Crear is a beautiful wedding venue situated on the Mull of Kintyre, on the west coast of Scotland. It was a pretty long drive for us, and we arrived fairly late so went straight to our accommodation (a small cottage near the main venue) and to bed.
The next morning after breakfast, Routes set to work rehearsing in our cottage. We started off by teaching Tricia the new "jazzy" part to Roisín's Reel, which she really enjoyed!
At noon we met with everyone in the main building where we took part in some group improv exercises lead by Syntonic. This involved some fairly simple techniques designed to help us relax. To improvise, one needs to play whatever comes to mind, which can be hard for musicians trained in trad./classical music. This way, we could ease into improvising without having any qualms about what notes to play, tuning, speed etc.
After lunch, it was into the studio in the main venue for Routes. It is in this room that wedding receptions are held. One of the walls is glass, which allows you to see the beautiful backdrop of the countryside. It was a gorgeous practice spot! The room also contains two grand pianos, one of which is a Steinway.
After this we freshened up with a glorious walk down by the beach. When we got back we had a free hour so we sat down for a few tunes with Three Cornered Hat classical musicians Emma, Anna-Louise and Dónal. They are keen to learn some trad. music, not having played much of it, so I taught them a Shetland reel, Donald Blue.
The next day, after a morning practice at the cottage we said our goodbyes to the rest of the musicians and set off back home to Glasgow. What a great weekend, thank you EMS!