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!). Currently due to the global pandemic our rehearsals are via Zoom and I am playing my electronic drumkit as well as the mandolin.

I have also tried a few other instruments along the way … banjo, bouzouki, cajon drum and electronic drumkit to name a few. I am currently sitting the Rockschool ukulele graded exams. I passed the Debut and Grade 1 exams with distinction. I am currently working towards Grade 2.

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!
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