artists in terms of studio productions and live gig/ touring support (N.I.P) producing over 45 projects/albums over a 6 year period.
He was then hired by Svenmusic & African Space as technical venue manager overseeing all technical matters relating to gear/equipment involved including logistics and operation at the week long KKNK music festival in Oudtshoorn, R.S.A.
In June 2009 he was hired as a musician (bass-guitarist) and pre-production for big productions(shows) Rock the Beat & Rock 2 the Beat, Hip to be Hot and The Reel Thing based in 2 casinos in Johannesburg.
Since moving to Scotland he has achieved a BSc Music Technology degree to back up and underpin his practical experience while continuing as a versatile instrumentalist
Studio work includes:
- Gods Zoo (session drums & recording/mixing)
- Dylan John Thomas (session drums & bass, recording & mixing for his first 3 singles)
- James Paul Fairlie (session drums)
- Marthasville ( 2×3 track E.P.s, recording and currently in the mixing phase)
- The Brian Rawson Band (Debut Album, drums and bass sessions with full production)
- Shaun has once again branched out going into education at his alma mater, lecturing at Riverside Music College since September 2017 in subjects reflecting his experience and education;
- Sound for Live Events and Sound Reinforcement
- Sound Production Practice
- Recording and Mixing, Recording techniques for musicians
Aiden started playing drums at age 10 having being brought up in a house full of music, with his dad playing drums and guitar from a young age. He has received formal tuition in drumming for the last 6 years both at school and at Riverside Music College.
Aiden has experience with musical styles such as Rock, Metal and Indie Rock, covering bands such as, SOAD, Slipknot, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, Muse and Biffy Clyro. Aiden has also had extensive experience of studio and live drumming sessions within Riverside and other venues, playing with church bands, percussion ensembles and most recently the newly formed Glasgow based Prog Rock band, Holistics.’
Aiden is currently studying HND Music Performance at Riverside Music College, with plans to progress onto the BA Degree course.