My Mandolin Journey

Learning to play the mandolin changed my life! Here is my mandolin journey..
I am Lesley Allton and have played the mandolin since 2008 and prior to that played the guitar for over 20 years. I am passionate about playing music and benefits it gives to your well being. 

In 2007 I moved back to Glasgow after living in Dundee for 10 years. I thought going to some music lessons would be a good way to meet new people. I had played the guitar from a young age. Initially I was looking for guitar lessons however my internet search lead me to the GFW (Glasgow Folk Music Workshop) website. I noticed they did mandolin lessons. I had never considered playing the mandolin before however it intrigued me. I phoned up the GFW administrator and she said I had missed the first lesson of the new term but to come along anyway. I had no mandolin but she said she would get one for me.

I was pretty nervous going to the first lesson. However everyone was very friendly and encouraging in the class. I was hooked after that lesson and wanted to get a my own mandolin! My husband found a second-hand beginner Ozark mandolin for me in Strung Out Guitars. I continued in the beginners class for a while and then progressed to the improvers then intermediate class. I also upgraded my mandolin along the way to a Eastman.
Lesley Allton
I then moved on to a mixed instrument class to get more experience playing in a group. I really enjoy playing with other musicians. It is when music really comes alive for me.

I had also seen people playing the bodhran and thought I would like to have a go at that. My husband bought me a a starter bodhran for Christmas. I started lessons at GFW and progressed through the classes. I now am the proud owner of a Martin O’Neill signature drum.

In 2014 I went to the Bearsden Fiddlers annual rally in Milngavie Town Hall. After seeing this I wanted to play with them. I now play both the bodhran and mandolin (and occasionally the tambourine!). We play various gigs and also have our annual Fiddler's Rally in November (pandemic permitting!). 

I have also tried a few other instruments along the way … banjo, bouzouki, cajon drum and electronic drumkit to name a few. I have passed some of the  Rockschool ukulele graded exams. I passed the Debut, Grade 1 and Grade 2 exams with distinction and Grade 3 with a merit pass.

I enjoy creating and recording music. In January 2021 I completed the OpenLearn Course "Recording Music and Sound" provided by the Open University. I  create backing tracks using the GarageBand App which are available on Bandcamp.

All my working life I have worked in IT from being a software developer to website design. In early 2021 I decided in a career change to more musical pursuits as this is my passion. Hence the change to teaching mandolin. So far I am finding teaching very rewarding and enjoyable.

I find playing music very therapeutic. During tough times (like the current COVID pandemic!) playing music takes me to a happy place!

Last Updated January 2021
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